Police in the US are hard at work, every day, it seems, to kill as many people as they can get away with – this isn’t some kind of liberal propaganda, it’s simply sad facts of this hard life. One of the latest victims of police violence is a 6 year old boy, shot to death in the passenger seat of his father’s car, while two officers tried to kill the father because of a personal vendetta.
Jeremy Mardis (6) is so far the youngest victim of police violence in the US, killed by Lt. Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr., who have been arrested and are now facing murder charges. Jeremy’s father was reportedly romantically involved with one of the officer’s fiancee, which was the reason for the calculated, cold blooded murder attempt which left the absolutely innocent boy bloody, dead and riddled with bullets.
The sad fact is that this is not an unusual occurrence. While Jeremy may be the youngest victim of murderers he should have been able to trust, turn to and seek assistance from, the number of unarmed, innocent people murdered during traffic stops in the US, is stacking up quickly. All too often, the officers face no charges, something which luckily is not the case when it comes to Jeremy. In most instances, the murder of innocent motorists is not as premeditated and cold blooded as this, however. Nervousness, fear and cowardice is rampant among today’s police in the US, and a nervous twitch with gun in hand is deadly – usually for the innocent father, mother, son or daughter on the wrong end of a police issue gun. So what can you do to guard yourself and your loved ones against being murdered by police? Short of buying a tank to drive around in, that is?
The answer is that there are things you can do to protect yourself against that first, nervous shooting from a cowardly cop, and you don’t need to spend 700k bucks on a Knight XV. (Though if you have $700k extra, please consider one – and play GTA V on Playstation while the cops shoot at you on the outside. Then, send us the video.)
Even if a cop should shoot at you, the voice of reason will usually kick in if there really is no reason for him or her to do it in the first place. The goal then, becomes to survive 3-4 shots, until another cop arrives and calms the situation, you can get away and seek out other officers or departments (and call your lawyer on the way), or something else happens… whatever that may be. Here’s a few tips that everyone needs to implement, to police proof their car.
You need a dashcam. Preferrably one that will take wide angle video forwards, backwards and interface with a rear camera. Like this one. We’ve also written about dashcams before, so we won’t make that a main point here – we’ve got other fish to fry that are even more important. Get a dash cam, make sure it’s on, make sure it records audio, and save every encounter with officials, police or otherwise, permanently. You never know when you need to prove that you did nothing wrong.
Armoring your own vehicle
We’re not going to lie – this is going to cost more than the dash cam, but it’s not going to break the bank.
A car lends itself quite readily to armoring – they are relatively small, already made of metal and sturdy materials, and have several spaces and placements that are ideal for armoring and/or protection. We’ll go through a few bullet points (pun intended, of course) to get you on your way to surviving your next encounter with police.
- Make a plan.
Having a plan is the first step. What do you want to achieve, how much protection do you want, and how can you adapt it to your car? We will look at some options that will fit most cars, trucks and SUVs out there – how you build on it depends on your vehicle, your financial options and your preference. Remember that armoring materials can be heavy – make sure you take that into consideration, so you avoid overstressing your vehicle, and/or reduce its performance in other ways.
- Build your “shell”.
The aim isn’t to bullet proof your whole car. The aim is to construct a “cocoon” that will protect you and your passenger(s), nothing more, nothing less. Remember that the rear is less likely to be attacked, since the driver seat is up front. Your shell should be a space where you both reside and draw into – that is, you don’t need to armor the footwell from the front, for instance, but you may need to duck away from windows, since there isn’t much you can do to harden those. We will look at some options later on this page.
- Enhance the basics over time.
Don’t be complacent – technology and materials advance daily, and so should you. Keep up to date on what’s on the market, and when you’re building your shell, make sure you can review, update and enhance it relatively easily.
- Use what’s already in your car
Seats and seatbacks are your first line of defense, for example. We will look at some options below.
