BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- With the start of a new school year, several parents and school systems are looking into different options about how to keep kids safe. One of those options, is bulletproof backpacks. We aren't saying this is the solution, but we did test the product out, to let you know how it works.
"If you could do anything to provide your child or yourself with some protection, and a product like a backpack that you're going to have anyway, I don't see how that is really a hard decision," said Mark Sontag, President of Kincorner, a company that sells bulletproof backpacks, luggage, and inserts.
"We know that there's no such thing as 100 percent protection. There never will be when it comes to sending your loved ones or yourself outside of your home, but there is 100 percent chance that you will have no protection without something that you can use," he added.
Mark said this school year, all three of his children have bulletproof backpacks. He lives in Parkland, Florida and not only do his children go to school there, but his wife has also been a teacher there for several years. He said the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February made him want to do more to make sure his family was safe. That's when the company started focusing more on backpacks.
"From where we live, hearing the helicopters, the fire trucks, police, of course, it was a very big concern. Afterwards, some of these unfortunate victims were students of my wife when they were in third grade. So it really, really -- it really hit home," he said.
Mark said with each school shooting around the country this past year, his company saw in increase in sales. He said they saw another huge increase during the recent back-to-school season.
"Across the country, from every single state," he said. "On a typical basis, we'll typically have anywhere from 200 to 500 visitors on the website."
13 News ordered a bulletproof backpack to test it out and see if it could really withstand the impact of certain caliber bullets.
According to Mark, it's the insert in the bag that makes it bulletproof. He said the inserts weigh around 20 ounces and depending on their rating, they're supposed to be able to withstand the impact of certain weapons.
"These inserts that we use in these backpacks, they're rated at what's called an NIJ III level," he said.
The inserts are also sold separately, so they can be added to backpacks that kids already have.
According to our test at Sherwood's gun range, the insert did work, stopping both a 9mm handgun and a .44 Smith & Wesson.
The .44 Smith & Wesson did bend the insert a bit, but even with an empty backpack, the shot did not go all the way through the bag -- it stopped at the insert.
Even though the insert we tested out isn't rated for it, we also shot the backpack with an AR-15. The only rounds that went all the way through the bag were from the AR-15.
"Just knowing that we gave our children added protection, God forbid there's ever a situation, which is the reality in today's day and age, we know that we've done everything we can to give them that confidence, that safety and ourselves knowing that we did all we could," said Mark.
If you would like more information about these backpacks and inserts, click this link.