Call us now!

Riot shields, history, common uses and the best options on the market!

A riot shield is a lightweight protection device, typically deployed by police, security personnel, correctional officers and some military organizations. Riot shields are typically long enough to cover an average-sized person from the top of the head to the knees, though smaller one-handed models may also be used (round – circular – anti-riot shield). They are generally intended to be used in riot control, to protect the user from attacks and threats with blunt or edged weapons and thrown projectiles, or non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets and water cannons. They can also be used to push back the opposing force. Riot shields have been used as an effective protection tool by the police against protestors and rioters in Europe and the UK as early as the 1960’s and the 1970’s. The British forces deployed them in the 1950’s as well.

Riot shields are used in almost every country with a standardized police force (we offer customized options with languages/fonts and color). Law enforcement often use them in conjunction with a baton (check out our range of batons). Riot shields made for law enforcement are typically constructed from transparent polycarbonate (reinforced plastic) to allow the bearer to have an unobstructed view of incoming thrown objects. However, there are riot shields made from different materials (aluminum / ballistic shields) to help the bearer shield themselves from fire or other dangerous hazards like live ammunition/bullets. riot shields are effective in protecting the bearers and preventing protesters from breaking through police lines (interlocking riot shields).

Common uses of the riot shields:

Riot shields are typically made of transparent polycarbonate between 4–6 millimeters (0.16–0.24 in) in thickness. Shields are designed to be shatter resistant. The riot shield is designed primarily as a defensive weapon, though it can be used in an offensive manner when in direct contact with protesters. We also offer anti-laser riot shields which help the bearer from the threat of laser beams pointed at their eyes and obstructing their vision.

Special event security, tactical police units, corrections officers, crisis response forces, quick reaction forces, disorder control units, and general security contracting companies all use riot shields. Outside of prison cell extractions, riot shields are almost always used for defensive purposes to protect the public in unstable situations. Their clear design gives them an unobstructed line of sight and provides immediate situation assessment.

Riot shields offer protection to the user from a variety of blunt objects and projectiles. Rioters will use anything and everything nearby as a weapon in a riot or melee situation.

Here’s a list of items rioters use that the riot shields can protect you and your team from:



Small metal fragments

Electric shock


Stick attacks

Rubber bullets

Ballistic shields can protect you and your team from:

Fire thrown objects – (Molotov cocktails)


Live ammunition/bullets

Specs of our range of the different customizable riot shields that we offer at EDI-USA to cover all your needs.


Fast, lightweight, and easy to use, this classic riot shield is EDI-USA’s most popular shield for riot operations.

Available in standard (half body) or jumbo (full body) sizes, this strong riot shield will protect your team when you need it most.

Resisting up to 187 joules (J) of energy, the shield is mounted to one strong and insulated handle, and one strong nylon wrist strap.

Custom inscriptions & wording on front is available based on your specific needs.

Compatible with FoxFury® ‘s tactical shield light (attached permanently or removable with Velcro).

Need anti-laser strips for your riot helmets? We’ve got you covered! Please contact us and we are happy to help!

Are you law enforcement? Contact us to request your free riot shield T&E sample to try!

This item usually has a 1 – 2 weeks lead time upon receiving your order.

Sizes: 35.5” x 19.6” (90cm x 50cm), 47” x 19.6” (120cm x 50cm)


Protected with a durable hard rubber border, EDI-USA’s RUB-X Shield is law enforcement’s first choice for thick and strong riot shield protection.

The RUB-X Riot Shield is manufactured with suction-mould technology to allow the user to remain protected from some of the highest anti-riot impact threats.

Resisting up to 187 joules (J) of energy, this shield will protect you when you and your team need it most.

Custom inscriptions & wording on front available.

Compatible with FoxFury® ‘s tactical shield light (attached permanently or removable with Velcro).

Need anti-laser strips for your riot shields? We’ve got you covered! Please contact us and we are happy to help!

Are you law enforcement? Contact us to request your free riot shield T&E sample to try!

This item usually has a 1 – 2 weeks lead time upon receiving your order.

Sizes: 35.5” x 19.6” (90cm x 50cm)



Designed for close combat operations, ExecDefense’s EDI-USA round anti-riot shield is ideal for urban or rural anti-riot operations.

