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Is Backpack Armor Right for You and Your Family?

Is Backpack Armor Right for You and Your Family?

Posted by Morgan Hallenbeck on 23rd Aug 2021

As you prepare to send your children back to school, you probably find yourself picking up #2 pencils, colored folders, and wide-ruled notebooks ... but have you thought about safety? In recent years, we’ve seen increasing incidents of gun violence on the news that have now forced people to consider unique ways to protect their families outside of the home. Although many districts have adopted things like active shooter drills and lockdown practices, it’s on each one of us as individuals to prepare our kids for these tragic possibilities as we send them off to get their education. This holds especially true as the mainstream media continues to set the stage for unstable individuals to enter these safe zones (also known as “gun-free zones”) and harm the innocent.

If you fall into the group of individuals who reflect a mindset of preparedness, and that it’s better to be safe than sorry, we’d like to encourage you to consider acquiring backpack armor. It’s not just for your child’s protection, but yours as well. Now, we’ve always wanted to discuss family protection at Safe Life Defense because it’s so crucial in today’s world! But our goal here is not to fear-monger you or make you invest in something you’re not sure is right for your loved ones. When all is said and done, we simply want to help families across the nation get access to the best safety tools available. People need a real chance to increase the odds of every child coming home safe after the school bells ring.

But let’s be clear about one thing: Backpack armor and ballistic plates are not just for school kids, and they’re certainly not a fad either. A self-defense tool like this can be kept in your briefcase at work, taken to events with large crowds, grocery stores, movie theaters and even houses of worship. In addition to this, you can also keep some on hand at home in case of a robbery or break-in. Backpack armor and plates act as an extra layer of safety for all and they’re 100% legal for law-abiding citizens to own.

Considerations for Armor as a Classroom Staple

Making the decision to buy backpack armor is pretty much a no-brainer. While the chances of needing it are slim, it's a long-term investment (and a cheap insurance policy) that can keep you and your loved ones alive. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to gain some much-needed peace of mind. To help you on this journey to a safer life, we’re going to give you a rundown of the essential things you must know when it comes to purchasing the right backpack or body armor. Spoiler alert! Not all bulletproof backpack inserts are the same. Here are the top 4 variables you must consider before buying:

#1 What will your backpack armor stop?

Even though sales of bulletproof backpacks have spiked, most of these products currently on the market would not have stopped a single rifle round coming from a gunman. Despite popular belief, it’s not always handguns that shooters are using, but rather high-powered rifles like the AK-47, AR-15 and those you might find in the family gun safe for hunting. Adequate protection against these types of firearms requires a completely different kind of backpack insert. In order for it to withstand an attack with these types of weapons, it must be classified by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) as Level III.

Our Suggestion: Go for the highest level of armor you can get your hands on; either a Level III, IIIA or IIIA+ will be a good option. You can also stack your plates for additional protection. And don’t forget about bladed weapons … knives are far easier to find, use and hurt people with (especially if you’re a disgruntled or bullied child). You’re going to want to make sure the armor you choose is strike, slash and stab-resistant, too.

#2 What size, weight and thickness do you need?

Whether you keep your backpack armor at home or take it with you on the go, you want to ensure that it’s going to yield the best fit for optimal comfort and the utmost protection. A typical armor plate covers about 10 in × 12 in of mass, but can vary widely in weight and thickness depending on the materials it’s made from. Thicker and heavier don’t always mean better! In fact, it can do more harm than good in some scenarios.

Our Suggestion: Measure for each individual (and each space) you plan to equip with backpack armor. While seeking out that high protection level, also consider going for something that weighs less than 5lbs and is either flexible or form-fitting. You can find self-structured armor, plates with tapered edges and even flexible armor with add-on options for additional coverage over vital organs.

#3 What is the cost and longevity?

Backpack Panel

Ever heard of the old saying, “What you pay for is what you’ll get”? The same holds true with backpack armor and that’s why we want to encourage you to do your research and heavily consider your options. At first glance, this protective equipment may seem expensive, but you have to ask yourself what is each life worth to you? If you ask us, a beating heart is priceless. You can never put a value on the ability to live to see another day or make more memories together as a family. And if you think about how much you have or will spend on things like camps, sports and other programs, this is likely the most worthy expense to make it into your budget plan.

As far as longevity goes, most body armor and backpack panels, like those offered by Safe Life Defense, have a 5-year lifespan. That’s complete protection for 1,825 days of your life or your child’s. And if a big graduation is looming and you’ve got multiple littles still in school, it’s an excellent choice as a life-saving hand-me-down. Plus, if anyone in your family is ever forced to use their backpack armor or plates, we offer free replacement with a police incident report. Why? Because safety, integrity and love are at the center of what we do.

