What Could Possibly Go Wrong: BulletSafe Baseball Cap Edition

Inventor Tom Nardone shot the BulletSafe Baseball Cap above with two calibers (.22 and .40 FMJ) at five feet. The bullet resistant vest guy designed the Cap because police helmets violated his fashion sense. No seriously . . .

BulletSafe bullet proof (?) baseball cap (courtesy kickstarter.com)
“The initial spark occurred at a trade show when I was repeatedly asked if we made ballistic helmets,” his Kickstarter come-on reveals. “I thought ‘yuck! I don’t want to make those, they look ridiculous in a civilian environment.’ But ignoring a number of customers is always a bad idea. [Ed: especially when they’re armed.] I decided to develop something different.”

BulletSafe sideburn-friendly bulletproof (?) Baseball Cap (courtesy kickstarter.com)

Which would be a lot more appealing without the words BulletSafe on the side. “People have already spoken on that,” Tom tells TTAG, revealing that the final hat will be logo-less. “It’ll save me 60 cents.” Still, you pays your money, you takes your chances. Even if you’re wearing the cap, “it’s gonna hurt.”

comments

  1. avatar dano says:

    Only if it comes with an oversized flat brim.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      “Bill”, that is. LOL!

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    This guy might want to google cerebral hemorrhage before he sells these.

    1. avatar Paladin says:

      It’s better than a hole in the skull…

      …but not by much.

      1. avatar Jerryboy says:

        At least it would give the family a chance to say goodbye before pulling the plug.

  3. avatar Mike says:

    Ok… so, you’ll still suffer permanent brain damage, but without all that pesky “hole in the skull” stuff. Got it

    1. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

      I’d rather have my brain damaged than turned inside out.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Beyond a certain amount of brain damage you’d probably be better off dead.

        1. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

          That is the question of questions, isn’t it?

  4. avatar JasonM says:

    A little protection is better than no protection, right?

  5. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

    Not impressed with this article. The hat is not a bad idea.

    Almost no one is going to wear a helmet on a regular basis. Plenty of people wear a baseball cap all of the time. Tom is right – wearing a helmet looks ridiculous in a civilian environment.

    Your “especially when they’re armed” comment is kind of dumb. Armed customers doesn’t mean “making threats if they don’t get their way” customers. I know it was a joke, but it was a bad one. The anti’s believe that’s the truth.

    Seems like it might be a decent product. I may get one once it’s available. As Jason mentioned above, a little protection is better than none.

    1. avatar tom12121112 says:

      Word.

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      Word. I used to have a green camo Kevlar helmet in the Marine Corps. Now I have a blue Kevlar helmet. Blue. I’m not ever wearing that unless I’m in another riot control situation.

      I’d wear a baseball hat, though. Possibly even one of these.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      a little protection is better than none

      Anyone who believes that would probably wear half a condom.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        Depends on which half

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Well, that depends on whether you want to protect her or you.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Anyone who believes that would probably wear half a condom.”

          Google “Cap Condom”.

      2. avatar Layne says:

        The critical difference being that once a young man gets shot in the head for the first time, he’s not likely to spend almost all of his time and energy trying to get shot in the head again as many times as possible for the next 20 years.

        1. avatar Jerryboy says:

          You plan to stop trying to get “shot in the head” at 38?!

      3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        I’d say even a full condom is at best only partial protection, but the half condom thing is still a funny line.

      4. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

        If someone is wearing one of these, gets shot, and ends up with a concussion instead of death, I’d say that yes, some protection is better than none.

        Don’t think it applies to condoms though.

    4. avatar David PA/NJ says:

      Something that protects you a little bit from bullets can do a great job of protecting you from other projectiles too

  6. avatar FlaResident says:

    I imaging getting shot in the head, by something larger than a .22, while wearing this hat would be like getting hit with a baseball bat in the head (a .22 being a smaller baseball bat). That energy has to dissipate somewhere. Whiplash, concussion and blunt force trauma all seem almost a 100% likely outcome. Would to see the testing on this.

