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In situations where the chances of armed resistance are high, special forces and tactical operators need to have the appropriate body armor equipment to help neutralize the threat. Ballistic shields are mainly used in these intense situations; especially during high-risk warrants, riots, active shooters, and other dangerous circumstances.
It’s important to note that a ballistic shield is NOT the same as a riot shield. Riot shields will mainly protect against low-velocity fragmentations, splash hazards, and other projectiles such as bricks and bottles. A ballistic shield is designed to protect against gunfire and projectiles that are thrown at or toward SWAT and tactical officers.
Entry shields are a type of ballistic police shield that’s used by SWAT teams, patrol officers, and military personnel as breaching tools and body protection. They are also highly effective in offensive or defensive situations and are successful in stopping projectiles if fired upon.
Body Armor & Threat Levels
When you purchase a ballistic shield, it’s important for agencies to consider the threat levels their officers and personnel could face. NIJ, the National Institute of Justice, has created body armor performance standards that break down the ballistic protection of a police shield by its threat level. None can be considered a bulletproof shield due to the fact that they can only slow down the impact of a bullet. They are instead bullet-resistant. Thus, it’s critical to have an understanding of which bullets each threat level can withstand.
- Level II - Tested to withstand 9mm and .357 Magnum ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
- Level IIIA - Tested to withstand .357 SIG and .44 Magnum ammunition fired from longer barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
- Level III - Tested to withstand 7.62mm (M80) lead core rifle ammunition.
- Level IV - Tested to withstand .30 caliber Armor Piercing Rifle Round (M2 AP) ammunition.
Also, know that lower threat levels provide more mobility and speed but offer less ballistic protection. Higher threat levels offer more ballistic protection but hinder mobility and speed due to their heavier weight. This becomes another factor to consider when weighing the tradeoffs between protection and mobility.
Ballistic Shield Shapes & Sizes
Ballistic shields come in a variety of shapes and sizes for protection against specific threats. The most common size is between 20 x 30 inches and 24 x 36 inches, but there are larger sizes available for full-body protection as well. Most ballistic tactical shields are available in a V-shape, rectangular shape (most standard), dynamic shape or curved - all with their own pros and cons.
All types of shields are made for portability and are constructed using the most modern technology available. Most will also have a wide viewport made from durable materials such as polycarbonate to enhance visibility as well as an ambidextrous handle on the back for left and right-handed users.
Best-Selling Ballistic Shields
The go-to choice for portable ballistic protection is the ProTech Intruder G2 Ballistic Shield. This SWAT shield offers threat level IIIA protection, defeats various special threats, and has 24” x 30” coverage. The triangular viewport increases peripheral vision, while the 18-degree curvature protects against angled shots. Additionally, this tactical shield features high-intensity strobe dual LED lights, polyethylene construction, and a standoff platform for additional ballistic impact standoff protection against backface deformation.
If 24 pounds is too heavy and you need something lighter, opt for the Paraclete ASPIS Bellator Ballistic Shield. It only weighs 10.29 pounds and features a V-shape design to increase its strength while diverting fire away from the center. The side wings permit the officer to return fire with minimal exposure of their arms and meet NIJ 0108.01 III+ standards. This ballistic armor shield is also 100% boltless and has a larger, more functional trapezoidal viewport.
Offering law enforcement and military professionals with the most trusted ballistic protection including NIJ Compliant body armor is a top priority at Galls. We carry the industry’s top brands including Point Blank, United Shield International, Armor Express, GH Armor, and more. Whether you need body armor or ballistic helmets, we have a large selection for you to choose from.
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