Ballistic shields and portable bunkers
offer the first responder an effective tool for incidents where a rapid
response is necessary or when a building or area has to be cleared. They allow
individual first responders to make a difference in the early stages of
critical response incidents.
If pre-staged in schools,
airports and malls, these tools could fill a gap for first responders
regardless of the level of their training or equipment they have at the time.
While shields and bunkers have already been tested and proven as a valuable
asset for hostage negotiation, barricaded subjects, and crisis response, the
majority of critical response incidents occur prior to a SWAT response.
Baker Ballistics, LLC
The new PatrolBat™
ballistic shield is specifically designed to protect a fast-moving, single
responder to an active shooter. Stored in a vehicle front seat, it can be
grabbed and instantly popped open so the officer can exit the vehicle with
Baker Ballistics designers,
under the direction of retired NYPD ESU Lt. Al Baker, have developed and
promoted the concept of personal ballistic shields specifically for use by the
patrol officer. Numerous North American police agencies have adopted various
models of Baker Batshield® lightweight portable composite armor for
daily patrol duties.
The Kevlar® composite PatrolBat
is the most compact and affordable of all the Baker Batshield versions.
Identical in features and
operation to the other Baker Batshield models, the PatrolBat enables the user
to place both hands on either a pistol or rifle, and shoot accurately with
conventional center-line aiming techniques. Short-stocked patrol rifles, such
as the M-4, are ideal, and grant the first responder a dominating presence in a
running gun battle.
Additionally, the shield absorbs
shock. The torquing and twisting inherent in conventional bunker shields when
bumped is non-existent, as the outboard wings of the PatrolBat absorb energy
from hits and bumps without degrading the user’s aim and focus on target. The
PatrolBat has a Threat Level IIIA rating. It measures 21 inches by 31.5 inches
and weighs 13.5 pounds.
First introduced at SHOT Show
2013, Baker Ballistics has developed the world’s first NIJ Threat Level IV
ballistic shield that does not require wheels: the MRAPS-IV. Sticking with the
theme that Al Baker refers to as the “high-speed option” approach to tactical
operations, the MRAPS-IV allows the operator unlimited mobility and use of a
long gun while safely positioned behind this advanced ceramic / composite matrix
Not intended to replace slow,
methodical bunker shield clearing operations, the MRAPS-IV is intended to
protect the user from armor-piercing rifle fire during high-speed operations
such as hostage rescue, active shooter, and MACTAC tactics, while
simultaneously providing an accurate long-gun shooting platform.
This design, like the larger and
lighter original Baker Ballistic Level III MRAPS™ shield, gives
users the ability to “wear” the shield via two unique, load-bearing bungees,
attached to a novel, quick-release device. The majority of the weight of the
shield is carried by the twin bungees anchored high on the shoulders, providing
exceptional weight carrying ability (including hands-free), plus an instant and
positive release of the shield from the wearer if needed.
The majority of the strike face
surface of the MRAPS-IV defeats, at muzzle velocities, armor-piercing threats
from common rifle calibers. The outermost perimeter regions of the shield, not
faced with ceramic reinforcement, are made of a Threat Level III (non-AP rifle
calibers) composite material, thus the double Threat Level rating of Type III and
Type IV. The MRAPS-IV measures 15.5 inches by 30 inches.
Technologies is a Utah-based research, development and manufacturing company
established in 1952. Daw Technologies Ballistic Products is a division of Daw
Technologies and has developed a line of ballistic products that includes
special operations bunkers and concealable armor plates in various sizes and
levels that include NIJ Level IIIA, III Plus and Level IV protection.
Their Collapsible Special
Operations Bunker is 20 inches by 73 inches high when set up. This is similar
in size to a non-collapsible unit, but less than 14 inches tall when collapsed.
It requires just 30 seconds to set up. When folded, it makes a small bundle
that can store under a coffee table or in a cabinet, and since it is only 14
inches tall, the unit can be transported easily in the trunk of a car, SUV, APC
The bunker has caster-type
wheels with large, run-flat tires that permit its movement over rough terrain.
The wheels rotate 360 degrees and can be locked into an orientation for front
to rear or lateral motion. Because they are retractable, they can be pivoted
into a nesting position for low-footprint storage.