  7. avatar Don says:

    Motorcycle helmets afford *some* protection from impact, but often will contribute to a broken neck. Still, we wear them because they do offer some protection in an emergency. So, I would buy one of these, if they make them big enough. I use just one click on a welding helmet band, thick skull.

  8. avatar Some guy says:

    Just to put the impact force into perspective. The average .40 round delivers about 490ft/lbs of energy. A 210 mph baseball also delivers about 490ft/lbs of energy. It’s definitely going to hurt.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It wouldn’t hurt very much. Instant death is pretty painless.

      1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        Yeah, you get hit wearing this it is lights out. Then the shooter has to only walk over and finish the job. Even if the shooter sees you go down and leaves you alone, you are going to need to be minutes away from an ICU or you will die from internal hemorrhage and brain swelling from that nice little skull fracture you just got. That video looked like what? 1/2″ indentation? not a lot of material absorbing the shot other than the energy absorbed from mushrooming the bullet. Not a lot of distance to slow down the shock impulse either. So you are probably taking a very large % of that hit straight into your noggin = game over

        Isn’t the whole point of bullet resistant apparel so that you can remain conscious and defend yourself?

    2. avatar aaronw says:

      . >A 210 mph baseball also delivers about 490ft/lbs of energy. It’s definitely going to hurt.

      Me thinks you’re a bit too optimistic about the Red Sox’ pitching staff. Perhaps they’re the ones that need to wear this hat?

    3. avatar Aaron says:

      who pitches at 210 mph ?! a 90 mph fastball is smoking.

    4. avatar Lars Anderson says:

      The energy of the bullet has nothing to do with it, energy isn’t conserved in inelastic collisions (such as a bullet with laminated Kevlar) but momentum is. This means that the actual feeling of being hit in the head with a 40 S&W is about the same as a 58 Mph baseball, which is completely survivable. It is the same reason that a block of ballistic gel doesn’t fly away when you shoot it, the energy of the bullet striking the gel is turned into heat and sound, however the momentum of the bullet (assuming it’s captured) only causes the block to jump back an inch or so (if the surface the block was sitting on was friction-less then the block would drift away merrily after being shot but usually the tests aren’t conducted in such conditions).

  9. avatar John Thomas says:

    cowboy hat version, plz.

    1. avatar T.G. says:

      Ya know, thats a really good idea. The thicker make of a cowboy hat would allow for a little stiffer construction to help dissipate the impact of the round I would think. Plus, its probably even less out of place here in OK than a black ballcap would be…..

      Why are we not funding this!!!

  10. avatar iCONOCLAST says:

    Is this from The Onion?

  11. avatar Hannibal says:

    Ignoring for a moment that the hat doesn’t cover anywhere near as much as a helmet (just part of the forehead), as several people have pointed out it’s not just a question of if a bullet makes it through a material. Ballistic vests are graded based not just on whether a bullet goes through but how much deformation occurs (because if you allow enough deformation you’re basically just ensuring you’ve been shot by kevlar instead of lead). Supposedly they’ve passed the requirements or this level but I wonder if it has been taken into account that we’re talking about a head and not a chest.

    Kickstarter… caveat emptor.

  12. avatar pwrserge says:

    First thought…

    World’s most fire retardant paper hat…

    OTOH…

    Something is better than nothing. I would much rather have a sever concussion than a hole in my skull.

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      Given there isn’t really any room to absorb the impact or at least spread it out over a very large area, this would probably be about like taking the round end of a ball-peen hammer to the forehead… you would very likely never wake up from that, dead is dead even if the coroner doesn’t have to scoop your brains up off the sidewalk.

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    I wonder what would have happened if Big Mike had been wearing one of these.

