This is a living and breathing article that we update from time to time to ensure we keep a list based on what has been tested.
To be truthful we are generalizing some for the purpose of simplicity. Here are some disclaimers before we dive in:
- Different firearms and calibers of bullets have unique stopping power and potential for penetration depending on their velocity and construction. There is a big difference between a 9mm handgun and an AR-15
- Some bullets for example are jacketed, meaning they are encased in a shell of a harder metal (generally a steel alloy), where as non-jacketed ammunition tends to be a softer lead
- Items in our list are also generalized since there are different types and widths of trees, furniture, walls, etc
- Also we have to consider that even some things that would stop a single shot may not be able to withstand multiple shots
- While some things wouldn't fully STOP a bullet, they may slow it down significantly enough to make it far less lethal than a direct shot
All that disclaimer aside I think this list is at least directional in giving you some sense between what could be truly considered as cover and what is simply concealment at best.
The Bullet Proof Vest shown in many of these videos is the BulletSafe Vest.
Things that are NOT likely to fully stop a bullet:
1. The Body of a Car
2. A Sofa
3. A Dresser
A dresser doesn't have much to it. I couldn't find a specific video of anyone battle testing a dresser with clothing but consider that the wood on the dresser is generally fairly weak and thin, The clothes themselves would generally not be enough by themselves. You probably would need a lot of clothing in that dresser, packed for the purpose of stopping bullets, to slow it down enough to be safe behind it.
4. Car Windows or Windshield
There are rumors of windshields stopping some handgun rounds but I wouldn't count on it.
5. Motorcycle Helmet
You trust that thing to protect your head at 60+ MPH against the pavement… but it won't stop a bullet. More here: Will a helmet stop a bullet?
6. Computer Tower
7. Tablets and Smartphones
We'll test this one for you soon but we seriously doubt that paper that thin would do much.
10. Phone book or text book
We recently put some text books to the test. Spoiler alert… 1 book won't do the trick. But enough books together would. Full thoughts here: Will books stop a bullet?
11. Badge (looks like it depends on the badge)
12. Exterior or interior wood door
13. Can of soup
14. Ceramic Tiles
17. Wood frame walls (most homes)
18. Brick Walls
19. Thick winter clothing and coat
This video is a good illustration of how thick or how many layers of fabric are needed to stop a bullet.
20. Thick Knife or Sword
Mythbusters tested this one and I'm sorry to say that a Ninja wouldn't last long if his plan for stopping bullets is to use his sword.
22. A Watch
23. Coffee Table
24. Kitchen Table
26. Metal Door
27. Kitchen Plates
28: Bags of Ice
Things that ARE likely to stop a bullet:
Sand is fairly dense but how much do you need? Learn More: How much sand do you need to stop a bullet
2. Enough Ceramic Tiles
3. Human Bodies
4. Concrete: Wall, floor, etc
5. The Engine Block of a Vehicle
6. A thick tree (how thick? that depends on the bullet)
Well, as you will see from the video below it really depends on what is in the refrigerator. An empty refrigerator isn't going to stop anything. But a full one is pretty likely to do the job.
The below video doesn't fully make it clear if the rounds are fully penetrating or not but our own research would suggest that an over acts as good cover for most handgun rounds.
9. 18 inches of water
10. Most gun safes
11. Water Heater (full of water)
The magic is in the water. See video above about water.
12. 24 inches of dirt
13. 10 Jugs of Water
14. 2 Bricks
15. A Filing Cabinet full of Paper
There has actually been a lot of research on file cabinets due to their general availability for cover in a workplace active shooter situation. Our research would suggest that an empty file cabinet will not stop most handgun rounds but a filing cabinet full of paper is likely to be effective. The NYPD conducted a study in which they claim a file cabinet stopped rounds from all handgun rounds but the below video shows some an empty file cabinet.
16. And of Course… A Good Bulletproof Vest
->>Learn More about the BulletSafe Vest Here