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Self-Defense Tip #59 — Bulletproof umbrella?

Now and then we get asked if our Unbreakable® Umbrella is bulletproof and whether we can make its canopy out of a bulletproof fabric, such as Kevlar® or Spectra Shield®. Keeping in mind that the Unbreakable® Umbrella weighs under 2 lb, the question “Is it bulletproof?” shows ignorance of the way the so-called “bulletproof” fabrics work. I say, “so-called bulletproof” because those fabrics are not really bulletproof, merely bullet-resistant, provided there are enough layers of them. For example, to stop a 9×19 mm pistol bullet, it takes about 15 layers, or at least a 0.20-inch (about 5 mm) thickness of Kevlar®.

So, for an umbrella’s fabric to stop even a 9 mm handgun bullet, it would have to weigh at least 7 kg (15.4 lb), and that’s the weight of the bulletproof fabric alone. In addition, Kevlar® is weakened by water and by UV rays, so the Kevlar® would have to be covered by waterproof and UV-protective fabric. To support all that fabric, the umbrella’s frame would have to be stronger and accordingly heavier. In the end, the umbrella would be very heavy and very expensive.

This will give you an idea how expensive it would be: Kevlar®-covered ParaPactum umbrella made for bodyguards of French president Nicolas Sarkozy weighs 2.2 kg (4.8 lb) and costs about $17,000.00 apiece—and it does not stop bullets.

According to the British newspaper Daily Mail, a source at the elite RAID police unit, which tested the ParaPactum umbrella, said:

“This umbrella will keep him pretty safe. It won’t stop bullets, but it will reduce their impact considerably.”

Sarkozy’s umbrella can work well as a protection from objects thrown at him from high-rise housing projects and as a barrier between a pressing crowd or an attacker unarmed or armed with a short blade. It may not defend against pointed blades such as a dagger or a thin sword.


Here is more info about this umbrella:

An umbrella that would be truly bulletproof and stabproof would weigh as much as a millstone and would be as awkward to carry as one.

Self-defense tip from Thomas Kurz, co-author of Basic Instincts of Self-Defense and author of Science of Sports Training, Stretching Scientifically, and Flexibility Express.

The Unbreakable Umbrella -- better than a cane, keeps the rain off, whacks like a steel pipe.

Self-Defense Moves

Basic Instincts of Self-Defense - Defenses Against Unarmed Attacks DVD

For your defense moves to work under stress they must be based on your natural, instinctive reactions, require little strength and limited range of motion, and be proven in fighting experience.

To learn how your natural reactions can instantly defeat any unarmed attack, see the video Basic Instincts of Self-Defense.

Defend Against Weapons

Self-Defense: Tools of Attack DVD

To defend against weapons you have to know how they are used. Also—every stick has two ends … the weapon of attack may become a weapon of defense in your hand …

To learn how the typical street weapons (club, knife, razor) are used by an experienced streetfighter and how to practice with them, see the video Self-Defense: Tools of attack—Club, Hatchet, Blackjack, Knife, Straight Razor.

Mental Toughness

Gold Medal Mental Workout - One CD, PDF Book, & mp3/iPod Recordings

Staying cool under pressure is more important for self-defense than being physically fit and technically skilled. If you can’t control your mind what can you control?

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4 Responses to Self-Defense Tip #59 — Bulletproof umbrella?

  1. Ben says:

    I understand that making a normal-looking umbrella bulletproof or stabproof is a fantasy, but how about slashproof?

    After looking for a strong umbrella I came across your website and looked at your telescopic unbreakable umbrella.

    I immediately wondered if you guys have ever thought of strengthening the canopy with a Dyneema like material.

    Dyneema is a dutch product and is used in sails, slash proof gloves and armor worn by law enforcement agencies and the military.

    Have you heard of this material? I would love to see this incorporated in the umbrella design.

    I can imagine someone opening the umbrella as a last resort when confronted by an assailant armed with a knife.

  2. Michael Kern says:

    Cut-tex Pro would be an acceptable slash proof canopy material and should be considered. Also, I have some ideas for bullet resistance I’d like to share.

    • Thomas Kurz says:

      Cut-Tex® PRO has areal density of 447gsm (grams per square meter), which is from six to eight time heavier than normal umbrella fabric. It is too heavy to work with a skeleton of a normal-looking umbrella.


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