Manufactured withstrong polycarbonate with a 95% light transmittance rate, this round riot shield has a slight indentation around the border in order to make it stronger during anti-riot operations. The round shield will help prevent non-ballistic handheld anti-riot threats and can easily be moved up, down, or around to adjust to the direction where threats may be thrown from. The shield thickness is: 0.16” of thick and durable polycarbonate.

The user-facing side (back side) of this round riot shield features a strong a 1-arm strap and 1-arm handle system.

Customized inscriptions available for front side.

Need anti-laser strips for your riot shields? We’ve got you covered! Please contact us and we are happy to help.

This riot shield is compatible with FoxFury’s shield light (attachable). Please contact us for more information!

Note: this round riot shield is available with or without the enhanced black border. Please specify when ordering.

Sizes: Size: 23” x 23


During riot operations, making a “riot barrier wall” is very important for law enforcement.

Our strong anti-impact Interlocking Riot Shields help your team stay protected during protest and riot operations. Manufactured with strong and transparent polycarbonate (95% sunlight transparency), these tall shields have indented edges so that they can essentially “inter-connect” together

The shields are thick and durable, with a thickness of approximately 0.18” to make sure that they protect well against non-ballistic hand-held anti-impact threats.

The user-facing side (back side) of the shield has an additional piece of polycarbonate which attached the handle system, along with a durable EVA-foam pad for extra arm comfort.

Customized inscriptions available for front side.

Need anti-laser strips for your riot shields? We’ve got you covered! Please contact us and we are happy to help.

This riot shield is compatible with FoxFury’s shield light (attachable). Please contact us for more information!

Sizes: Small: 47” x 21.5” Medium: 63” x 21.5” Large: 70” x 21.5”


One of the biggest problems that law enforcement faces today is the threat of lasers being pointed into eyes during operations, and temporarily blinding or distracting the officer from their mission.

ExecDefense’s EDI-USA Anti-Laser Riot Shield was developed to prevent officers from being blinded or distracted by primary nuisance lasers.

Manufactured with strong anti-impact polycarbonate 0.16” in thickness, this shield includes propriety anti-laser film which is permanently imbedded into the riot shield to help minimize and block the affects of lasers. The shield has a VLT of 30% and blocks up to 200 – 560mm of blue and green lasers.

What makes this shield different than other anti-laser devices, is that the anti-laser film is permanently manufactured within the polycarbonate formula of the shield – don’t worry about it falling off, or not completely covering all parts of the shield, because it’s imbedded fully throughout the entire riot shield.

The user-facing side (back side) of the shield features a strong a 1-arm strap and 1-arm handle system.

Customized inscriptions available for front side.

This riot shield is compatible with FoxFury’s shield light (attachable). Please contact us for more information!


This strong shield is popular among users because it is manufactured with aluminum, as opposed to plastic polycarbonate, and resists hand-held riot threats well, and can also help with fire riot threats such as Molotov cocktails

This riot shield is compatible with FoxFury’s shield light (attachable). Please contact us for more information!

The shield is manufactured with black aluminum and includes a small viewport (multiple eyeholes) with a layer of polycarbonate (transparent).

The back of the shield includes a durable handle and arm system, along with a foam EVA pad to help enhance comfort for the user’s arm.

Customized inscriptions available for front side.

This riot shield is compatible with FoxFury’s shield light(attachable). Please contact us for more information!

Please contact us at EDI-USA for any information or a quote for riot shields or your riot gear needs.

EDI-USA now RENTS riot gear and ballistic equipment!

Ideal for short term protection needs.

With dangerous unrest occurring around in the world and in the United States on a weekly basis, police departments and private companies have recognized a need for riot gear or bullet resistant items on a short-term basis.


Due to this need, EDI-USA has launched its RIOT GEAR RENTAL PROGRAM!

PROTEC-X Riot Helmet – For Rent!

Looking for riot gear to protect your team on a specific one-time project? Look no farther because now you can rent riot gear from EDI-USA on a short term basis! We offer high-quality rentals on select models of our riot helmets, riot suits, and certain riot shields. And for high-risk situations you can also rent ballistic helmets (tested to level III-A, ambient) and bullet resistant vests (tested to level III-A, ambient).


How does EDI’s riot gear rental program work?


Simply contact us with your event details including – the date, the location and the type of event. We will suggest a package of riot gear or ballistic equipment for you to rent, or you can also choose the individual gear that you want to rent based on your specific project.


