Letter: Bullet Proof 3-Ring Binder

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My daughter had a science project due and she asked for my help. So, I helped her build a bullet proof 3-ring binder. Her goal was for the binder to stop a .223 bullet.

The specs are as follows:

The size is 12″ tall by 11″ wide

The layers:

The front cover:

  1. 1/4″ Ultra High Density Plastic
  2. 1/16″ Steel
  3. 1 panel of Kevlar bullet proof material from a bullet proof vest that expired in 1998. I folded the panel so the panel would fit inside the above dimensions and duct taped them in place.
  4. 1/4″ Ultra High Density Plastic
  5. She then drilled a hole in the four corners and bolted the parts in place.

The center:

  1. 120 pages of notebook paper in the rings.
  2. The rings are a standard 3″ binder rings drilled out of a used binder and attached to a 1/4″ Ultra High Density Plastic strip that was piano hinged to the front and back cover.

The back cover:

  1. 1/4″ Ultra High Density Plastic
  2. 1/16″ Steel
  3. 1/4″ Ultra High Density Plastic
  4. She then drilled a hole in the four corners and bolted the parts in place.

She then attached, to the front cover, an additional 1/4″ thick by 4″ wide Ultra High Density Plastic strip.

The test:

An officer on the local police department shot the binder. The binder was in a closed position sitting on a table. He shot three times at it, and it stopped all three bullets. The binder did not even fall over. The bullet that struck the part of the binder without the additional 1/4″ thick by 4″ wide Ultra High Density Plastic strip went through the front cover and lodged in the notebook paper. He shot it twice through the attached strip. These two bullets did not penetrate the final 1/4″ Ultra high density plastic in the front cover. The officer was standing 15 yards from the binder. Either way, the projectiles never made it to the back cover.

He then shot it through the back cover, which is lacking a Kevlar panel. The bullet lodged in the front cover.

The problems:

  1. Weight; it weighs 19 pounds!
  2. It is bulky.
  3. It was nicked named the Sasquatch Binder
  4. After the Science Fair, we will test it further and see when it fails.

The summary:

My daughter’s idea finished second; she was robbed! The binder was over-engineered. For the binder to stop a .223 from 15 yards and never go through the paper was a little too much. Just for fun, we took the binder to a shooting range with the intention of taking it to its breaking point. Many people volunteered to shoot it. One gentleman shot it with a .308 from 20 yards; the bullet lodged in the back cover. Another person shot it with a 30-30; it too lodged in the back cover. Finally, a postal worker pulled out a M-14. He shot it on full auto and the binder was still intact after 7 rounds. The paper was shredded. The binder turned over, but the back cover was not breached. It was over engineered. In a school shooting scenario, it needs to stop nothing larger than a .223

The need:

I have spoken with some attorneys. The process of making the binder is not able to be protected by any type of patent. However, we have applied to trademark the name Sasquatch Binder.

This is why I am sharing this idea with your community. The weight has got to come down so that kindergarteners thru executives will want one. A process of making the binder must be invented so that a new molecular compound or a new method of manufacturing is made.

This one binder cost us about $200, which is way too high. However, my daughter learned about bullets and their velocity and strength. It also takes density to stop a bullet. She had a great idea to save life in a school shooting scenario. As a CPA, I look at the cost, but as a parent, I look at the benefit. In this case, spending $200 on a science fair was too much. If a child’s life is ever spared on account of this, it was well worth the $200. Would I pay $200 for a binder that weighed 2.5 pounds and promised to stop a 9mm to a .223? It might be worth it. Respectfully, Happy Howie

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