2018-03-08 / News

Bulletproof backpack armor demonstration held at Williams Gunsight

By Ben Gagnon
Contributor


Left to right: Billy Gibbons, Veterans MFG; Officer Randy Forman, Davison Twp. Police; and Dave Pickelhoff, Renegade Ammunition in Lapeer. 
Photo by Ben Gagnon Left to right: Billy Gibbons, Veterans MFG; Officer Randy Forman, Davison Twp. Police; and Dave Pickelhoff, Renegade Ammunition in Lapeer. Photo by Ben Gagnon DAVISON TWP. — Veterans MFG, a Texasbased manufacturer of bulletproof armor and tactical protective gear, hosted a demonstration of its backpack armor at Williams Gun Sight Company Feb. 28.

In the wake of the Feb. 16 mass shooting at a Parkland, FL. high school, many parents have sought to protect their children by purchasing backpacks with bulletproof defenses.

“Between the school shootings, church shootings and what happened in Las Vegas, there is a need for a civilian product that you can carry with you everywhere,” said Billy Gibbons, co-owner of Veterans MFG.

Though primarily servicing law enforcement and military sectors, Gibbons and co-founder Mike Hlozek saw the rising demand for personal ballistic protection and decided to develop bulletproof shields for civilian use. One of those products is a plate that can be easily slipped into a backpack.


One of the bulletproof backpack armor on a mannequin. 
Photo by Ben Gagnon One of the bulletproof backpack armor on a mannequin. Photo by Ben Gagnon “It can provide you with protection, especially in gun-free zones,” Gibbons said. “You can carry it almost anywhere nationally.”

To put the plate to the test, Gibbons inserted it into a backpack that he had strapped to a target dummy inside Williams’ indoor shooting range. Officer Randy Forman of the Davison Township Police

Department aided with the demonstration by firing numerous rounds from an assault rifle into the backpack.

Despite taking a full magazine of ammunition, the plate absorbed every round. Gibbons credited the shield’s success to its lightweight yet durable material, which he described as an ultra-dense form of Polyethylene.

“We developed it in Houston, Texas with a number of oil and gas engineers,” he said. “It’s an improvement on some of the products that are already out on the market.”

Veterans MFG offers several grades of the armor plates, ranging from pistol protection

(Level 3A) to Level 4, which applies to .30-caliber armor piercing rounds. The lightest 3A plate weighs one pound and costs around $150, with heavier shields costing a few hundred dollars.

“It’s about making an extra layer of protection available to the general public at an affordable price,” said ammunition dealer Dave Pickelhoff of Lapeer, whose online business works with Gibbon’s company. “Any life that we can possibly save is well worth it.”

In light of recent school shootings, Gibbons said that wearing backpack armor can be an added sense of security for students in dangerous times.

“My children, who are school-aged, carry backpack plates with them,” he said. “My goal is to keep them as innocent as possible, but at the same time…ensure their safety.”

To purchase Veterans MFG protective gear, log on to vetsmfg.com to order direct or to find a retailer that stocks their products.

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