Retrofitting Civilian Vehicles with Ballistics Armor for Combat and IED Survival

Retrofitting Civilian Vehicles with Ballistics Armor to Survive Firefights and IED BlastsUS Crow

In light of the recent Boston Marathon Bombing our contributors have been tasked to develop terrorism counter-measures. Fortunately our readers know strategic survival and tactical operating skills is kind of our thing. In this portion of the CMF online survival manual we will outline some parameters civilians and militia members can take to retrofit their vehicles with ballistics armor.  

This armor does not represent assured protection when the shit hits the fan if you don’t independently perfect your armor retrofitting techniques. That’s if you can’t get a hold of an MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected vehicle), in which case you’re relatively good to go, carry on…

Learning from the Boston Marathon Bombing

Attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing are predicted to increase in the coming years, an unfortunate result of allowing the rise of radical Islam throughout the civilized world. IED blast protection (however difficult) should rank paramount in your survival and prepper techniques…

You can install the armor discretely in your everyday vehicle but your protection would be intermediate at best. Diligent survivalists and preppers have BOVs (bug out vehicles)adequately stocked and ready for evacuation to a secondary location. However, the typical BOV isn’t adequately protected against attacks, attacks that could easily render your totally kick-ass jeep useless.

IEDs Improvised Explosive Devices

IEDs are incredibly easy to make and they are the predominant cause of death to service members serving in the Middle East. In 2012, the number of IEDs that were cleared or detonated rose to 16,554 from 15,225, an increase of 9%. For this reason you should read the Army Programmatic Environmental Assessment of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Program – Unclassified: Dist A Approved for Public Release.

Realistic Counter-Measures

Let’s be realistic, the average American doesn’t have much money or time to invest in a project such as this. Pool resources and share time with others in your survival group. Seek additional resources by eliminating what can be easily considered a want rather than a need. You can find most of these materials online or in scrap yards. Typically the only difference is convenience and financial cost. Most people don’t have the money to pay for FK6 (frag kit six) Armor. Improvise with time and financing. Stay within your means!

ABOVs Armored But Out Vehicles

ABOVs require team work; work with your survival group using older vehicles (throw away vehicles) for ballistics testing while improving upon your ABOV design.  Your design should be based on your bug out vehicle, and fortunately there are several to choose from online. You can purchase a Monster M35A2 6X6 Cargo Truck for around $10,000 on eBay. More expensive models include; the UNICAT EVS (expeditionary vehicle system) , Earth Roamer XV-LT, and vehicles retrofitted by companies like Armor Works.

In the absence of used military grade or expensive bug out vehicles, civilian SUVs (sport utility vehicles) can be converted to an ABOV. Suburbans, Tahoes, Expeditions and other SUVs are diverse with a reasonable fuel range. SUV ABOVs should have 4 wheel drive, a roof rack, aggressive tires (super swamper), locking or limited slip differentials, rising suspension, an adequate motor and a lift kit. Having a mechanic in your survival group is never a bad idea… Suggested reading: New Israeli Tactical Vehicle

ABOV Ballistics

Ideally the ABOV should be capable of accommodating layered ballistics panels constructed from the inside out. The most readily available plates include; ¼” ballistics steel capable of withstanding. 308 and 7.62 x 51 rounds, ½” ballistics steel capable of withstanding .3006 armor piercing and .30 M2 AP rounds, and ceramic plates capable of withstanding shrapnel blasts when layered appropriately.

How to Make Ballistics Plates

You can purchase ballistic steel from companies like Steel ForgeLeecoSteel (military spec a46100 armor steel plate) or you can make your own. One method includes lots of cotton sheets, polyester resin and fiberglass resin. Lay 10 sheets on top of one another and compress them using a press or a bowling ball. Once compressed, saturate the sheets with the polyester resin, and then repeat these steps until you have 50 sheets compressed to be ¾” thick.

In between each 10 compressed sheet sets you can add steel plates to create your desired thickness above ¾”.  After the materials dry, seal the plates and resin hardened fabric with the fiberglass resin, after 4 hours add an additional coat of fiberglass resin. Whether making steel plates or ordering them from a vendor, plates should be cut to size and dimension according to the SUV’s doors, frame, and floorboards.

You can use an inexpensive method to make high-carbon steel plates. Simply heat your ¾” steel plate until it becomes red hot. Dip the plate in fresh or salt water* to immediately cool (this causes a steam reaction). Clean the steel once cooled. Now, heat the steel again (this tempers the steel), now dip the plate in used motor oil or water with oil deposits to cool. Clean the steel plate. Now you have high-carbon steel.

SUV ABOV Retrofitting

The first thing you will need to do is disassemble or strip your vehicle, removing all non-essential parts such as; sound system, radio, carpet, amenities and etc.. SUV manuals are available online to assist in the disassembling process. SUV interiors and door panels can be removed relatively easy. Again, a mechanic is your friend. Steel plates will need to be spot welded or riveted in place according to predetermined placements. Weak spots or breaches in your ABOVs should be addressed with the proper application of additional plates.

Daily use or family vehicles should be equipped with enough steel plating while not restricting the installation of interior panels. This is important for the vehicle to blend in with other civilian vehicles. In addition, you can laminate daily use vehicles’ windows with ballistic resistant laminates purchased from companies like Norva Plastics. It should be stated this does not afford daily use vehicles with true IED protection but it’s definitely an improvement.

4 thoughts on “Retrofitting Civilian Vehicles with Ballistics Armor for Combat and IED Survival

  1. This is too much for me. I’ll cross my fingers and dodge the IEDs like I do the potholes. There’s nothing you can do to protect the tires anyway, so a broken bottle can stop the vehicle as effectively as an IED.

    I also disagree with the premise that heat-treating steel turns it into “high-carbon steel”, which is a result of it’s original formula when it’s produced. (by adding more carbon to the molten iron) I believe the technique the author is describing here is known as “quench hardening.”

  2. Hey all,I dont know anything about armouring up a vehicle but I do know a little PAINT in a balloon thrown against their WINDOWS (tanks APC etc)
    Will blind the driver ,some may have little cameras to see with, these are easily blinded also , a tarp dropped onto windshields will do the same or used motor oil.I think we are over thinking their capabilities and need to look at their weak spots IE shut off their vision and they have to come on out of their hidey steel beast ,pits, logs ,tractors all can be used to block routes.

  3. Dont forget thermite/thermate. it can be made at home using simple processes. once the thermate pierces the body of the vehicle, follow up with
    combustible liquid and burn the sum-bitches out/dead.

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