It’s a classic activity movie scene: the poor guys or cops space at the door. The protagonist ducks behind a wall, flips end a table for cover, and hunkers down for a shootout. But will those tactics occupational in reality?

Thankfully, the net is complete of firearm enthusiasm who have actually filmed themselves shooting pretty lot every imaginable object. For this reason it’s not hard to find out what works for cover and also what doesn’t. This overview curates all of that experimentation onto one page.

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The bad news is that there isn’t lot in your home that will reliably stop a random bullet. There are plenty of methods to conceal yourself, but not plenty of ways to cover yourself.

So unless you’re in something purpose-built, such together a scare room, your best bet is to an initial avoid the danger, and if girlfriend can’t, put on difficult body armor hosted in a bowl carrier. If friend hear a bump in the night, throw it on prior to you walk stumbling about.

It’s also good to know how different materials host up to gunfire in situation you require to defend yourself near innocent bystanders. Imagine, because that example, the you have to shoot an intruder coming up her stairs — however your boy is sleeping on the various other side of the wall surface where you’d aim towards.

More: simple ways to harden her home versus intruders and also beginner’s guide to guns


Most family members objects won’t reliably stop a bullet.Bullets easily puncture most walls, doors, and also floors.However, brick, concrete, and also cinder blocks properly stop most common calibers. However each bullet takes out chunks, therefore it can only defend you for so long.A full water heater can efficiently stop at the very least handgun rounds.Stacks of record are surprisingly an excellent at preventing bullets.Trees are very effective.The finest place to take cover behind a vehicle is behind the engine block and also wheel. Bullets quickly penetrate other locations of the car, consisting of the door.
By far the ideal place to take cover behind a car

A rapid note ~ above calibers

Some ammo might bounce turn off a wall surface while another type punches appropriate through it. Normally speaking, rifles and also shotgun slugs are harder to prevent than pistols and also buckshot. That’s why you shot to wear difficult armor, which can stop almost everything, instead of soft armor that just stops pistols.

When this guide refers to shotguns, that’s mainly 12 and 20 gauge. As soon as referencing pistols, it method common calibers including:

.25 ACP.380 Auto9mm.40 S&W.45 ACP

Rifle includes:

.22 LR.223 / 5.56.308.30-066.5 Creedmoor

Most wall surfaces don’t avoid bullets, yet brick is best

Most newer residences are constructed of the cheapest possible materials, prefer vinyl siding and drywall. It would take a thick ridge of those materials to provide cover.


Even a humble .22 penetrates multiple great of drywall:

Matt Risinger teamed up through Mythbusters veteran Tory Belleci to shoot a few target walls made of typical structure materials choose drywall, OSB lumber, and also cement board. Even little calibers like .22 punched right through. The sections with studs (2×4 wood boards that structure the wall) captured a couple of smaller rounds, but in a real-life scenario, that only provides you around 1.5 inches of protection.

They experiment filling walls v sand and stacking bags that concrete behind them, which worked, yet isn’t precisely something you can whip up in a hurry. They likewise built a special wall that stops most bullets, which you could want to inspect out if you have actually a custom house built.

But there’s great news if your home is brick. The males at ring Down range shot numerous rounds at brick walls, and also brick is surprisingly good at avoiding bullets. Brick stopped all handgun ring plus armor-piercing 5.56 NATO rounds, .308, and even a shotgun slug. Impressive!

That said, every round takes the end a chunk the wall, therefore the wall surface would only host up so lengthy if it to be sustaining heavy gunfire.

The great here: to buy brick. Or possibly concrete. YouTuber d1bottch shoot a block of concrete v multiple rounds, and also it hosted up an excellent until it to be hit by an SKS, and also that was after that had already taken number of shots.

The males at Eagle home builders shot your insulated concrete panels v different powerful rounds, and also they all hosted up well. However unlike the video above, they didn’t shoot each tile repeatedly.

Cinder block are greatly hollow, so you’d mean them to be pretty poor for bullet defense. However Brayden v Langley outdoors Academy shot cinder blocks v a 9mm, AR-15, and also a shotgun v 00 buckshot, and the blocks quit both 9mm and 5.56 rounds. However, the buckshot broke the cinder block in half.

Don’t counting on doors to prevent bullets

Most internal doors space hollow and made native the cheapest materials. Some interior doors room made from cardboard. So those clear won’t protect you native gunfire.

But what about sturdier exterior doors make of solid hardwood or metal? Unfortunately, lock not lot better. Edwin Sarkissian shoot several various exterior doors, including heavy commercial doors, and a common 9mm punched best through every one of them, and also even multiple doors at once.

So uneven you understand you’re behind an armored door, nothing hide there!

Tables and other furniture don’t work-related well

It’s a common activity movie trope to see someone flip end a table and crouch behind it for cover. Unfortunately, it just won’t work in genuine life. BuzzFeed took to the gun selection to shoot family members objects, and also a 9mm blasted right through a solid wood table. A recliner fared also worse due to the fact that most modern-day living room chairs and couches aren’t much an ext than fabric and also air.

What around a mattress? Paul Harrell tested a movie myth where the heroes stand up a mattress ~ above its edge for a shield. Also a relatively weak .25 ACP punched right through.

But when Paul put the mattress down level (as it would be if girlfriend were resting on it), the turned into a surprisingly efficient bullet block. Many rounds got through, yet the mattress stopped countless smaller-caliber rounds, consisting of .410 shotgun shells (fired indigenous a Taurus referee pistol). Yet if you’re being shot in ~ by one AR-15, forget it. In fact, the springs within the mattress can fragment the bullets and make points worse.

