Are Ammo Cans Bulletproof?

The regular ammo cans have many uses and can be helpful in a survival situation. The ammo can design allow for various services and improvising in most cases. Although of the military, they come in handy. Many people have wondered if ammo cans could act as a shield. Can the ammo cans bulletproof qualities fortify your defenses in case of attacks?

The answer is maybe to a point.. but most likely no, depending on the situation and mode of application. Some factors will enhance the bulletproof qualities of your ammo cans if well utilized.

Why Ammo Cans Are Not Bulletproof

Many experts still hold the perception that ammo cans are not bulletproof. First, ammo cans design allowed the transport of large ammo in the Cold War era. These cans’ main designs and purposes were to be mobile boxes that aid in the transportation of ammo.

There have been efforts to make the cans stronger, but not strong enough to stop bullets. The ammo cans allow you effortless mobility, as they are light and portable instead. They are also not big enough to shield you since you are a massive target to miss behind the ammo cans as a human.

The qualities of the ammo cans instead focus on making them airtight from moisture. They would act as storage boxes better than any other function. The ammo can’s bulletproof qualities were, however, not a priority.

How Much Can They Take?

According to The Value Guide, ammo cans can withstand pressure. Compared to other regular metal boxes, they are more robust and indestructible. You can use ammo cans as stepping platforms to reach high spots.

However, the qualities of ammo cans cannot stop the pressure from a bullet. Reviews from regular gun users claim that shots can penetrate steel doors. Since ammo cans are the same as steel doors, it is proper to assume that the bullets will penetrate.

The Mythic Scribes forum details that 22LR will penetrate the metals steel door. Ammo cans, therefore, will not be able to hold the bullets that easier. Faster and smaller rounds like the 17HMR will effectively break the walls of your ammo cans.

The ammo cans are, thus, automatically penetrable with larger and more powerful guns. The riffle gun is an example of a firearm that you can use to shatter these boxes with ease. Pistols of 380 ACP and above are an example of powerful firearms that require much force to stop.

Results of Testing… Excluded Bulletproofing

A physical test on American and Chinese Ammo Cans also suggests otherwise.

The team exposed the ammo cans under several physical examinations. Their main aim was to determine their durability and strength. Among the physical tests included light hammering, knife scratching, and needle-nose pliers tests. From the above tests, the team excluded the bulletproof test. The team knew better since it was an obvious conclusion.

The American Black Hawk ammo cans and the Chinese GunMate ammo cans were the primary samples for the tests. They are among the most popular ammo cans you can find in the market. Using them would give a clear picture of other ammo cans’ abilities and effectiveness.

The test results are crucial when gauging your ammo cans’ bulletproof qualities. When hammered lightly, dents were visible on the sides of the ammo cans. The pliers and knife test exposed scratches on the walls of the ammo can. Both the American and the Chinese ammo cans displayed almost similar results.

Heavy hammering was also carried out on these cans. You would expect them to be indestructible. There were significant bends on the sides, which altered the sync of the top edge of the ammo can with the lid.

Can Withstand Pressure… To A Point

The ammo cans also experience crashing when run over with a vehicle. This test was on their ability to withstand a lot of pressure. They made noise, and a u-shaped ammo can was the result after the trial. Ammo cans will crumble under much stress and succumb to the weight of large objects.

Generally, ammo cans can withstand the impact of blunt objects up to a certain level. On the other hand, ammo cans cannot resist bullets. Moreover, bullets travel in high velocities that require thick solid barriers to stop.

Similarly, plastic ammo cans are also not able to stop bullets from going through. Metals are denser than plastics, which makes the penetration of the bullets easy. Bullets are more likely to make it through your plastics cans compared to the metal ones.

How to Make Ammo Cans Bulletproof

There are specific steps that you can take to use ammo cans as shields for bullets. But you have to keep in mind their limits. The ammo cans work in different ways, which makes it possible to achieve a shielding effect. However, you need to consider the intended use. Ammo cans are for storage and transportation, where body armor is for stopping bullets (depending on its NIJ level).

If you still want to evaluate using ammo cans, here are some examples:

Filling the Ammo Cans With Gravel and Sand

Filling your ammo cans with sand is a sure way to achieve a shielding effect. Gravel and sand can stop bullets effectively. Stacking sand in sandbags and rocks was vital in war to protect soldiers.

Combining the sand and the metal walls of the ammo cans dramatically reduces the force of bullets. This combination will provide you with an impenetrable barrier. The ammo can even stop your most potent guns when filled with gravel.

Several tests prove the shielding effect of ammo cans. If in doubt, you can also try to test since it is straightforward to carry out. Just ensure it is safely done at a range with no one behind the ammo cans. You will then determine the ability of your ammo cans to stop bullets.

For better results, you can use various firearms to gain a better outlook of the results. When testing, never place a person or animal/test subject in the line of fire.

Stacking The Ammo Cans Together

Another way to increase your ammo cans’ ability to stop bullets is by stacking them side by side. As usual, tests are there to back up the established claims. By stacking these cans side by side, you will notice that bullets will not penetrate.

To experience the intended results, you have to stack up to 10 ammo cans alongside each other. Shooting through the ammo cans can help you determine the ability of your cans to stop bullets. To effectively caution against any gunshots, you need to have a ton of these ammo cans arranged. Again, never place a person or animal/any test subject in the line of fire.

The average number of ammo cans that the bullets can penetrate will range from four to seven cans. You are also likely to make the same conclusion after using various firearms. Stacking them vertically, however, will not make them impenetrable.


Ammo cans cannot stop bullets. A bulletproof vest or shield would be better suited to do the job for you. However, if you have tons of ammo cans that you can spare, you can try to use them. The method of sand filling and stacking can prove to be very economical and efficient. A barrier of sand-filled ammo cans is the best way you can try to improvise.

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