Not all bulletproof backpack inserts are the same. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know when it comes to ballistic backpack inserts.

Are you looking for a bulletproof backpack insert? Whether you landed here because you’ve seen them in the news or you just decided to look for new ways to protect yourself or your kids, you probably have a lot of questions:

  • What guns/ammunition will it stop?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Will it actually keep me/my child safe?
  • And many more…

In this article, we’ll look at several bulletproof backpack inserts and share some details about each. We are not here to tell you to buy our backpack insert. It’s totally up to you to decide 1) whether you want or need to buy one and 2) which one is best for you/your child.

What are the different types, or levels, of bulletproof backpack protection? The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has been setting voluntary body armor standards since 1972. The NIJ standard is the only nationally accepted standard for the body armor worn by law enforcement and corrections officers, and its ballistic resistance standard classifies body armor by levels of ballistic performance. The chart below shows those classifications:

Bulletproof Backpack Inserts: What You Need to Know

Most bulletproof backpacks are classified as Level IIIA, which means they will stop at least four rounds from most handguns. The majority of ballistic backpack inserts on the market fall into this classification; they are meant to protect against multiple rounds from 9mm, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum ammunition.

In our research, we found the following bulletproof backpack inserts at the Level IIIA (handgun) protection level:

Bulletproof Backpack Inserts: What You Need to Know


Be sure to check the Ballistic Lab Report and any NIJ Compliance letters referenced on all websites. We have found that many manufacturers show a lab report or compliance letter that may be for a different product or an outdated NIJ standard. For example, the current NIJ standard set in 2008 is NIJ 0106.01. We have seen several of these backpack inserts noted as NIJ 0108.01, which was the standard set back in 1985 – much has changed since 1985 when it comes to guns and ammunition!

Bulletproof Backpack Inserts: What You Need to Know

Watch our video “How to Read a Ballistic Lab Report” to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting.

So, what does a Level IIIA backpack insert really stop?

Here is a video testing the ShotStop Level III3a backpack inserts: