American students go back to school with Israeli bulletproof backpacks

Israeli-made backpacks designed for teenage students and adults costs $497 USD.

Switchblade backpack (photo credit: MASADA ARMOR)
Switchblade backpack
(photo credit: MASADA ARMOR)
As thousands of students head back to school for a new school year, many parents have stocked up on the usual pens and notebooks for their children. Hundreds of others, though, have bought their children something different for the classroom: A made in Israel bulletproof backpacks.
With at least 28 school shootings in the United States in 2018 alone, a recent poll by PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that 34% of parents fear for their children’s physical safety at school.
While it is not a significantly high number, it is almost triple the number of parents from 2013 when only 12% of parents said they were fearful.
Schools across the United States have introduced new safety protocols, new preventative technology and even floated the idea of arming teachers in classrooms.
The violence has also led to a surge in the number of companies selling products designed to help protect students against active shooters,with over half a dozen manufactures producing them and selling them major retailers such as Walmart and Office Depot carrying them at prices ranging in price from $130USD-$400USD.
One Israeli company has already sold hundreds of it’s Switchblade backpack during its first two weeks on the market.
“The private and professional market is always looking for a bullet protection that will be the ultimate conceal,” Shachar Geva CEO of Israel Catalogue, one of the websites selling the Switchblade backpack made by Masada Armor, told The Jerusalem Post.
“As soon as it hit the market it started selling like crazy. We already have so many orders for adults and by parents who buy for their kids,” he said of the bag which sells for $497 USD by The Self Defense Company and Israel Catalogue.
Designed like an ordinary backpack, the Switchblade provides the wearer with protection both in the back and with an easy pull of rip-cords which then releases a protective bullet-proof vest which can slide over the wearer’s head, providing protection also in the front.
The standard bag, which is made of Twaron™ Ballistic materials, weighs between 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg) without hard plates (Level 3A protection) to 11.2 pounds (5.1kg) with the included Ballistic Plates (Level 3).
According to Geva, the Level 3A protective plates protects against all types of small arms, including 9mm and 44 magnum.  The backpack is also able to carry additional plates which would allow the wearer to be protected from rifles and other arms up to Ak-47 protection, he told The Jerusalem Post.
“It’s a very unique product in its quality and has an easy to use interface,” Geva explained of the bag that can be used both by teenagers and adults. Though the product is not yet designed for elementary school-aged children, the next version will probably be more child-friendly Geva said.
“It’s more challenging but we already have bulletproof vests for children so we have the experience.”