CONWAY, Ark. - It fits in your child's backpack. It's about as heavy as a book or two, and it's an item that some parents never anticipated would be on the back-to-school shopping list.
"It's solid," Dewey Mahan says while rapping his knuckles across a piece of backpack body armor.
Backpack body armor is stacked and ready to sell in Conway.
"We saw with all the stuff that's happening in the world that that might be just an extra something," Mahan says.
Mahan is the general manager at Conway Tactical Supply.
From behind the sales counter with his child's backpack in hand, he shows how the sheet of armor slides into a backpack, giving kids a bulletproof wardrobe.
Backpack body armor emerged as a safety option following a surge in school shootings across the country.
Mahan, a father of four, never imagined he would one day be selling something like this.
"To see where we're at now versus when I was in school, it's a major change," Mahan says.
The armor has been on the shelves at Conway Tactical Supply since last week, and they've sold nine of them so far. The armor has also been tested out at a local shooting range.
Photos taken after the test show marks but no penetration. Everything from a .22 to a .10 milimeter were used, but Mahan says nothing breached the armor.
The particular model that Conway Tactical Supply sells is made and distributed in Little Rock.
"Once we tested it and knew for a fact that it met every standard that it needed to that's why we chose to carry it," Mahan says.
Some view it as extra preparation for a pop quiz that no one wants to take.
"You just never know with how society is," Mahan says.
The Level-Three backpack armor sells for just under $80 at Conway Tactical. Larger sizes may cost a bit more.
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