Our Suggestion: Skip the [cheapest backpack armor] Google searches and go for a high-end, quality-assured option with great guarantees and transparent test results. If you come across a company claiming that their product is good forever, buyer beware, that’s likely not the case as all armor will lose some integrity over time. You can also keep your eyes peeled for holiday discounts, exclusive deals and payment programs. No one said you had to fork over a full payment up-front unless you want to.

#4 What types of certification should body armor have?

One of the best things that you can do before you buy backpack armor is verifying that it comes with either a ballistic lab report or a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) compliance letter. The NIJ has been setting standards since 1972, and they’re the only nationally accepted baseline for the body armor worn by law enforcement and corrections officers. It’s the highest level of certification available and a long process for products to get their backing on ballistic performance, which means you can rest assured you’re getting nothing but the best.

Our Suggestion: Why settle for less than the best protection? If you’re purchasing a life-saving product that’s good enough for professionals, it’s surely good enough for you and your family also. All things considered, if you’re going to take the leap, you might as well land on solid ground with something you know you can trust. And if a company states they’re certified, but they can’t provide proof, you’re now proceeding at your own risk.

Leveling the Playing Field: Backpack to Bulletproof

High-level, there are really two main types of body armor you can choose from; either hard armor or soft armor. Of course, this doesn’t delve into the various types of materials that each can be created from, but we’ll help guide you as to which would be the best fit for you. Hard armor is made from rigid, reinforced plates that are generally used in high-risk situations where live fire is a commonality. You often see this type of plate worn by police tactical units and combat soldiers. Soft armor, on the other hand, is very light and can flex for added comfort. This makes it the most concealable type of backpack body armor and a great option for kids who don’t want to feel like they’re lugging extra supplies around. Check out Safe Life Defense’s Backpack Armor. It weighs in at a mere 1.3 lbs, reliably defends against all common handgun rounds and has multi-threat protection against not only bullets but strikes and slashes as well. What’s important to remember is that no matter what body armor you choose, this covering is not just about having a second line of defense against guns. It’s also about having a safeguard against knives and other deadly weapons.

One of the most innovative options available right now is the Safe Life Defense Flexible Rifle Armor System (also known as FRAS®). It may look like soft armor, but it's not! Sound interesting? Keep reading. It works great to replace uncomfortable hard plates and can stop rifle projectiles that present a threat level greater than handgun and shotgun ammunition. On top of that, it can be used in conjunction with IIIA+ soft armor. When compared to its harder counterpart, this plate takes the cake with being handgun, shotgun, strike, slash, stab and Taser resistant. It’s quite literally unmatched by anything on the market at this time.

What both types of body armor have in common is that they can be placed almost anywhere! Whether you choose a standalone plate in a carrier or a stacked set in a backpack, the options are endless … and you don’t necessarily need a special setup to make it work. From a laptop sleeve or inner bladder of a bag to a secret pocket or Camelback, you can create something that is easy to integrate with your day-to-day routine.

Tying Things Up with Training

As great as gear can be, the best thing you or anyone else can choose to do is train to be ready for the unthinkable. In addition to your body armor or backpack panels, teaching loved ones about safety (even your children) is key. It can be a scary place to enter, but what’s worse is not being prepared at all. Starts with a basic safety course and learned respect for weapons. You may then choose to dive into important topics like situational awareness, red flags and mental health. A little instilled kindness and even an emotional intelligence class can do wonders for a child. After all, kids can be pretty mean at times and it’s our job to make sure, when appropriate, we meet in that space with love and compassion.

Our youth also needs to know how to take threats seriously, de-escalate rocky situations and report any incident they may see or hear about to a trusted adult. This is a great space to move into talking to your kids about gun violence. You can present them with tools, practice in the comfort of home and teach them some things their school or teachers might not. Learning how to react in an active shooter incident is just as important as fire drills or any other type of disaster planning. With that being said, you’ll need to work with your kiddo to develop the mindset that a ballistic-style backpack isn’t a personal effect to be left behind — it’s a defensive tool to grab and take with you in an emergency. It’s something that can be used as a shield to escape or as a piece of cover to block and protect your vital organs, but it certainly doesn’t make you invincible.

What we can work towards together is raising our children right, giving them the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe, as well as the love and supporting resources they need to be successful. When all of this works in harmony, we create school environments that are a healthier and safer climate for everyone.

A Safer Tomorrow With Armor for All

Talking about family protection can be hard without making it sound terrifying, but it’s a must because there’s no way you can predict when and where someone will wreak havoc. Your best bet is to always, always be prepared. Body armor and backpack armor is a practical, easy-to-use, life-saving option and it’s for everyone! Plus, with a 30-Day Fit and Satisfaction Guarantee, a 5-Year Warranty and Incident Guarantee, and a no-interest/no credit check, pay-as-you-go option, you can kick back and relax because we’ve got you covered.

We’re always here to help! So, if you have any questions or just some ideas as to how we can better serve you, we’d love to hear them. Connect with us online at or give us a call at 702-829-4029 during regular business hours.