In this series we unbox and set up the Byrna Shield Bulletproof Backpack and give you a realistic assessment of set up, quality of construction, deployment under real conditions and every practically.
The Byrna Shield Armored Backpack comes in three configurations.
- No Armor $339
- Level 3A Armor 499 – all handguns
- Level 3 Armor $899 – rifle plates
Prices DO NOT included SHIPPING and taxes, so depending where you live expect to pay $40 to $60 more depending on which unit you purchase.
Consider that they also give you about $30 worth of free stuff (personal alarm, wound care kit) it’s not so bad.
First impression is that the Byrna Shield is very well made. Heavy duty nylon and hardware gives you the confidence that it inbuilt to last.
The set up was a bit complicated but not a big deal, it took a few minutes to figure it out – after that, no problem.
Installing the armor was easy too – it was very secure. The internal straps were a bit of overkill and you probably don’t need them, but nevertheless, that armor is not going anywhere.
Deploying it was simple, grab the handle and go. The armor came out, no problem.
Cargo capacity, is adequate. You’re not going to pack your weekend in there, but that’s not the purpose of the Byrna Shield. The purpose is to allow you to take your body armor any where you go. Taking your computer, tablet and a few books is all most people need.
The only issue we had with the construction was the use of plastic clips to secure the front chest protection shoulder straps to the Byrna Shield body. These clips are prone to fail and will be taking A LOT of abuse when you deploy that armor. The heaver the load (rifle plates and firearm) the more stress will be placed on that chest piece.
Taking it on and off is a little difficult since the shoulder straps don’t easily tighten and loosen. I understand why they have the extra buckle to secure the strap to secure it in place, but they probably could have done without it.
Here’s where we ran into our first issue – the armor isn’t 100% concealed.
This isn’t such a big deal when you’re wearing it, but when the backpack is on the ground, or it will “look different”. Now, I’ll be honest here, I don’t think anyone will really notice, however if you were planning on attaching firearm (or a pepper spray gun) to the chest rig, I would not consider the Byrna for the sample fact that when you do put it down, people will be able to look into your concealment compartment.
The Grab Handle – BIG ISSUE.
The grab handle for the Byrna Shield is on the back of the unit. The deployment handle is located where they typical grab handle for a backpack is located. This is a huge problem since we have accidentally grabbed the deployment handle by mistake when moving the back – the result is an “accidental deployment” and you will have a tactical yard sale.
Even if you get used to grabbing the correct handle, if ANYONE else attempts to move your Byrna Shield, they will deploy it bay accident.
The Byrna Shield deploys easy and without problems when it’s not overloaded. But that’s where it ends.
The Byrna Shield deployment handle moves back (farther away) when loaded.
If you put more than just a computer and soft armor in the Byrna Shield the bag will expand, moving the deployment handle back and farther out of reach. Securing that handle under stress while running for cover becomes extremely difficult.
If you have any shoulder issues and can’t touch the back of your neck you will not be able to deploy the Byrna Shield.
Securing the Byrna Shield front chest protection is extremely difficult under real stress.
to your chest. For body armor to work correctly it needs to be secured close to you body.
In order to do this with the Byrna Shield you need to extend two elastic velcro straps and secure them behind your back. This is going to be EXTREMELY difficult under real life conditions when you’re reacting to shots fired. Plus, if you have a concealed firearm or pepper pray gun, you will need to make a choice. Secure the front armor or draw your weapon. In a world where split seconds count, this is a problem.
Byrna Shield Positives –
- Well Made
- Easy to Deploy
- Armor is extremely secure
- Gives you some free and useful stuff
Byrna Shield Negatives-
- Deployment Handle and Grab Handle locations – someone is going to grab the wrong handlebar accident
- Deployment handle moves when full
- Concealment Chamber is always open and visible when on ground
- Front Protection doesn’t automatically secure – Attaching the waist band under stress probably won’t happen
- Clips used on front chest piece to anchor the unit can fail
- Shoulder straps tough to adjust making it hard to put on and take off
- Bottle bag can be pulled off
I hope you found our review helpful, please post questions and comments below.