    On second thought, the outcome would probably have been the same, since he would have worn it backwards.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Gangsta” fvckwits will wear it backwards…

      🙂

    2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      All that might have saved Big Mike, before he charged an armed police officer, is if he had put on his thinking cap.

  14. avatar S.CROCK says:

    Even if the bullets don’t penetrate the cap, wouldn’t the foot pounds of pressure crack or crush the skull?

    1. avatar Paladin says:

      That would depend on where and at what angle.

  15. avatar 0351 says:

    Well, I know people who have recovered from severe concussions. Not so much a gaping hole in the skull. If it works, it’s another option I suppose. Personally I dislike head coverings in general, but whatever. On the other hand, there once was a time that no self respecting man of means would go about his business without being armed and armored, whatever the situation. There’s something to be said about that.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Can I get one with a matching ballistic backpack? A Hello Kitty design would be nice.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Along the lines of the “Hello Kitty” vibrator, Ralph?

      http://www.kittyhell.com/2007/11/04/hello-kitty-vibrator-reborn/

      😉

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        Hello Klitty?

  17. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I wear baseball caps. Yeah something is better than no thing…I guess. Is this serious?

  18. avatar Tom Nardone says:

    Hi Gentlemen, I’m Tom from BulletSafe. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that the product is indeed real and that I have a pretty good idea about how to make it work. I’ve been doing ballistics testing, design, and development since 1991 starting with Sikorsky Aircraft. My company launched a great bulletproof vest in 2013 that is changing our industry because it stops bullets just as well as other vests but costs half as much. It’s fair to say that I am OK at this.

    Here’s the deal with the cap. It uses materials that are usually used to stop rifle rounds to make a small, hard plate for a baseball cap. We have tested this design with a panel that was the same size, thickness and material as what we will use and it works. There is an NIJ test for helmets and it contains a backface deflection criteria which we will meet for our coverage area. This test is different than the vest test and takes into account that your head is different than your chest.

    Our cap isn’t perfect. It only covers 1/3 that area of your skull that a ballistic helmet does. It will probably be rated at NIJ level IIA instead of IIIA for military helmets. But it has advantages too. It is lightweight, discreet, easy to wear, comfortable, looks professional, and it is affordable. The eventual MSRP will be $129 but Kickstarter backers get it for $99. We will be delivering them in fall of 2015.

    Finally, the question you are all asking. Will it hurt if this thing catches a bullet for you? You bet it will. The ballistic energy in a .45 ACP is twice that of a hockey puck. If you ever took a hockey puck to your helmet, imaged two of those. Ouch.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      F=MA.

      That seems to be the biggest challenge with making this a “hat”. My kevlar has an interior webbing that keeps it away from my head, so impacts to the helmet don’t transfer directly to my precious noggin’. It also traps the projectile and expends that energy inside the helmet material.

      This could save a life, but I would guess it probably takes the wearer out of the fight (concussed/unconscious). And if the wearer is without backup, that means the bad guy will just finish them off at their leisure.

      I’d be interested in the concept, if I could think of a scenario where it would be useful. Maybe for undercover law enforcement. It might keep them alive long enough for the assault team to make an entry.

    2. avatar pyratemime says:

      Tom,

      It is an interesting product with a market. Your information on the impact force being the equivalent to two hockey pucks to the head is also a great way to conceptualize the force. Many of us here are data driven individuals and like to see the numbers for ballistics tests. Showing the ballistics data on force transferred to the skull might go a long way to converting or at least quieting skeptics. That way customers and doubters can make an informed decision, fore or against, they no one can ever say they didn’t have a chance to know. Just a thought.

      All that being said good luck with this. Can’t say I will be a customer but when it hits the market I will take a look at the final product.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Interesting idea, Tom.

      The big downside seems to be it will be similar to being clocked with a baseball bat to the skull.

      Better than painting the wall behind you with your brains, but still, holy crap!

