The time is upon us!! The start of the school year!!!! If you’re a parent you go in one of two camps. Either you’re happy because you have some quiet time around the house during the day. Or, you’re unhappy because you know if your kids have homework…YOU have homework!!!
So what does any of this have to do with tactical type equipment you ask? Unfortunately quite a bit. School place shootings have taking quite a few of our youth in the past years. So how can we lessen the possibility of losing our young and their educators while they are attempting to educate themselves? A simple and cost effective way is to provide your child with a ballistic rated clipboard. Clipboard you ask? Yes a clipboard!! Before you dismiss the idea consider this: There are very few items that can provide ballistic protection and not scream out “OVER HERE I’M TACTICAL!!!!!” The clipboard is ubiquitous and almost guaranteed not to draw attention to its presence. It is also highly mobile and can go anywhere you go. Carry it in your hand or throw it in your backpack and off you go!! AND…it really is a clipboard that can be used to help organize your child’s day!!!
The amount of protection provided depends on the ballistic rating. In the chart on the right you see the ballistic ratings established by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for the most common rounds in use. The ratings most in use are: Level II, IIA, III, and IIIA. For comparison, law enforcement officers use Level IIIA in their vests. As with anything though, there are trade offs. The higher the level of protection the heavier or bulkier the item may be. Of course, you can offset that with advanced lighter materials and incur the associated higher price.
Let’s look at items from the lower and upper limits of the spectrum.Ballistics Systems Co offers clipboards that are rated Level II or Level III and come in common sizes of 9″ x 12″ or 9″ x 14″. They come with an unpainted finish, but can be painted. Importantly though, they are Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified to the NIJ standards. At prices starting at $60 dollars they are a excellent and affordable way to provide protection. Ballistics Systems also offers the ability to order non-standard sizes which was a major plus for me!
At the other end of the spectrum we have Impact Armor Technologies who provide a Level IIIA product in a form factor while ergonomic may not be the best fit for a back pack. Imagine a clipboard that is about three to four inches wider and you have Impact Armor’s product. For that extra width though you get great coverage area and that equals more protection. Let’s not forget that it has the highest NIJ level in a clipboard form while still maintaining it’s undercover image.
If you or your student are the type that likes a little color in your life there is a model for you too!!! Aptly named Ballistic Clipboard offers you Level IIIA protection in various colors including white, green, pink, purple, blue and yellow. They are little larger at 10″ x 13″ but their use of lighter weight materials make them comparable in weight.
All products mentioned here have been tested to the NIJ standard 0101.06 and are capable of stopping multiple rounds. They also prevent spalling and splintering when struck. A couple of important things to keep in mind if you decide to purchase a ballistic clipboard for yourself, your student or loved one:
- If you are in an active shooter situation do your best to ESCAPE! If you can’t escape and have to protect yourself remember these products only protect a certain area so position them over your vital organs (heart and lungs) first.
- Just because they may stop the bullet does not mean you won’t receive some kind of injury. If you are holding it your hands or fingers may be struck. Also, the force of the strike may break your wrist, but it’s better to have a broke wrist or injured hand and be alive.
It’s a sad commentary that this discussion has to take place, but being forewarned and forearmed with knowledge may be your key to survival in any situation. Lastly, products and equipment are only one third of the solution to survival. Training and Awareness complete the triad to help you keep safe. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for information on products, or training.