Can Leather Armor Stop a Bullet?

My wife and I love DIY leather projects and a few days ago we took on a project on leather armor that started the conversation about whether leather armor can stop a bullet. We research it and it is amazing what we found. So we’ve decided to write this article to share with you what we found out.

So, can leather armor stop a bullet? Yes, leather armor with a metal plate backing can stop a bullet. It will, however, depend on the thickness of the leather and metal sheet backing, the type of gun, and distance or range. Leather armors made this way can be extremely heavy and uncomfortable to wear.

If you want to know all the ins and outs of leather armor, keep on reading!

What you Need to Know About Leather Armor and How it Stops Bullets

Leather armors have been useful from time immemorial. Boiled leather commonly referred by the French word Cuir bouilli was a historical material with a lot of purposes especially during the middle ages and early modern period. The leather was treated in a way that made it tough and rigid. The treatment included predominantly carefully boiling the leather thus the name.

The leather for such a rugged purpose was also called molded leather or hardened leather. There are various recipes designed for the making of boiled leather in order to get that extra toughness in leather. The vegetable-tanned leather came out as the best type of leather to be immersed in boiled water.

Cuir bouilli was used to make armors but wasn’t durable enough to take a direct blow or bullet or gunshot. Because of this, the boiled leather was used for cheap and light armor. Leather armors do a better job with sword slashes especially when it was backed with metal strips, especially on helmets.

Leather armor has also been found to reduce the impact of arrows wound on the wearer.

Today leather armors are more fashionable or fantasy items and have also become very popular in video games. The functional application of leather armors is impractical because to be able to be fully protected with leather armor, it must be made with layers and layers of thick leather or a solid metal backing. With such a thing, we can genuinely say it will be highly uncomfortable and impair mobility.

What are the risks of Using Leather Armor to Stop Bullets?

The risk of wearing leather armor is a yin and yang situation in the sense that it is not an ideal protection gear for our era. Although in the case where armor is well cobbled and backed with metal can do a fairly good job not guaranteed. This is because to be able to make it more practical means making the leather armor less bulky and weighty.

As highlighted in terms of arrows, leather armor will reduce deep penetration but will still retain some level of the piercing.

Leather armors lack padding compared to gambeson and may result in a few broken bones and cracked ribs.

Leather armor is actually cool to wear as a Halloween or fashion fantasy custom.

How to Make A Leather Armor: (Fun Diy Projects)

Video 1: Watch a step by step video on how to make a leather Armor

Video 2: Watch another step by step video on how to make leather armor breastplate and backplate (Cuirass)

Video 3: Watch a step by step video on how to make Shoulder leather armor

Video 4: Watch another step by step video on how to make Shoulder leather armor

Video 5: Watch another step by step video on how to make leather armor vambraces


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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