By: Camila Orti, KETV Newswatch 7
A sobering reality, to think that backpacks may need to stop a bullet.
Metro sellers say bulletproof panels have been flying off their shelves ever since the Florida school shooting.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but that’s where we are as a nation,” 88 Tactical Chief Operating Officer Trevor Thrasher said.
Thrasher says 88 Tactical has been selling the Ally One Portable Armored Panel for about a month, and it’s been hard to keep up with demand.
“We have full families that come in, they’ll get a couple of these for their kids, they might get one for themselves,” Thrasher said.
The panel, which is designed to be slipped inside of bags or backpacks, has similar dimensions to a sheet of paper, and weighs less than one pound. They retail at about $120 per piece.
“These Ally One panels are made of layers of Kevlar material, very similar to what police use,” Thrasher explained.
The product provides Level IIIA protection, Thrasher said, which means it will stop most handgun rounds, even after multiple hits.
With the help of 88 Tactical, KETV NewsWatch 7 put the technology to the test.
Thrasher placed an Ally One panel inside of a backpack, and shot several 9 mm rounds into it.
“I shot from here down, no damage to the back face,” Thrasher said, as he showed KETV the unbroken panel.
The test panel had already undergone extensive testing by other 88 Tactical staff members, who pit the product and seven pounds of textbooks against an AR-15.
After shooting one rifle round, staff members reported bulging in the panel, but no penetrating bullets.
“It’s absolutely better than having nothing,” Thrasher said.
But Thrasher also believes training is equally, if not more important, than protective equipment alone.
“There’s a time to run, there’s a time to barricade, and there’s a time to fight,” he said.
88 Tactical offers a School-Safe course that is geared towards children as young as ten years old.