Armor plating your seats
Seats are excellent armor platforms, and perhaps the most useful part of your car in this project. Most cars have seat covers that can either be removed and replaced, or at least opened so as to facilitate repairs, etc. Open the seat back’s cover, and insert light armor plates like these. Secure them so as to cover the greatest area possible – make sure you have 0.5 – 1″ overlap, so bullets can’t “sneak” through. At 16×12 inches, you will need to start at 4 plates per front seat. At $80 per plate, this is (like we said) not going to be free, but the price is low for the protection they provide. At 2-2.5 pounds, these plates will not add noticeable weight to your car, even with a high number installed.
Secure the plates with zip ties inside the seat covers – or fabricate pockets for them, if you’re handy enough. Make sure your inserts doesn’t interfere with wiring or air bags that may be located in the seats.
If you would like even more seat protection, consider adding one of these .308 certified plates to the headrest – but remember that your center mass is the main target for any cop that is aiming at you, not your head.
Armor plating your doors
Contrary to popular belief, a car door will not stop a bullet – not even a handgun bullet. There is so much empty space in a car door, and such prolific use of light weight materials, that a 9mm bullet will pass straight through and into you. Armoring your front doors is one of the best moves you can make to strengthen your shell.
This does. however, usually take more time, more guts, and more wrenching time.
Remove the interior trim from your car door. Please google how to do this, and take your time. Be careful not to stress or break wires for window lifts, switches, locks etc., and clips/screws/fasteners that secure the door and functionality within it, as well as the trim itself.
There is usually ample empty space inside the door – remember that you can remove sound deadening and insulation, and replace it with armoring. For the inside of the door, you can use the same light armor plates than we suggest for the seat backs, if there is room. They are fairly rigid, and will not lend themselves to bending very easily, but can be fitted on flat surfaces. As long as you don’t interfere with wiring or fasteners, don’t be afraid to block openings and holes. They are mainly there to facilitate repairs and/or reduce weight.
If you know how, or don’t mind paying for the premium, you can have fiberglass phenolic armoring made to fit inside your door, but this is likely to cost an arm and a leg. Lacking this option, using the light weight armor plates will be highly effective, as long as you’re able to cover enough of the inside of the door. Fasten with zip ties, or strong double sided tape, as long as you’re sure they can’t slip downwards. Tape is only recommended for plates placed at the bottom of the door.
The windows are an eternal weak point when it comes to protection against firearms. Car windows are no different, and it doesn’t take much to make a hole – a .22 will penetrate even your windshield easily, and offer little protection. To be honest, the best one can hope for is that a bullet will deflect enough to not hit its target, but that’s not really likely.
Several people who have encountered the type of police officers we’re focusing on here, have been fired on through a rear window – windows that can, if necessary, be rendered inoperable. Remember that putting in bullet resistant glass in your car isn’t just to your benefit – having inoperable, unbreakable windows in your car can be a significant disadvantage, and even dangerous, if you should get into an accident where rescuers need to get in through your window.
That said, replacing your rear window with so called “transparent armor” is a must if you want to make your car police proof. There’s more bad news, however. Bullet resistant glass which will withstand a 9mm caliber is .825 inches thick. That’s “Level 2″ protection – one of the lowest categories. Normal car windows are about .15” thick – and bullet resistant glass only gets thicker from there.
Purchasing curved vehicle glass, manufactured to a specific vehicle is expensive – a full set at level 2 for a mid size sedan will cost somewhere around 14,000 dollars. But, there’s some good news as well. Instead of fitting custom made glass, flat panes of bullet resistant glass can be had for about 60 dollars per square foot. Installing an extra pane of glass in a removable system on the inside of your car window is an option that anyone on a budget should consider. A pane of level 2 glass installed on the inside of a window, fastened securely in a solid system will protect anyone behind that pane from both directed and stray bullets – and while this solution requires quite a bit of fabrication, it is certainly cheaper and more accessible than 14,000 dollars are to most of us.
In an upcoming article, we will look more closely at options for making and installing such an option.
Floor, roof, etc.
The chances of someone shooting in through the roof or floor of your car is remote, and while a regular car floor will not protect you from bullets, the chances of one getting in that way and hitting you is so remote that we won’t consider it in this round. Stay tuned for our upcoming article on installing panes of bullet resistant glass, without having to pay through the nose for it!