Premier Body Armor Lvl IIIA Backpack Insert

A viable option for your Every Day Carry setup.

The world has continued to get safer throughout the years, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a dangerous place.  And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the saying goes.  Enter the Lvl IIIA Universal Backpack Insert by Premier Body Armor.  A little peace of mind in an unpredictable world.

Let’s start with the what.  It is a “bulletproof” insert that can be put inside a backpack.  Giving the wearer some ballistic protection.  This one being the large universal fit, it measures 11” x 16.5” x .22” and weighs 1.76 lbs.

The Premier Body Armor Backpack Inserts immediately immediately up-armor your pack.

When it comes to bulletproof ratings, this armor provides Lvl IIIA protection.  What does that mean?  Well it conforms with the NIJ Ballistic Standards for said rating.  Still not clear right?  Well the protocol goes into a series of tests involving different calibers and criteria for how it is to be tested.

In layman’s terms, Lvl IIIA will generally stop most common handgun calibers.  From 9mm, to 40 S&W, .357 Sig and 44 Magnum.  It won’t however stop all those calibers depending on bullet design.  It will stop most of your FMJ and Hollow Point projectiles.  However when trying some solid copper bear rounds, literally designed for deep penetration, I found the G9 Woodsman Bullets to penetrate.  Fortunately most people don’t keep pistols loaded with bear rounds, in part because of the liability of over-penetration…

In my testing, the Woodsman solid copper bullets, designed for deep penetration, defeated the IIIA Armor Insert. It stopped the other FMJ and hollow point bullets as expected.

Let’s talk about use for a minute.  Who doesn’t want to have some ballistic protection?  I mean really, has anyone ever said, “I’m glad I’m not bulletproof”?  These Backpack Inserts add meaningful protection and are really easy to incorporate into your life.  Literally slide one into your pack that you carry and you have ballistic protection.  

Some of you are probably thinking to yourself, that is great, but now just my back is protected.  This is where we get into the actual use and training side of it.  Because yes, as you wear the pack, the ballistic protection is on your back.  Which in fairness, isn’t without merit.  Because in a lot of circumstances, the right answer may be to move away from the danger, in which case your back is protected.

But what if you need to move towards the danger?  Well, there are a couple of options.  On the one hand, you can reverse your backpack.  Wearing it on the front of your body so that the ballistic insert covers your vitals.  Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this.  While it does help protect you and potentially gives you access to the contents of your backpack, it is awkward.

It takes some dedicated training, but you can get pretty quick with unslinging the pack while drawing from concealment.

The way I prefer to use the Backpack / Ballistic Insert, is like a shield.  By removing the backpack and holding it across your body, you can effectively keep more vitals protected, to include parts of your head depending on how you position it.  This to me is where the Backpack Insert really shines.  I will say, there is a learning curve and training involved.

For one thing, pack selection becomes important.  Not all backpacks are created equal.  Some are much more conducive to being held and used like a shield.  As a matter of fact, Vertx makes some that are designed with just such a use in mind, like the Gamut Overland Pack.

The other piece, is training.  How quickly you can get the pack into a shield position under stress with lateral movement?  And on top of that, how proficient are you with shooting one handed?  Both of these are totally doable, but require some dedicated training.

For me, the shield method is the most beneficial use of the armor insert.

And lastly, while it is an unfortunate subject, the fact remains sick and broken people have gone into schools and shot helpless kids and staff.  If you’ve discussed with your kids what their course of action is, be it to run or hide, this provides a level of protection for them and some peace of mind for you.

While I think the most value from the ballistic backpack inserts comes with using them as a shield, they are a value add across the board.  Lots of people carry backpacks daily as part of their routine.  Why not have some ballistic protection on you?  And if you have a “Go Bag” that maybe has a compact carbine or AR Pistol, again, why not have some ballistic protection on board as well?

If you already are carrying a gun in a bag, armor seems like the next logical thing…

Premier Body Armor offers a number of different Universal Fit Backpack Inserts to fit your existing backpack.  They also offer custom fit inserts for a number of popular EDC (Every Day Carry) backpacks from Vertx, Viktos and Eberlestock.  The Backpack Inserts run anywhere from $135.00 to $200.00 or so, depending on the size.  And they even offer bundles of one of the aforementioned backpacks and the custom fit ballistic insert for it.  

If you are going to be carrying a backpack, why not give yourself some ballistic protection.  Check out the offerings over at Premier Body Armor.

You can watch my video review of the armor inserts here.

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About the author: Ivan Loomis has spent a lot of time outdoors, backpacking and camping as well as extensive international travel. Eventually, he landed in the Marine Corps in the late 90’s. After a hiatus from the service to race the Baja 1000 a couple times, he reenlisted with the Air Force. Departing that he wound up in a large metropolitan Police Department for a spell before landing in the Security Contracting world.One constant through these experiences was gear and weapons. Having spent time in a lot of environments and with the opportunity to field a lot of equipment, he’s grown fond of well-made gear.He now shares those experiences, adventures, and knowledge through contributing articles and videos to various publications, including his own site: www.kitbadger.com

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • steve Hammill July 13, 2021, 12:27 am

    Question rather than a comment: Can you travel overseas with these?

  • Mad Mac July 12, 2021, 10:00 am

    A couple of textbooks and a laptop will go a long way toward
    taking the pace off of typical handgun cartridges.

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