Mastering the shield
Shields first made their way into the police armory 27 years ago, after officers in London were forced to defend themselves from an onslaught of bricks, bottles and gas bombs by using traffic cones.
Today, shields are used by almost every country in the world with a standardized police force. There are dozens of styles made by dozens of companies. They have become a mandatory part of correctional facility repertoires across the country.
This article is intended to help you sift through the stacks of information out there to find the shield that is right for you, your facility and your specific circumstance.
When deciding on the right shield, it is important to keep in mind that a shield is equally an offensive and defensive weapon. It can be used for everything from blocking and bumping to smashing and striking
Types of Shields
Here is a list of the six most common and effective shields used in corrections:
1) Capture Shields: Made of clear plastic, capture shields are curved away from the carrier, allowing them to trap (or capture) a combatant by using the shield to pin them against a wall. They are controlled through 2 evenly placed plastic or metal handles that allow the user to hold the shield evenly in each hand and maintain a strong barrier between themselves and the threat.
2) Riot Shields: Made of clear plastic, riot shields face towards the carrier. They allow the user to protect themselves from objects that are thrown or shot at them by rioters. One of the two handles on a riot shield is usually made of hard plastic or metal, and the other from a leather or nylon strap. Thus locking one of the user’s arms to the shield and in turn helping them to gain greater control.
3) Shock Shields: Similar in shape to the capture shield, the shock shield is also curved away from its user. The difference between the shock and the capture shield is that the shock shield is lined with electrically charged contact strips that – when the user push the activation button – will deploy an electric shock into the combatant. The shield is controlled through two evenly placed plastic or metal handles that protect the user from the shock. The activation switch is usually on one of the handles.
4) Ballistic Shields: Made of solid ballistic materials with a special glass vision slot to help the user see their threats, ballistics shields are usually curved in towards the user. They are designed for protection from serious weaponry like bullets or projectiles. They feature a specially molded carrying system, which enables the user to support the weight of the shield with one arm. This allows them to control and operate a weapon or tool with the other hand while simultaneously staying protected. They vary in length, size, shape and weight.