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Ballistic Shields – Are They Worth the Investment?

The concept of a shield has been a mainstay of warriors for hundreds of years. While modern projectile weapons are significantly more advanced than the spears and arrows of ancient times, the design and material of ballistic shields mean they are still a very effective tool for delivering a tactical advantage during active shooter situations.

Keep reading to learn more about bulletproof shields and how they protect and save lives.

What is a Ballistic Shield?

Ballistic shields or “bulletproof shields” provide mobile defensive cover for law enforcement or security forces during an active shooter incident or other dangerous situation. Their primary purpose is to stop bullets and other weaponized projectiles from penetrating the shield and injuring or killing the person using the shield.

Personal ballistic shields protect security personnel, SWAT teams, and law enforcement and help bring dangerous situations to a swift end without injury or loss of life. They are often used in drug house raids, high-risk search warrants, active shooter incidents (including in schools), and violent riots, just to name a few.

It is very common these days for police and other law enforcement officers to keep a shield in their patrol vehicle, in case a life-threatening situation comes up during their line of work.

Are Ballistic Shields Bulletproof?

A ballistic shield is a critical tool that can help keep their users alive when facing deadly force. As ballistic technology has advanced, many modifications have been added over the years to ensure their effectiveness.

Ballistic shields differ from clear plastic riot shields as they are usually black, rectangular, and include a built-in viewport. Like the rest of the shield, the ballistic viewport must offer ballistic protection, which is why they are manufactured with clear ballistic-level polycarbonate. Although nothing is guaranteed to be 100% bulletproof, ballistic shields will significantly help to reduce bodily injury or death if shot at while using one, similarly to using bullet-resistant vests or ballistic helmets.

The last 20 years have seen more than a few significant developments in ballistic shield technology, with different models having various pros and cons when used to counter specific threats. In addition, ballistic shields are a lot more lightweight and easier to handle than previous models over the past years.

Armor ratings of Bulletproof Shields:

Ballistic shields are rated according to the protection level they provide against different weapon grades.

  • Ballistic Armor Level III-A: protects against 9 mm handgun rounds, handgun rounds up to .44 magnum. and 12 gauge shotgun shells, including .357sig. They can be made from hard or soft armor. This is undoubtedly the most common level requested in most ballistic shields used by law enforcement. These shields are very lightweight and easy to carry or move around.


  • Ballistic Armor Level III: protects against rifle rounds up to 7.62 mm FMJ and 5.56mm, a mass of 147 grains, and a velocity of 2780 fts/s. These shields are very popular among law enforcement, school safety officers and other situations where rifles may be present. Most sizes of these shields can be moved easily (without the need of a trolley) and are being used more and more as active shooter situations tend to use more rifle ammunition than handgun ammunition.


  • Ballistic Armor Level IV: protects against armor-piercing (AP) rifle rounds such as 7.62 AP and .30. Although law enforcement does use this level of shield occasionally, it is extremely heavy and requires a trolley to be moved around. Therefore, most law enforcement professionals will tend to opt for a level IIIA or level III ballistic shield, given that AP rounds historically tend to not be used as much during active shooter situations.

The right ballistic shield for the situation can make all the difference in a deadly standoff. Lightweight shields are highly maneuverable. A heavy shield will increase the level of protection while sacrificing speed and movement. Heavier shields also come with a higher price tag than their lightweight counterparts.

Types of Ballistic Shields

A variety of ballistic shields are available to suit a range of different scenarios. A SWAT ballistic shield is a lightweight, multipurpose shield tested to armor level III-A. It’s lightweight and comes with a horizontal handlebar and body strap to ensure personnel maintain maneuverability with a high degree of protection.

The foldable and expandable tactical ballistic shield adapts to the situation with an optional lighting system and expanding wings that fan out to create a wider field of protection. When personnel enter confined spaces, the wings will quickly fold back in, making this shield one of the most versatile on the market.

But at the end of the day, the most popular type of ballistic shield is the standard rectangle cut ballistic shield, with ballistic viewport, available in levels III-A, III, or IV. This shield is lightweight, flexible, and reliable – it’s one of the most popular ballistic shield for law enforcement operations or active shooter situations.

Technological advancements have made ballistic shields lightweight and bulletproof against a wide variety of firearms. Whether you are looking for extra protection at home, or need to prepare your security force against deadly encounters, ballistic shields are an invaluable tool for bringing dangerous situations to a quick and decisive end.

Don’t Delay – Order Your Department A Ballistic Shield Today!

With active shooter situations occurring more and more on a daily basis around the United States, law enforcement departments are realizing the importance to keep a variety of body armor – particularly ballistic shields in stock. Whether in their storeroom, vehicle, or other storage area – it’s important to always have a ballistic shield available in case of an active shooter situation.

ExecDefense USA manufactures a range of strong and durable ballistic shields. Please contact us today and one of our ballistic shield specialists will get back to you with a custom quote.

Need to order a standard ballistic shield ASAP? Please visit our dealer website HERE and you can order your ballistic shield FAST & EASY!