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A new era for patrol safety: GC Patrol Shield’s simple genius

Delve into the innovative design and practical application of the GC Patrol Shield, a tool that addresses the unique challenges faced by patrol officers with its balance of simplicity, durability and comprehensive protection



By Warren Wilson

When I first wrote about GC’s Patrol Shield, I thought I’d covered its attributes pretty well. On second blush and, not unironically, digging deeper brought me to its most valuable feature: simplicity. Simple is good; especially when considering the circumstances in which this equipment would be used.

Bunker drama

For the uninitiated, ballistic shield work is more complicated than it would appear. On our SWAT team, each designated member assigned to the shield, would spend at least a few hours a month perfecting their skills with that particular tool.

Wielding a pistol at an awkward angle around a physical barrier while moving rapidly into an unknown area is not a natural skill. It is a skill that takes copious, repetitive practice. Smaller teams with fewer resources train all members for all assignments, but only a few are designated as specialists in areas of particular difficulty such as shield (commonly called “bunker”) deployment.




I experienced the normal difficulties working with the bunker during my training rotations. The viewport, which many consider to be a feature, I found to be a liability. On its face, it appears to be an invaluable benefit to keep one’s head behind ballistic protection. It is a benefit, but with some detracting factors, the biggest of which is the dedication and expertise required to use it safely and efficiently.

Weight and imbalance

Viewports are necessarily made of highly dense materials, heavier than those of the shield itself, and this additional weight is not an attribute when it comes to law enforcement equipment; particularly, since that gear is carried for long periods by a lone individual. Moreover, the viewport’s weight is added to the upper part of the shield which creates an awkward weight imbalance. A lot of the operator’s concentration and physical strength must be focused on battling that cumbersomeness to keep the shield stable and controlled. This is less of an issue for SWAT cops, who generally have a higher level of time working on their tactical skills and training, but it’s quite problematic for your average patrol cop. By contrast, the GC Patrol Shield weighs less than 20 pounds and benefits from equal weight distribution – and operators will find that with its enhanced handle system design, the shield feels even lighter than that.


By the time I was on our tactical team, our bunkers had seen significant use. With that use came wear, especially to the viewport. Viewports tend to get scratched up quickly, impairing visibility. Also, it occurred to me during training, that after one bullet strike, the viewport would likely be useless; as would all those hours of training behind it. Imagine enjoying the benefit of automaticity that comes from training to use a tool for dozens of hours, only to have that advantage evaporate in an instant. That occurrence would most certainly cost critical moments at the worst possible time. Were that to happen, the officer or deputy would have to resort to using the bunker as traditional cover (pieing around it like a room’s corner). That makes the GC Shield’s exceptional ability to absorb bullet strikes to its edge imperative. Another detractor from viewports, is the junction between the port and the shield can be a point of structural weakness, defeating the purpose of the shield.

The shields are designed so that a camera can be easily mounted and deployed to the GC Patrol Shield.

Intentionally simple

The GC Shield is primarily designed to be used for patrol cops and school resource officers (SROs) -- those officers and deputies whose duty time is mostly consumed with taking routine calls and interacting with the public rather than preparing for a high-risk encounter. Unencumbered by a bulky viewport, its flat design means it is easily stored for quick deployment.



Most cops do not have the luxury of several hours per month of training for the above challenges. But all cops are trained to use basic cover. Most cops do not have the inherent or practiced skills to shoot around a bunker through a viewport. The GC Shield brings the protection of a bunker to the level of patrol cops.

Simple is good

I’m sure everyone is familiar with some phenomenon of tach psyche otherwise known as “adaptation syndrome” or “fight or flight syndrome.” We know humans don’t perform well under extreme stress in tasks for which they haven’t extensively trained. Simple is good. Keep that in mind when outfitting your patrol cops or SROs with life-saving equipment like the GC Patrol Shield.