A couple weeks after SHOT Show this year I received a ballistic clipboard from DAW TECH, a Utah based company that manufactures, among other things, ballistic bunkers. One of their ballistic products in a ballistic clipboard. It’s the second such clipboard I’ve seen and I wanted to “try it out.” Those of you who have read my equipment reviews in the past know that “try it out,” means shoot it with various caliber weapons to see if it will fail. The good news is that it did not fail. The bad news is that my camera did. Here’s the report and supporting images provided by DAW TECH.
DAW TECH’s online information and images show their ballistic clipboard shot four times with a .44 Magnum caliber weapon. Their information doesn’t specify what range but, given that the clipboard would theoretically be used as additional protection for an officer on a traffic or crime scene, a range of less than ten feet is assumed. In my 30+ years as a police officer I’ve rarely come across a .44 Magnum used in a crime (although it has happened). Most of the time the calibers used were .22lr or .38 Special with an increase in 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP in the past ten to fifteen years. I decided to test the clipboard against 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP and .357 Magnum.
My test weapons were:
- Glock Moel 17 4th 9mm Generation firing Speer Golddot JHP ammo
- Beretta 96FC-L .40S&W firing Speer Golddot JHP ammo
- Springfield Armory 1911 .45ACP firing CCI Lawman JHP ammo
- Smith & Wesson Model 66 .357 Magnum firing Remington UMC JSP ammo
All firing was done from a distance of about four feet with the clipboard held up against a backer constructed of five layers of standard cardboard B27 targets. I wanted something that would give a little to allow for the back face deformation of the clipboard when rounds impacted it. That five-cardboard-thickness backer was then attached to a ½” plywood board and stood up for testing.
I started out with the Glock 9mm, firing two rounds toward the lower portion of the clipboard. Neither round penetrated and the back face deformation wasn’t too bad. Although, without a high speed camera we can’t see how far back the clipboard was flexed, it ended up with a backward “dent” less than ½”.
Next I fired two rounds of .45ACP from the Springfield Armory 1911, trying to hit the higher portion of the clipboard. Same results. Two hits; no penetrations; perhaps a tad more back face deformation but nothing I could measure the difference of.
Third up was the Beretta 96FC-L chambered for .40S&W. I fired two rounds trying to get them both just left of center on the clipboard. Neither round penetrated and the back face deformation looked roughly equivalent to the 9mm and .45ACP.
Last up with the Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver with its .357 Magnum rounds. I aimed right of center and fired my two shots. Neither round penetrated but the back face deformation was noticeably farther than any of the previous rounds fired. Just for the heck of it, and because I had fully loaded the cylinder of the revolver, I put the target back up and fired the remaining four rounds of .357 Magnum ammo onto the clipboard. I aimed one round at the previous two 9mm rounds, one round at the previous two .45ACP hits and one round at the previous two .40S&W hits, with the last round going back to the right of center in the previous two .357 magnum hits.
All told I put twelve rounds of handgun ammo running from 9mm to .357 Magnum on my test clipboard and experienced no penetrations. The .357 Magnum rounds caused the greatest depth of back face deformation (as I expected) with the 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP rounds looking like they caused roughly the same depth of back face deformation.
Measuring 10” x 13” and rated as IIIA, this clipboard offers a few strengths. First, it obviously does what it is intended to do and that’s stop bullets. As I picture a police officer standing at the scene of an accident investigation, clipboard in hand, it’s easy to imagine a bad guy shooting at the officer from a distance inside ten feet, and four feet seemed a little closer than we’d like people to be. If the clipboard will stop 12 rounds of handgun caliber ammo fired at four feet, I think it’s doing well. Second, at 10”x18” it will fit easily into briefcases, backpacks, messenger bags, etc. thereby offering the person carrying such items a measure of protection. How many parents would like to put one of these in their child’s backpack to offer some modicum of protection in the event of an active shooter at their child’s school?
No, this clipboard is not meant to replace body armor. That said, think about the additional protection it can and does offer above and beyond that of your worn body armor. More protection is always good.