Bullet Proof Plastic

Can 3D Printing Stand Up To Bullets?


You’ve heard of 3D printed guns. But did you ever think about protect yourself from bullets using a 3D printer? A video uploaded to 3D Hubs shares some interesting results.

Eric, from Isele Bros. 3D printing, begins the video below with: “Ever since the invention of 3D printers, people have been trying to print guns, but the real question is: can you use 3D printers to block bullets?”


To test out the use of 3D printing materials, Eric enlists the help of a retired and engineer, Terry Young, to help find out if there is a particularly good material to stop a real bullet.

To give themselves a challenge, they chose to fire 9mm bullets with full metal jackets, 115 grain standard loads from a Beretta or a CC75.

As well as this, they decided to stand just 14 or 15 feet away to make sure they could get center on the blocks of material.

Before doing a full material review, a quick test in Terry Young’s basement was done where they used an air rifle to shoot at a 3D printed block.

As the results from this looked promising, they went ahead with the testing and decreased the thickness of the block while increasing the thickness of the bullet.

What Were the Results of their Tests?

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They decided to use two blocks which were both about 1.5cm thick. They were both printed at 300 micro layer height in ABS and PLA.

Their results found that their ABS block failed with complete penetration of the bullet. The PLA block of the same measurements also failed the test.

They also tested the durability of a plastic with a 0.177 caliber air rifle and with the smaller bullet the plastic block, an even thinner PLA was able to hold up.

Eric said in conclusion: “Thicker pieces of 3D printed plastics can hold up to air rifles and your air guns but when you print them thinner they cannot hold up to your 9mm fire arms.”

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You can check out their findings in the spreadsheet above (link here) for the results. Watch the video below if you are interested to see how the plastics held up for yourself.