Due to the ballistic bunker’s
rolling mobility, it can be fully deployed at a safe location and then rolled
into position, providing full ballistic protection during that movement. An
apron of ballistic material may be connected to the lowermost panel to extend
to the ground, reducing the threat of skip-rounds. It is free-standing once in
position, therefore freeing up both hands of the operating personnel. This
collapsible bunker can pass through a 3-foot doorway without exposing personnel
or compromising its ballistic integrity.
For situations requiring broader
ballistic protection, two or more Twin Collapsible Special Operations Bunkers
can be latched together or separated as needed. Removable side and center
panels are easily lifted onto the bunker to increase its width and are
interchangeable. A standard twin bunker with all optional panels measures in
excess of 7 feet wide.
DeadStop (LCOA Composites)
The DeadStop® ballistic
shields series was developed in cooperation with SWAT teams. According to
DeadStop, their police shields are made with FeatherPlate™ armor technology. FeatherPlate
offers the lightest-weight composite technology available for a Level IIIA
The Equalizer shield provides a
tactical advantage in live fire scenarios that is not available on any other
shield on the market. Originally developed in conjunction with the St.
Petersburg, Fla. Police, the unique firing port cutouts were designed to allow
the operator to use his/her weapon in a more natural shooting position. This
position keeps the arm straighter and more stable, while allowing much easier
target sighting through the viewport.
Also, in this position, there is
less chance of recoil causing the weapon to impact the shield surface, avoiding
possible weapon jams. DeadStop says the Equalizer is the only shield that
offers this functionality without sacrificing head protection area at the top
of the shield. It also offers upper body protection while on the move, and full
body protection in the crouched or kneeling position. At just 17 pounds
with a viewport, the Equalizer provides 24 inches by 40 inches coverage with
The Transporter shield was
specifically designed for tactical teams in restricted space scenarios such as
airline, bus, train, or other mass transit vehicles with limited aisle space.
During training and simulated scenarios, it was found that when using a normal,
full-width shield for breaches into these vehicles, the shields needed to be
turned sideways to avoid bumping into seats, thus exposing the officer. The
size (17 inches by 40 inches) and shape of the Transporter allows the team to
advance through the seating area by creating a protective area across the entire
aisle during the breach, without turning and compromising ballistic coverage.
The Transporter provides full
upper body coverage when standing, or full body concealment when kneeling.
Other teams are now finding applications for the more compact Transporter, such
as tight, narrow hallways, and as a shield that can be easily stowed in the
front of a patrol car. The reduced weight (14.5 pounds with a viewport) and
versatility of the Transporter make it a solid choice. DeadStop shields come
with a variety of available accessories, including a 900-lumen LED light
package with multiple modes (momentary-on, continuous-on, turbo strobe) for
flexibility in each scenario.
PROTECH Tactical, a brand of The Safariland Group, has been a leader
and an innovator in the ballistic shield business for nearly 30 years. The
company boasts the largest offering of shields in the industry, including the
Body Bunker®, a type IIIA shield whose name has become synonymous
with the term “ballistic shield” in the law enforcement community.
In addition to the well-known Body Bunker, PROTECH
Tactical manufactures the popular Intruder™ HS Type IIIA shield. The Intruder
HS is made of 100 percent polyethylene material with a state-of-the-art,
vacuum-molded outer skin that eliminates the need for drilling holes in the
body of the shield to attach the viewport, lens cap, and handle. The shield
body features an 18-degree curvature for increased protection against angle
The multi-layered viewport design contains overlapping
polycarbonate ballistic laminate in the front and back of the shield, which
reinforces the seams and provides multi-hit protection from handgun threats.
The Intruder HS also features a standoff platform and
padded forearm rest on the body side of the shield to provide additional
ballistic impact standoff protection against backface deformation; horizontal,
ambidextrous handle, which allows the shield operator’s arm to be kept vertical
in a strong-arm position utilizing skeletal support; and high-intensity,
strobe-capable LED or halogen lighting systems to provide the operator with the
ability to illuminate darkened areas without the use of a separate light.
The PROTECH Tactical NATO Enhanced family of Type III (rifle-rated)
shields offers protection from high-velocity threats. They are made of 100
percent unidirectional polyethylene material with a rugged, non-ricocheting,
metal alloy-aluminum outer skin, which integrates added impact and
fragmentation resistance to the shield. The multi-layered viewport design
contains overlapping ballistic glass and polycarbonate laminate ballistics in
the front and back of the shield, which reinforces the seams and provides
protection from rifle threats.
