Finally, a realistic solution for EDC body armor Writes

Bodyguard Armored Backpacks come in three flavors: Elite (25 liters), Switchblade (40 liters), and First Responder (40 liters). The main differences between the three are size and purpose, with the smaller Elite bag and larger Switchblade having a non-tactical profile compared to the tactical First Responder.

All three designs use the patented Switchblade deployment system (U.S. patent 11,181,343) that has two pull straps to instantly convert the otherwise normal-looking packs into front-and-rear plate carriers. The design allows users to discreetly carry their armor with them until it’s needed.

It’s not the first backpack-style body armor, but the Bodyguard setup is pretty sleek. While there are some eccentric ideas floating around when it comes to hidden/portable armor, these backpacks keep it simple for the user.

Regardless of the bag’s size, it can host two hard armor plates that are 10×12 inches or two soft panels measuring 11×14 inches. You can even use a stacked combination, which is an option for some types of armor, thanks to a separate pocket just for soft armor.

There are two plate options you can buy with your backpack. There’s a soft level IIIA panel designed to stop up to .357 SIG and .44 Magnum handgun rounds. Or you can pick a lightweight hard polyethylene level III+ plate designed to stop rifle rounds up to 5.56 NATO, 7.62 NATO, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield. You can also opt to just buy the backpack and use your own plates.

As far as uses, I can see a lot of options for the Bodyguard lineup that range from first responders and private security to daily commuters, travelers, students, or even range safety officers. It would also make a solid go-bag or bug-out bag you can keep handy in your car or home with some basic medical, survival, and self-defense essentials.


For our testing, I selected the Elite backpack because it’s the trimmest option that’s closest to my own personal day bag that I use for hiking, commuting, and travel. The pack is similar in size to my 24-liter 5.11 Rush 2.0 backpack that I’ve used extensively.

I also opted to test the polyethylene hard plates with this pack. They eat up some of the internal space, but the plates are relatively lightweight at just 3.24 pounds on my scale and bring a lot of protection (more on that later).

Let’s do a quick rundown on the basic specs for this bag and these plates:

  • Dimensions: 17x12x8 inches
  • Bag Weight (With 2 Plates): 10.63 pounds
  • Bag Weight (Without Plates): 4.14 pounds
  • Single Plate Weight: 3.24 pounds
  • Polyethylene Plate Rating: Level III+ (NIJ Standard 0101.06)
  • Caliber Protection: 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x51mm NATO, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield
  • Additional Protection: “Special Threat” tested to stop six spaced hits of M80 7.62x51mm NATO FMJ at a velocity of ~2,780 ft/s. Slash proof and stab resistant.
  • Bag Material: 600D Cordura fabric
  • Warranty: Eight year (ballistic plate guarantee), five year (plate warranty), one year (bag manufacturing warranty)
  • TSA Compliant: Yes
  • MSRP Range: $349 to $1,047

The Cordura fabric used for the bag is the kind you would find on military and LEO-type gear items. It’s tough, water resistant, and rip resistant. One of the key areas to check on any backpack, much less one that carries armor plates, is the stress points. This bag has triple staked stress points with extra heavy stitching along the straps and grab handle.

I want to draw special attention to the waist belt, clips, and compression straps. The waist and shoulder straps host metal quick-release clips. The compression straps along the sides also have quick-detach hooks. Both features are helpful when you need to rapidly remove or open the pack. This makes the bag easy to open and easy to remove in an emergency.

The front chest panel has amply MOLLE attachment points and a Velcro panel for patches and identification. Two Velcro straps ride over the shoulder straps as part of the Switchblade deployment system. You grasp and pull up and over with both straps to deploy the front armor panel.