    4. avatar tcba_joe says:

      Tom. I really like the idea. But i think marketing it as an alternative to a helmet is a mistake, it makes an excellent supliment to a helmet where a ball cap is normally worn.

      No officers can’t always wear a helmet due to dress regulations, but if an officer has time and reason to don a helmet they should.

    5. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      So you made a good vest, that doesn’t mean you can make a good hat. I and many others may believe you if you come in here with a board certified brain trauma doc who vouches that this thing wont leave 1/2″ divot in your skull. I would also be interested in seeing local G-forces where the bullet impacted. Even assuming the hat absorbs some energy, a 180grain 40 round probably still has as much momentum as taking a fastball to the head unprotected. That will likely cause enough deflection to give you a nasty diffuse axonal brain injury – the medical term for when your head rapidly changes directions or comes to a sudden stop and your brain shears as it moves around inside of and collides with the interior walls of your skull.

      Physics is not your friend on this one. As someone noted below, ballistic helmets are suspended by webbing and/or dense cushy foam so that the back side of the strike face isn’t right up against your forehead. The webbing serves two purposes, first it allows space so that the deformed backside of the plate doesn’t hit you directly, and it slows down the impulse to the head so that you brain isn’t sloshing around inside your head (see above for definition of difuse axonal brain injury).

      That 180 grain slug left what appeared to be a sizable indentation in the backing of the hat and the material itself looks very hard which is not good when you don’t want to transfer energy to the whatever is behind the armor. The armor on the hat looks to be about 3/8-1/2″ thick, so there is almost no space to absorb any of the energy other than what it takes to delaminate the ballistic material and mushroom the bullet. So a very large % of the projectiles energy gets transferred to the wearer, which is fine if there is muscle and relatively flexible ribs and cartilage there, but on your forehead there are only a few mm of skin and muscle and then solid bone, which will leave you with a wound that would roughly approximate taking the round end of a ball-peen hammer to the forehead. You will be out of the fight, and even if the shooter doesn’t just walk up and finish you off right there, you will be rapidly dying of massive internal injuries to your skull/brain.

      I will fall back on my favorite Robert Farago quote to date “Im not saying I could do better… I’m saying that you could do better.”

      Cheers

    6. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      Oh and then there is this gem…
      “Finally, the question you are all asking. Will it hurt if this thing catches a bullet for you? You bet it will. The ballistic energy in a .45 ACP is twice that of a hockey puck. If you ever took a hockey puck to your helmet, imaged two of those. Ouch.”

      No it will be way worse, at least hockey helmet is lined with nearly an inch of EPS foam and a hard plastic shell, you slapped maybe a half inch of ultra hard ballistic material into the brim of the hat which will be sitting naked against your forehead. If you take a hockey puck slapshot to the forehead unprotected (I say unprotected because you wont be wearing a hockey helmet under this hat), even just one for that matter, you will be in a very bad place. At a minimum you will be eating through a straw and shitting in a beadpan for the rest of your life, and you want people to give you money for this?

  19. avatar Allen says:

    It might be useful against ricochets. Not as *combat armor*.

  20. avatar Alex waits says:

    Seems like an awesome idea, but i would have focused my attentions on making a better helmet that doesnt cost 700 dollars

    1. avatar Drew says:

      He probably will. Especially if asked by several people. With this selling for $125 I can see a helmet going for double or triple that depending on where he lands on materials size and caliber.

  21. avatar Cameron S. says:

    Do you want to wear a 5 pound oversized baseball cap and live the rest of your llifewith a TBI, or just die with dignity?

    I’m not a customer.

  22. avatar Layne says:

    I’m disappointed to see it only protects the front. It’s more likely to catch a random ricochet than an aimed shot.

