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Posts Tagged ‘bullet resistant’


“Testing a CEB (compressed earth block) wall for the ability to withstand small arms fire with an AK-47, 223 and a 45-70 Gov”

The video is rather shaky, but it does help validate what we’ve been saying here for the last few years – that compressed earth, especially when combined with gravel, has very good bullet resistance. This includes all categories of compressed earth: CEBs, earthbag, rammed earth or the EarthCo Megablock system (giant machined compressed blocks).

Related blog posts:
Earthbag Survival Shelter Plans (use the built-in search engine at Earthbag House Plans to find other shelters, forts, etc.
All house plan orders include a free copy of my Earthbag Building Guide ebook.
How to Build a Survival Shelter: article in Survivalist magazine.
Bullet Resistance of Compressed Earth
Bullet Resistance of Gravel
Bullet Resistance of Sandbags
Impact Testing Compressed Earth with Blackpowder Cannon

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What’s the most effective way to provide bullet resistance for your home? Here’s a field trial test of Joel Skousen’s gravel wall system.

Compare the bullet resistance of this system to:
Sand bags
Compressed earth
Impact testing compressed earth by black powder cannon

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DT1 Force Protection System

DT1 Force Protection System


I found this system on the Internet yesterday. It doesn’t apply to most earthbag builders, but I’m including it here since we try to cover everything related to building with bags. It is a little interesting and could be a springboard to making something similar. The following text is from the DT1 website.

“Weighing only 9.5 lbs, the DT1 Force Protection System is ideal for man portable protection in remote locations. A packaged DT1 takes up roughly the same amount of space as a full sandbag, and is capable of producing a 24 inch deep, 16 foot long wall that protects against small arms fire up to 14.5mm or .50 caliber and near-miss artillery. The DT1 stands 20 inches tall and is stackable up to three units high for even greater levels of protection.

When filled with granular fill (earth, sand or rocks), the DT1 produces expedient defensive fighting positions, small bunkers, tent compartmentalization and other field fortifications. The 100% textile construction mitigates the risk of secondary fragmentation and radio frequency interference. The DT1 requires minimal preparation to deploy, and is designed to conform to sloped or uneven surfaces. Units can be quickly filled by hand and compacted by foot.”

DT1 Force Protection System

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Earthco Building Systems, Inc. performed some interesting bullet resistance tests on their compressed earth Megablocks. Their website says they used 50 caliber BMG armor piercing military ammunition. Densely compacted earthbag walls made with subsoil would likely have comparable results. Maybe someone with a rifle and spare time could conduct a similar test on earthbags. Please email me and I will provide a few suggestions.

Test results using 50 caliber bullets on an unprotected 8 month old wall that received 10” of rain:
– 5-1/2” – 7” penetration
– 10” penetration with two 50 caliber rounds fired into the same hole
– 5 shots in 6” circle without full penetration on 18” thick walls
– little to no cracking

More videos and information at Earthco Building Systems, Inc. website.

Bullet Resistance of Sandbags

Update and clarification from Larry Williamson of Earthco Megablock:

Gentlemen please let me clarify — Owen you made a slight miss- association error — On our website we state we have tested our Megablocks against armor piercing rounds but in this video we are not using “US military issue armor piercing ammo”. An easy assumption to make.

In this particular video we used 50 cal “BMG” 661 grain Full Metal Jacket over a stainless steel core — muzzle velocity of 3100 fps and delivering 12,400 foot pounds of energy. Let’s not get off track here. The important thing is that an 18″ thick natural earth wall (just soil and water — no cement or lime stabilizer) absorbed over 86,000 foot pounds of energy and remained structurally intact.

I would expect earthbag walls to perform with similar results — perhaps a little more penetration due to less density— but vastly superior to timber frame, CMU or ICF construction and the same ammo.

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