For the White Collar Commando: A Ballistic-Shield Briefcase

Photograph by Jake Hamm/LuckyPix/Corbis

The office just doesn’t do this leather briefcase justice. With a snap of the wrist, the Kevlar-enforced tote opens up into a ballistic shield that will protect against handgun rounds up to .44 Magnum and against 9mm submachine gun rounds. Made by China’s Leison Global, it costs $479 and might make you feel a little more like Captain America.

Bloomberg Businessweek interviewed Ben Saleh, chief operating officer of US21, a ballistic-protection-product supplier in Fairfax, Va., about this badass man bag.

Why make a ballistic shield into a briefcase?
More like turning your briefcase into a ballistic shield. There are three aramid (Kevlar) soft armor panels on both sides of the briefcase (and one in the middle) rated at NIJ Level IIIA. Level IIIA ballistic protection will stop most handgun rounds up to .44 Magnum. It will also stop 9mm submachine gun rounds. This briefcase will not stop high-velocity rifle rounds, like from an AK-47.

Is it a style thing?
I wouldn’t say it is a style thing. It is more of a personal-protection-to-preserve-life thing.

How heavy is it?
Around 4 pounds empty.

Who needs one of these?
This bag would be used by businessmen and women working in austere environments—think parts of Mexico, Afghanistan, etc., where there is a chance they could come under attack or get caught in the crossfire. I would think people working for the government, doing clandestine operations, could have a use for this briefcase.

How long does it take to open 180 degrees? How does that work?
One to two seconds to open to 180 degrees. When the briefcase is closed, it is held together by Velcro and the briefcase handles. Let go of one handle and snap your wrist and the briefcase turns into a ballistic shield.

What’s the coolest thing about it?
It is a functional briefcase that can save your life.

Can you really use it as a briefcase?
There are pockets for folders, tablets, files, and whatever else people put in their briefcase. You could fit a thin laptop in the briefcase if you wanted to.

This interview was conducted by e-mail.