Non-ballistic wings give the shield a free-standing capability,
while a stand-off strapping system on the body side of the shield provides
additional skeletal support for the operator’s vertical arm position when
carrying the shield. The shield and viewport have been independently tested to
defeat the M80 7.62 NATO 147 grain FMJ and the AK47’s 7.62 x 39mm 123 grain MSC
(mild steel core). The NATO Enhanced Shields are available in three sizes: 1)
NATO 1™ Enhanced 17 inches by 32 inches; 2) NATO 2™
Enhanced 20 inches by 34 inches; and 3) NATO 3™ Enhanced 26 inches by
Patriot3’s Minuteman Folding Ballistic Shields are
versatile, handheld ballistic protection that are easy to use and can be stowed
anywhere a laptop computer would fit. They are available in NIJ Level IIIA (handgun)
and III (rifle) and are stored folded in non-descript laptop-size carry cases.
Once deployed, the unit becomes a rigid ballistic shield; most are available
The Minuteman’s size, carry case, and minimal
weight allow users to move through crowds discreetly, all the time providing
immediate ballistic protection without drawing attention. It provides immediate
ballistic protection in the stowed position and can be deployed into its rigid
configuration in seconds. Each Minuteman Folding Ballistic Shield comes with a
grab handle, carry case with strap, and stiffening rods.
In the Patriot3 XPS-G2
(X-treme Protection Series) is the
first high-threat ballistic shield designed for ease of use and superb
mobility. Its unique, patented design incorporates the first-ever Folding
Ballistic Wings, providing a wide area of coverage beyond that of any ballistic
shield available today. With this wing-deployment mechanism, the Ballistic Wings can be folded backward to reduce the
width of the shield, enabling passage through commercial doorways.
through the door, the Ballistic Wings are immediately re-deployed, providing an
area of coverage of up to 66 inches or
three operators wide. In addition, each of the XPS Ballistic Wings can be
removed instantly with one hand, allowing the XPS to split into as many as four
separate handheld shields (NIJ III), allowing team members to break away with
ballistic protection to simultaneously clear additional areas.
unit has several options, such as ballistic gun port,
lighting system, folding Ballistic Wings, Ballistic Wing viewports, and Ballistic Wing handles (NIJ 3 only). The
Patriot3 XPS-G2 won the coveted
GovSec Security Products Homeland Security Award a few years ago.
United Shield International
The United Shield E.R.T. is the latest addition to the
company’s range of multi-functional shields. This shield was designed in close
collaboration with tactical operators to satisfy the need for a shield that is
both light and versatile.
The E.R.T. provides
multifunctional, dual-sided shooting platforms utilizing an ambidextrous
tri-support handle. This adjustable, three-position handle allows for vertical
and left- or right-hand 45-degree hold while transferring the weight of the
shield to the user’s skeletal structure. The complete rear face of the shield
is covered in a soft Velcro® to allow for the attachment of
ancillary items such as ammo pouches, backup weapons.
This shield is manufactured with
advanced ballistic composite technology providing multi-hit Level IIIA performance
at a very light 15.4 pounds. Available in sizes 24 inches by 36 inches and 24
inches by 48 inches. The E.R.T shield
is also available in United Shield’s new “Next Generation” Spartan
Shield Technology (SST). SST provides a 30 percent weight reduction, yielding a
24 inches by 36 inches shield with a weight of only 10 pounds. Available
options include a 500-lumen multi-function LED lighting system, Police/Sheriff
logo, shoulder strap, and hydrographic paint transfer.
To deal with the increasing
active shooter trend, United Shield developed the Police Tactical Shield. This
shield is micro-sized, highly maneuverable, lightweight, and ergonomically
designed to ensure maximum protection in active shooter tactical response
scenarios. The compact shield measures 20 inches by 16 inches, and provides a
balance between protection and ease-of-use in confined spaces.
The key features of this shield include
ambidextrous and collapsible handle for easy storage, integrated weapons mount
that allows one-handed operation of rifles and handguns, compact design, and
lightweight NIJ Level IIIA protection at 3.7 pounds. It also provides balance
between area protection and accessibility in confined spaces. The asymmetrical configuration of the handles
ensures the shield hangs in the vertical position when being used. Other
levels of protection are available on request, including rifle, armor piercing,
and special applications.
Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park,
Ohio, Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER. Mickey Davis is a
California-based writer and author.