How fast can your rental gear get to us?


We offer ground shipping, 2-day air shipping, and even overnight shipping throughout the United States for immediate situations. All orders must be placed by 12pm EST in order for your rental gear to ship out the same day.

Who rents EDI-USA’s riot gear?


Recently, we have seen many different users and projects that are requiring to rent our gear. This includes:


– News reporters and film crews that are filming on location or reporting in dangerous environments.

– Private security guards that are contracted for specific crowd-control or building guarding projects during riots or risky situations.

– Police and sheriff departments from smaller jurisdictions that want to be prepared for a one-time demonstration or protest.

External Bullet Resistant Vest (III-A) – For Rent!
High-Cut Ballistic Helmet – For Rent!

Our riot gear and ballistic equipment is rented on a weekly contract basis and it can get to you FAST! Before being sent to you, all gear is carefully inspected to make sure it’s at the quality standards valued by EDI-USA and you will have access to one of our tactical specialists by phone or email in case any last minute questions come up.


Need to rent (or purchase) riot gear or bullet resistant vests / helmets for your next event? Please CONTACT US today and we can help!

Are You Prepared for an Active Shooter?

Part of EDI-USA’s Series: Are YOU Prepared For…?

An Active Shooter emergency is one that occurs unpredictably, evolves quickly, and is over within minutes or hours. That means time is of the essence when it comes to making a difference in the outcome and saving lives. Your team will want to neutralize the shooter as soon as possible, all while evacuating and protecting bystanders in as safe, orderly, and effective a manner as possible.

Whether responding to an Active Shooter emergency in the workplace, a school, a shopping center, or any other confined and populated area where an active shooter is targeting civilians, EDI’s equipment can help your team save lives, maximize their protection, and carry the day. 

Is your agency prepared for an active shooter threat? 

Responding to an active shooter incident is a tremendous responsibility for security and law enforcement. It requires careful planning, discipline, and sense of duty. With foresight and preparation, you can maximize your agency’s ability to nimbly respond to an active shooter situation, saving lives and taking control of the situation as quickly as possible.

In recent years, many law enforcement organizations have evolved to offer Active Shooter Trainings. Some of these trainings offer a collaborative approach, drawing on insights and post-hoc analyses run by other police and security agencies that have confronted an active shooter situation. This research, and the collective pool of information and strategies, can be a life-saving resource for other agencies looking to hone their own strategies and preparedness.

Developing a Tactical Playbook

When it comes to responding to an active shooter threat, it’s important for you team to put together a playbook in advance. The playbook will acquaint everyone on your team with the strategies you may draw on to respond to an active shooter situation. Running through these drills will help your team practice working together as a unit, and familiarize each team member with the roles they may play, depending on the circumstances and their positioning. 

Since the 1999 Columbine Shooting, police teams no longer wait for SWAT teams to arrive before confronting an active shooter. Borrowing tactics from infantry patrols and hostage rescue teams, police and security teams have had their roles expand into confronting active shooters. 

Since the tactics required to effectively neutralize an active shooter are drawn from a military approach, EDI’s ballistic gear can be a lifesaving asset for your team. Our lightweight, well-built gear is designed to facilitate movement, giving your officers the protection while facilitating their operations. Key products EDI recommends for all teams preparing for an active shooter situation include: 


Designed for high-tactical operations, EDI’s FAST High-Cut Helmet allows users to protect themselves while also being able to attach radio communication and night vision devices to the helmet. Tough, strong, and amazing – this helmet provides it all.

Learn more.


EDI’s rugged ballistic shields provide III-A, III, or IV ballistic protection. Available with or without lights, and compatible with FoxFury® tactical shield flashlights. Custom sizes and front inscriptions are available.

Learn more.


When you’ve taken an active shooter into custody, given the tension of the moment and the publicity the event will generate, it’s important to maintain control over the assailant and make transit to a holding cell run as quickly as possible. EDI’s handcuffs, leg restraints, and transportation systems protect your officers while giving them the tools they need to assert control over the situation.

Learn more.

Active Shooter Preparedness Plans in Your Community

Given the world we live in, it’s important for police departments and security agencies in the United States to coordinate with local businesses, school districts, and other agencies to put active shooter preparedness plans in place. Active shooter strikes occur randomly, and making sure local leaders know the drill can give peace of mind and help save lives. 