  23. avatar Dan says:

    As long as people understand the limitations of the technology it’s not a bad idea.
    Yes….a Kevlar helmet with the proper suspension is the best method to date but
    it certainly isn’t practical in most circumstances. A baseball style cap or other such
    civilian friendly headware that can defeat pistol rounds is a LOT BETTER THAN NOTHING.
    Blunt trauma from being shot could STILL cause intracranial bleeding….but so can
    being shot by a bullet that penetrates the skull…..along with a lot of other problems.
    So no, it isn’t perfect, but it IS a step in the right direction. I’d like to see a Stetson type
    hat made the same way.

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      “civilian friendly headware that can defeat pistol rounds is a LOT BETTER THAN NOTHING.”

      That argument doesn’t hold water, you get shot with anything bigger than a 22lr while you have this thing on and you WILL be unconscious, probably with a fractured skull, the whole point of armor is that is keeps you in the fight. Your hat does you nothing when you crumple to the ground and the shooter can walk over and finish you off.

  24. avatar MurrDog says:

    I’ve known enough guys who’ve taken a round in the Kevlar to know that it sucks. But they’re all alive and a concussion and some neck pain is better than death on most occasions

  25. avatar Gary Schulze says:

    It only covers the hardest part of the skull, leaving the most vulnerable still vulnerable. Anyone shooting you from the same level, i.e., not from above, still has a clear shot. This only protects you from a Hollywood shot between the eyes (one-handed, of course).

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I’m not sure it even protects from a between the eyes shot. I can still see the inventor’s eyes under the brim of his ballcap.For real head protection, they should market a “Jason” style, bullet resistant hockey mask. And think of the deterrent value!

  26. avatar Aaron B says:

    $130 for a hat that only “protects” the front 1/4 of your head, versus $200 and up for a whole helmet that will actually protect your head. Ehhhh…….I’ll stick with a helmet until you can convince me that I won’t suffer brain damage from getting hit in the “bullet proof” portion of this hat. A helmet is on your head with a suspension system…the Kevlar doesn’t make contact with your head. But a hat is in physical contact with your head….so it seems to me that the energy will transfer into your skull. HOWEVER, that’s not to say that this is a bad idea…..just that I’m no scientist and I’m not convinced that I could take a round in this hat and stay in the fight. But if I take a round in my normal hat, then I’m definitely out of the fight. Permanently. Bottom line: I need more info before I’m willing to spend $130.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      I’m probably in your same camp on this one. I wonder, though, whether it might provide some protection from just a plain blow to the head.

      I figure a first shot, especially to the head, means I’ve already lost the encounter. If the first form of attack is a knock on the head, however, perhaps from behind, perhaps a pistol whipping, maybe something like this might provide enough protection to allow you to keep your wits about you long enough to counterattack? Like you, I’m not qualified to make that assessment, and I’d have to hear more.

  27. avatar Bob101 says:

    I am uncertain if it would be useful in a gun fight, but I can see it being useful elsewhere. I saw a video recently where someone was hit in the forehead by a bullet fragment while shooting at steel. I am sure he wished he had this hat. It may help with secondary fragments and bomb fragments if far enough away from the source too.

  28. avatar Jordan says:

    Bullet-proof hat, huh?
    I invented this gag, Rabbit.
    Only in my day, the rookie got naked.
    BANG!

    …and we also used blanks.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      ^ +1 for reference

  29. avatar Angry & Irish says:

    Any demonstration videos available of the hat in action and the ballistic results of actually taking a shot to the head while wearing one? I foresee watermelon guts dripping onto the floor.

  30. avatar Slovko says:

    So basically they bandsawed a PASGT helmet, glued it on to a basecap and called it a prototype? Heck, I could do that!

    Opps what am I thinking? The logo patch! That makes all the difference!

  31. avatar Chester says:

    Not the first of it’s kind. Second Chance made these in the late 80s or early 90s.
    I remember an article written by Ayoob about them. He asked a brain surgeon what would happen to a person getting hit in the head with one on. The doctor said all the negatives about the blunt force trauma. Then Ayoob asked him what the results would be taking a bullet to the head.
    Almost certain damage versus almost certain death.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email