Safe room? How bullet resistant is multiple layered drywall?

Safe room? How bullet resistant is multiple layered drywall?

This is a discussion on Safe room? How bullet resistant is multiple layered drywall? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This thread asked an interesting question regarding home defense or as in a safe room: http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/...ml#post2691490 The "Box O Truth" guy did one similar but ...

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Thread: Safe room? How bullet resistant is multiple layered drywall?

  1. #1
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    Safe room? How bullet resistant is multiple layered drywall?

    This thread asked an interesting question regarding home defense or as in a safe room:
    Anyone know how much drywall a typical handgun round will penetrate?

    The "Box O Truth" guy did one similar but he shot through separated pieces of drywall, the OP of the thread above asked the question regarding multiple stacked (or layered) pieces. No air gaps.

    It just happens that I had some scrap 1/2 inch pieces and cut some up in squares and stacked them together as if they were a deck of cards. I had a total of 17 pieces, which would measure about 8 1/2 inches thick total. Also note that due to odd drywall scrap sizes the top two pieces were not used in the test for the .22, .380, or the 9mm

    The first picture shows the "entrance wounds" on the drywall from 5 different pistol calibers:
    .22, Federal long rifle, 40 grain solid nose
    .380, Remington, 95 grain FMJ RN
    9mm, Winchester range/practice ammo, 115 grain FMJ RN
    .40, Winchester range/practice ammo, 165 grain FMJ FN
    .45, Winchester range/practice ammo, 230 grain FMJ RN

    I like all of ya'll just fine, but I'm not shootin up my good stuff for this test
    Note, I shot the .40 twice, it was a bit too close to the edge and I fired a second shot deeper in the stack to be sure.

    The second picture are the "exit wounds" to the drywall.
    The 9mm zipped through 15 pieces (remember it started at the third piece of the stack. It went fairly deep in the moist soft dirt, I didn't bother in digging it out.
    Both .40's zipped through the full 17 piece stack and deep into the dirt below, I was especially impressed.

    The third picture reveals what was found within the stack.
    The .45 was found embedded in the 15th piece. BTW the bullet looked rather undamaged/undeformed
    The .22 and .380 were both embedded in the 12th piece, the .380 almost made it to the 13th piece.

    I don't know how many pieces you'd need to completely stop the .40? Layering a safe room with drywall might require 20-30 layers! It would be pretty resistant to fire, but not so much to gunfire. Plywood or OSB would likely be a lot better, but I would sandwich it in between drywall to make it more fire resistant.

    In conclusion there are a lot of building materials that one could choose from and the level of efficiency and price of them will vary as well. I'm not advocating anything in particular, I just enjoy an impromptu test occasionally, I actually have an old thread here, where we shot a cast iron bathtub with various calibers. That's some tough stuff !!!
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    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.


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    Member Array F350_6's Avatar
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    Interesting photos and results. Pictures always make these kinds of posts that much better. I can think of much better things than 9" of drywall to stop a bullet, but ballistics tests are always fun anyway.

    What length barrel was used for each caliber? I'd be interested to see if a different length barrel changed the results any (ie 3" vs 5")

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    Thanks.

    I should have gotten that info, and I've already sacked them up and put away, not exactly the info you asked but:
    .22 was a remington pump rifle
    .380 was an LCP
    9mm was a PPS
    .40 was a Sig 229
    .45 was a XDs
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...these two threads have taught this old man a thing or three about what's enough to stop something...thanks for your research...

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    VIP Member Array Madcap_Magician's Avatar
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    Drywall is essentially porous to bullets. Layers of offset ceramic tile are heavily bullet resistant, though.
    Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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    For a safe room, I think there are better choices than a whole stack of sheetrock... ppkheat just validated that.

    I did some quick calculations and lining two 8'x8' walls with 1/4 inch cold-rolled steel would run about $2500 for materials, but would offer better protection from bullets than 8 inches of dry wall. It would also be a lot lighter for supporting structure.

    If someone is really curious, they could research "bullet resistant materials" and find a wealth of info on useful stuff to use for a safe room.
    Smitty
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    NROI Chief Range Officer

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    Senior Member Array beni's Avatar
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    It would be interesting to see how much a bullet can penetrate a mattress. As my bedroom is my safe room and I would most likely be using my mattress as cover or concealment depending on how much a bullet will penetrate.

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    VIP Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I saw a test where someone built a dummy wall and filled the hollow space with sand. they decided that a 2x6 wall filled with sand was pretty good protection at a reasonable price. I believe they also had 1/2" ply on the inside to attach shelving too. It stopped the pistol rounds and shattered the high velocity ones. DR

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    Member Array Aquaman's Avatar
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    I had a buddy who owned a check cashing service, he built the wall that divided employees from customers out of 2x4's that were stacked together the 3.5" way with 1/2" plywood and 1/2" drywall on the inside and the outside making the wall 5.5" thick. When it was all finished you couldn't tell that it was a fortified wall. It's been a while back so I can't recall what he shot at the wall to check for penetration. Sounds like another test for someone out there.

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    next to my work my buddy has his own granite business (makes granite counter tops for bathrooms kitchens) and we cut the sink holes out for him with our water jet and i take the cutout pieces out and shoot them, standard size sink varys but 1 3/4 to 2 inch thinck granite and measures 2 feet 9" x 2 feet will hold up to like 6 or 7 shots from glock 23 40cal target ammo standing about 7 yards away, the smaller rounded pieces say like 1'x1' i shot like 20-30 rounds with 40 cal and 9mm and it never broke. i was surprised how tough granite pieces are.

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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Good info! It gives me some further ideas.
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Very good information and a great thought provoking post.

    I have two safe rooms. One has gun safes in it. The oter is a 14 X 8 walk-in closet that has been converted to being a room for ammo, shooting accessories and use as a room in case of storm, home invasion or whatever. It is a normal rom with sheetrock walls but I overlayed the sheetrock with 5/8 inch exterior plywood and then another payer of 1/2 inch sheetrock. It has a double dead bolt lock on the solid core door that cannot be kicked in since it opens outward.

    Every house needs to have a safe room for a multitude of reasons and the OP of this thread did a great service in bringing this out.
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    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    Very good information and a great thought provoking post.
    Thanks, it was actually "fun" to do, I wish I had more time to do stuff like that. I might do some more tests every now and then? How about a test to see how many layers of "drawers" it would take to stop a .40?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    It has a double dead bolt lock on the solid core door that cannot be kicked in since it opens outward..
    How about the hinge pins on that door, are they accessible to being knocked out?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    Every house needs to have a safe room for a multitude of reasons and the OP of this thread did a great service in bringing this out.
    I built my house in the mid-80's and I wish that "safe rooms" would have come to my mind back then. They would make a good spot to head during a storm, panic, and a great place to store "important stuff". Any safe room ought to have some multiple layers of sheetrock to help it in a fire as well. Thanks again.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array onacoma's Avatar
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    Fiberglass Panels - Bullet Resistant

    If you want to line your safe room with something, this is what we're using at the PD on walls at the range waiting area:

    Bullet Resistant Fiberglass | Bullet Proof Glass | Armortex, INC

    NOT CHEAP, but will stop a bullet!


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    Of those that made it through, it would be interesting to know the exiting velocity. I wonder if cement board would add more resistance. It is more dense, but not sure that equates to slowing the bullet more.

    That fiberglass posted by onacoma looks nice...probably have to double up sheets and overlap unless there is another way to reinforce the seams. I may have to check those out.

    I am not only interested in such walls for intruders...actually more so for tornadoes. We have a basement, but you can still come out looking like you hid in a blender.

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