If you had told me, many years ago, that today I would be carrying around a man-pack ballistic panel the size of a thin laptop in my computer bag, I would’ve said you were crazy. What would I need that for? I carry a gun. Isn’t that enough?
Man-Pack Ballistic Panel | Part Of Your Every Day Carry
My answer to those questions today – after seeing so many mass shootings in our schools, workplaces, malls, and churches – is I’ve seen the light of safety. In my leather computer bag, I now carry a 10” by 13” by .25” ballistic panel. This slim panel is capable of stopping multiple handgun or shotgun rounds aimed at it. Plus, it comes in stylish purple.
What is the Man-Pack Ballistic Panel?
I got the man-pack ballistic panel last year, from the folks at www.man-pack.com. This website sells a variety of things for the concealed carry man or woman on the go. The wares include backpacks, manly man bags, holsters, body armor plates, knives, and ballistic clipboards and panels.
The cost of my panel — which weighs a barely-noticeable one pound and comes in six colors — is $139.99. In addition to the great price, I’ve never had mine questioned or removed while going through a TSA security line at the airport. This is what is known as cheap insurance.
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According to their website, their “Bulletproof Backpack Insert” is made from “Dyneema – a high-performance polyethylene fiber, capable of stopping multiple magazines of ammunition from handguns or shotguns without ricochet or injury.”
Whatever Dyneema is, it sounds cool. It stops bullets, and it’s as light and portable as a standard clipboard. Man-PACK says it will provide NIJ Level 3 protection. I’ve seen test videos on YouTube that show the panel taking many hits before failure. Keep in mind, this is designed to keep you in the fight if you’re being shot at. It's not supposed to cover your entire body in Afghanistan.
How to Use It
Since the panel is thin and lightweight, it has many potential uses besides being carried in your backpack, laptop case, or briefcase. Some of you doubters out there might be thinking, “What do I do with it? Hold it up in front of me, and block the bullets like Wonder Woman with her magic Bracelets of Submission?” Uh, yeah. That’s one possible use.
However, if you have the time and attention to tactical detail in a pending gunfight, you could also slip it between your shirt and your jacket. That way, you can use it to protect your heart. You could do the same fast clothing insert to protect your spouse or kids. It’s literally a portable bullet-stopping device, just without the covering vest and straps.
When to Use It
There are a few scenarios that I can clearly imagine where this panel would be useful.
On the Street:
You’re walking along the street in the usual bad part of town during the usual bad part of the evening. Suddenly, you’re “set upon violently” (to quote James Dickey in his book, Deliverance) by a man with a gun intent on robbing you. You’re carrying a backpack with the insert inside. Pivoting the pack off your shoulder and putting it between you and the bad guy, you can use the panel as a shield. This buys you time as you draw your weapon from the backpack.
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Now imagine the same bad guy, only this time you’re carrying the panel in your briefcase or computer case. You use the same move as above, employing the case as a shield. As you shift it in front of you, tell the bad guy, “I don’t want any trouble! Here, you can have this case and my wallet and my cell phone!” Then reach with your free hand to unholster your weapon on your belt and engage.
Using the panel inside a backpack, briefcase case, or laptop case as a battering ram may also be a good alternative. It could be your only possibility of survival in a close-quarters battle with an armed attacker.
As they close the distance between you, use your bag or case to bull-rush him and knock his gun off target. Maybe you can even put him on the ground! Even if he does manage to get off a shot – which is not always inevitable, since he may not be expecting your resistance – you will have the bag or case in front of your center mass and can continue your counter-attack.
In the Car
The panel may also be useful in your car. If you’re approached by an armed carjacker, press up against your driver’s side window with your left hand. Draw your weapon with your right and look carefully over or around the edges to see his next move. There are no guarantees in life; if he shoots the glass and hits the panel, you may have a helluva bruise on your arm or a broken bone from the impact of stopping all that energy in a small space. However, who really cares, so long as you live to tell the tale?
In an Active Shooter Event
In an unfolding and dynamic active shooter event, if you have enough time to place the panel under the clothing and over the center mass of your spouse, partner, or child, you can then focus on stopping the bad guy. This will give you more confidence that your loved ones are at least protected by something.
If you’ve worked in law enforcement or the military, you already know how cumbersome, hot, confining, and heavy a full ballistic vest can be. The police version is not nearly as heavy as the military version, but it also provides less coverage.
It’s not pleasant to imagine a time in this country where you would have to consider strapping on a full bullet-resistant vest, and a concealed carry handgun just to go to the grocery store. If that ever happens, a lot will have had to go wrong, politically, economically, and culturally. By then the doomsdayers and preppers will be telling the rest of us, “I told you so.”
USCCA shows us a video on the Man-pack withstanding handgun bullets:
Until then, why not consider the Man-PACK ballistic panel as a reasonable, cost-effective, safe, and portable alternative? Leaving the house with it in your computer bag, backpack, or briefcase will become second-nature, just like with your concealed carry firearm. You may never need either, but I like the extra insurance anyway.
What do you think about the Man-Pack ballistic panel product? Please let us know in the comments section below!
Contact Steve Albrecht at [email protected] or on Twitter @DrSteveAlbrecht