Appliances don’t prevent bullets

Indiana Jones made it through a atom blast by hiding in a fridge, yet could a modern refrigerator safeguard you indigenous a typical bullet? Edwin Sarkissian shot through 7 refrigerator doors through an AR-15. Castle don’t make them favor they provided to.

But it is an AR-15. What about a 9mm? It only went through 4 refrigerators. That’s no surprising provided that most modern-day refrigerators are mostly made from slim metal, plastic, and styrofoam.

Don’t mean much better from a washer or dryer, i m sorry again room made of slim sheet metal. Jeb Slack shot at 4 washing machines with a variety of calibers. The second machine stopped 9mm and also .45 ACP rounds, so hiding behind a washer and also dryer might save you. The took 3 washing makers to avoid an AR-15.

Your ideal bet on the appliance end might be to take cover behind a full hot water heater. This is a guy putting numerous rounds that 9mm into a complete hot water heater and also not a solitary round made it through. The steel is pretty thin, yet the water made the difference.

Don’t hide behind the toilet

Don’t stroked nerves hiding behind a toilet. You’ll just die embarrassed. Spencer Rands of ASDI shot ceramic toilets with numerous rounds, and they wrong like, well, ceramic. Also worse, the result explosion sprays shards that ceramic shrapnel.

We couldn’t find videos of shooting a bathtub, but given that common bathtubs are made from thin plastic this days, us wouldn’t count on that either. Maybe a cast iron tub?

Cast iron skillet

Sometimes girlfriend see world in movie deflecting bullets with a cast-iron skillet. In the video clip game PUBG, you deserve to wield a actors iron skillet to bust skulls and block bullets. It renders sense. ~ all, cast iron is pretty tough.

Unfortunately, even a 9mm pistol can conveniently blast a hole with a cast-iron skillet. However, two skillets can stop pistol rounds, so do with the what you will.

A actors iron tub might carry out the project if it to be positioned so you could hide behind it, especially if you could fill it with water.

Books and also thick stacks of document work well

Paper does a an excellent job of protecting against bullets. ASDI’s Spencer Rands shot the 4,000-page 2013 IRS tax code and found that it easily stopped handgun rounds, even though rifle rounds prefer .308 pierced it, together did a 12-gauge shotgun slug.

You won’t find numerous civilian rounds an ext powerful 보다 a .50 BMG. The guys from Demolition Ranch shot boxes that printer record at close selection with a .50 BMG, and amazingly, it simply took 2 boxes of record to deflect the bullet. The pierced the very first box, fight the second, and also then exited the next of the second box.

So if a deranged gunman is chasing you, perhaps the finest place to hide is a brick library.

Trees prevent bullets

(Please don’t shoot tree without a great reason!) many hunters and also country marksmen recognize that trees room pretty bullet resistant, yet just exactly how much have the right to they take? top Shot Dustin shot whole litany the calibers in ~ a jaw tree to discover out. As an extra nice touch, he placed a ballistics gel torso behind the tree to watch how much the bullets would penetrate a body if any type of made that through.

The just caliber he might get come pierce the tree and enter the torso was .50 BMG, and at a reasonably close distance. Also then, he had to placed the torso ideal up versus the tree to attain penetration. This is a good test, since pine is a softwood, so no as sturdy as a hardwood prefer oak, and also the tree trunk had actually a reasonably small diameter — just broad enough to hide behind.

Kentucky Ballistics tried to reduced a tree down v a full-auto AR-15. He at some point gave up and also used one axe.

Some parts of cars prevent bullets

Vehicles room generally good for bullet cover — class of metal are much better than most other alternatives — however it problem which part of the vehicle you duck behind, and also you don’t desire to it is in behind a car if friend have better choices.

Tactical Life describes a DEA maintain exercise using a car:

In a DEA training tape made number of years ago, members the that company take a four-door sedan out to a secluded variety and, ~ placing 2 cardboard targets under the prior dashboard area that the driver’s side and another simulating a crouched doubt in the backseat floor area, commenced shoot the vehicle full the holes. The barrage tape-recorded on tape is not from simply one agent or gun yet pretty much every pistol and also long gun accessible to DEA agents at the time: 9mm pistols, .357 revolvers, shotguns with buckshot and also slugs, 9mm carbines and 5.56mm AR carbines. The vehicle was shot native the passenger side and also straight on indigenous the front.

Although the tires room flattened and also virtually every square inch of the automobile has a hole in it, the auto starts and also the instructor deserve to drive away (limp far is more than likely a better way to define it). Yet the impressive thing: once both targets room checked, neither have any hits.

Impressive, yet not all cars are made equal. Many civilization have perform ballistics test on cars, with blended results. 704 Tactical shot at a sedan and even some 9mm ring passed through the car doors.

Some say the a windshield have the right to deflect bullets, but TheFireArmGuy experiment it out, and also we wouldn’t usage a windshield for cover.

Paul Harrell demonstrates how windshields deserve to sometimes take it the energy out of little arms fire, but again, it’s no something you must rely on.

FieldCraft survival shot up a car and also found that the many reliable area to take it cover is behind the engine block. The pillars hosted up well to small arms fire, but nothing endured the engine block.

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Many professionals will call you the the pure best locations on a auto to take it cover space behind the engine block and also wheels. For this reason if you find yourself having to take cover behind a vehicle, place yourself behind the engine block, in former of the wheels. The engine block will protect your top body if the wheel (and axle) will defend your reduced body.