When helping local commercial centers and school district officials make their active shooter preparedness plans, some important things to cover are: 

  • Identifying escape routes, and making sure staff members know how to access them and what paths to follow
  • The importance of leaving all belongings behind
  • Strategies for sheltering-in-place 
  • How to respond when police arrive 

Staying Safe and Staying Prepared 

Since active shooter strikes occur randomly and without warning, it is important to keep your team’s skills and equipment up-to-date. Regularly run through the drills in your Tactical Playbook with your team. Check in with your community leaders about their efforts to spread the word about their Active Shooter Preparedness Plans within their places of business, schools, and other places where the public congregates. 

It is also critically important that you properly maintain the gear your officers may need in the case of an active shooting. Each of EDI’s products comes with comprehensive information on how to properly clean and store your gear. To make sure all gear remains in a condition ready for tactical operations, it’s important to assign a team member to regularly check over the gear, to make sure everything is ready and in place. EDI recommends running these gear checks monthly, as part of a routine active shooter preparedness check-in. 

The Final Word

The ability to respond effectively to an active shooter requires complex advance preparation. You will need to work with your team to develop a tactical playbook, invest in the right gear, and coordinate with community leaders and local stakeholders to ensure schools, public areas, and places of business near you have credible plans in place for an active shooter situation. 

Together, these strategies will ensure that your officers are trained and confident, and that the groundwork has been laid to maximize the effectiveness of your team’s response to an active shooter situation.

EDI salutes your hard work, and from our team to yours, offer a heartfelt thanks to the serving men and women who put their lives on the line to keep the public safe. 

Why Your Team Needs Ballistic Shields

Why Your Team Needs Ballistic Shields

Shields have been around since earths earliest civilizations and are still widely used today. If your team doesn’t have proper ballistic or riot shields yet, now is a great time to consider getting one. The technology and materials used in current ballistic shields are light years beyond what the Zulu warriors were using in the 1800s but the shields core purpose, to stop fatal objects from hitting you, has remained largely unchanged.

Take a quick look at the history of shield progression below:

Protective Shields Throughout History

  • PrehistoryYetholm Shields of Bronze age made of copper alloy. (1200-800 BC)

Yetholm Shields of Bronze age

  • Ancient History – Roman Legionaries carried large scutas made of leather covered wood. (343-304 BC)

Roman Scutas

  • Post-classical History – European heater shield made of lightweight wood overlaid with leather. (1101 to 1200)

Heater shield

  • Modern History Law Enforcement shields, made from metal, polymers, and Kevlar designed to be bullet proof / fireproof. (1925 – present)
    • Light weight level IIIA shields that stop hand guns and submachine guns.
    • Heavy Level III and IV shields that stop rifle rounds.


Ballistic technology has increased tremendously in recent years to finally offer something that is truly lightweight but stronger than previous shield models.

Now that we have seen how protective shields have progressed throughout history, now let’s take a look at the reasons why a Military or Police force would absolutely want to equip their men with ballistic shields in 2018 and beyond.

Why Now Is The Time To Invest In Proper Ballistic Shields

  • Resistant to bullets, .44 mag, 9mm, .357sig, and V50
  • Resistant to fire, molotov cocktail, and small explosives
  • Ballistic shields can be customized with a “shooters cut” in order to allow the user to insert his or her weapon on the side of the shield without being fully exposed.
  • Shield sizes can be customized to fit the user’s specific operation. EDI recently undertook a project to produce 15 customized “mini-ballistic shields” for users who need to implement tactical operations in confined indoor areas.
  • “Righty” and “Lefty” friendly!
  • Lighter and stronger than ever!
  • Political violence, protest, and crime incidents are up by 17% since 2016
  • 2016 alone saw an increase of 53% of officers killed in the line of duty in the United States

Equipping your team with the proper gear is an insurance policy, better to have and not need, then need and be without. At the end of the day we want make sure our Police, Security, and Military members get back home safely and without bodily injury which is why we think now is as good of time as ever to get you team some much needed Ballistic shields.


REMEMBER! EDI-USA Customizes Sizes, Colors, & Materials

If you would like additional guidance to decide what shields / gear will be best for your necessities please contact us, we are confident that we can deliver all your tactical customization needs.

Take a look at our full catalog to see all the gear that we can customize for you and your team.