A ballistic or protection shield helps provide defensive coverage when people expect armed attacks. Manufacturers design them to stop projectiles and bullets from hitting the people behind the protective equipment. Police and SWAT teams use them when approaching dangerous situations.

Details Of Ballistic Shields

Types Of Shields

police holding Ballistic Shield

The National Institute of Justice categorizes ballistic shields by their protective qualities.

  • Level II shields can be made of soft armor and protect against handgun rounds.
  • Level IIIA shields protect against most handguns and some shotguns thanks to their combinations of soft and hard armor.
  • Level III shields provide protection against rifles and some military rounds.
  • Level IV is the highest protection against armor-piercing rounds.

Sizes Of Ballistic Shields

Manufacturers make shields in several sizes and shapes for protection against a variety of threats. Smaller shields offer additional protection when structures and trees are nearby. The smallest shields are 16 x 20 inches and protect vital organs. Because they are small, they are easy to use and keep in a patrol car.

Shields that provide full-body protection measure between 20 x 30 inches and 24 x 48 inches. These are heavier than the smaller shields, but are still lightweight enough to provide mobility.

The largest shields have wheels because they are so heavy. They provide full body and overhead protection against full assaults with powerful weapons. Because they are so large, several officers can hide behind them simultaneously.

Shapes Of Ballistic Shields

group of police holding ballistic shield

Shields have several shapes for a variety of protective advantages. Flat shields are inexpensive and give officers the opportunity to stand side-by-side to link their shields in a horizontal or vertical approach.

For individual protection against angled shots, manufacturers make curved shields. During a barrage of shots, they dissipate the energy more efficiently so users don’t become overly tired while carrying them.

Manufacturers also make rectangular shields in traditional black. Officers carry them with one arm while using their other arm to attack with their own weapons.

During a linear attack, V-shaped shields are effective as the tapered bottom moves fire away from the central portion of the line.

Some shields have dynamic shapes that officers can change based on the approach. They feature an ambidextrous mounting platform with a weapon rest to give officers an open hand to use their firearm.

Materials Used In Ballistic Shields

police holding ballistic shield

Manufacturers use several materials to make shields effective against various rounds. Soft armor is used in tactical blankets or roll-up shields. The lightweight armor fits in patrol cars for quick use. Swat teams and tactical EMS rely on this type of shield.

Level IIIA and Level III shields are made of hard armor for more protection. The full-body shields also fit in patrol vehicles and are lightweight.

Mobile shields usually weigh over 100 pounds because of their heavy-duty hard armor. Because they are large and heavy, they usually stay in place at border crossings, schools, embassies, and other sensitive areas.

Most ballistic shields have clear windows called viewports. They are made of bullet-resistant materials like polycarbonate.

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