With violent crime posing a serious risk in society today, the police, military and civilians require appropriate protection against ballistic threats. Shields are one of the oldest forms of defence and have greatly evolved in recent years thanks to state-of-the-art ballistic technology. An alternative to ballistic vests, ballistic shields offer much greater coverage without compromising on the level of protection and are quick and simple to deploy at a moment’s notice. What do you need to know before purchasing a shield and where can you find a ballistic shield for sale?
Who can use a tactical ballistic shield?
Tactical shields for police and military personnel
A ballistic shield for law enforcement, SWAT and military officers is suitable for both offensive and defensive operations, such as serving high-risk warrants and during riots or shootings. It also provides excellent protection against other threats such as bricks, bottles or liquids. However, it is vital to remember that a riot shield is not the same as a ballistic shield and will not defend you from high-velocity projectiles.
Ballistic shields for civilians
Ballistic shields are a good choice of armour for private citizens, as they can quickly be used in a dangerous situation and allow the victim to retreat and defend themselves. Most civilian encounters with an active shooter involve close-range shots from a handgun. With this in mind, it is important to purchase a civilian ballistic shield with a suitable protection level against this ammunition and which is light enough to manoeuvre.
What types of ballistic shields are there?
There are three main categories of ballistic shield:
- Handheld shields: these shields are designed to be held with one hand, allowing the user to wield a weapon simultaneously and use them in a confined space such as a vehicle. Most civilian ballistic shields belong to this category.
- Handheld shields with trolley: larger, heavier shields which can be mounted onto a trolley provide greater protection at the expense of mobility.
- Special shields: these ballistic shields are designed for specific situations – for example, with a ladder incorporated into their structure or a foldable defence which can be packed into a bag.
What do you need to consider when buying a ballistic shield?
Ballistic shields are available in a range of shapes, sizes and materials depending on their intended use, and there are several criteria you should think about to make the right purchase.
- Shape: most ballistic shields are flat, rectangular plates. Other shapes are also available, including curved shields that provide better side protection, shields with a tapered bottom, and flexible shields which can be unfolded and adjusted to the space you are in.
- Features: shields are equipped with handles or straps suitable for left/right handed and ambidextrous wearers. If you plan to carry your shield for a long period of time, consider purchasing one with high-density forearm pads which add extra comfort and protection against injury. Also consider whether or not you need an armoured viewport (a clear window built into the shield).
- Size: the most common size for a bullet proof shield is between 20 x 30 inches and 24 x 36 inches. Full-length shields are also available, some of which are designed to protect one or more people.
- Weight: it is vital to evaluate the weight of the shield in comparison to the protection level it provides. Shields with a higher level of protection tend to be heavier, making them more tiring and difficult to wield in an active shooter situation.
- Material: as with ballistic vests, ballistic shields are made from materials such as Kevlar, ceramic or polyethylene. Depending on the protection level required you can choose soft shields (less protection but lighter, more easily stored and transported) or hard armour (heavier but provides maximum protection). ballistic shields are also available in transparent materials such as polyurethane.
- Protection level: the National Institute of Justice has devised a body armour classification system based on specific ballistic threats, ranging from Level IIA – Level IV. At the low level ballistic shields can protect civilians from .9mm ammunition travelling at 1,225 ft/s, and at the top level a ballistic shield can withstand a .30 calibre M2 AP bullet travelling at 2,880 ft/s. Learn more about the NIJ protection levels here.
Where can I find a ballistic shield for sale?
At Battlesteel we offer our own line of tactical ballistic shields and count military, police and private citizens among our customers. Whether you’re looking for a small, handheld shield to defend yourself at home, or a heavy-duty Level III shield with a viewport, browse our website today for top-quality tactical defence equipment.