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Ballistic shield

#1
Very random thought just popped into my head while watching something on TV re: some SWAT type unit.

Basically it got me thinking about the ballistic shields they use (note I'm not talking about those clear type riot shields but the heavier kevlar type) and whether there is any practical purpose for them in a more mainstream mil capacity.

For example would they be of any use when doing compound clearences out in Afghan or as some sort of additional protection when confirming an IED find or would they not be worth the additional weight penalty?
:?

Otherwise surely it's fairly cheap way of providing a more additional but flexible armour option as they can alway be left behind / in the vehicle
 
#2
I've got one, that I er acquired from a now long defunct unit to display in our unit bar.

It's heavy, awkward to carry and difficult to use.

Designed for use against drunken loonies armed with shotguns or storming drug-dens at dark o'clock.

I believe that if HE and a mag of 30 on auto were an available option to Plod, they'd not bother with shields either.
 
#3
From a technical perspective, those shields are ineffective against assault rifle or rifle bullets. Those shields will certainly not stop bullets from 12.7x99mm or 14.5x114mm cartridges.

Also I believe a lot of ambushes in Afghanistan are preceeded by mobility kills on the front/rear vehicles in resupply convoys, followed by RPGs and heavy machine guns to 300m+ from different directions.
 
#5
As someone who is involved in manufacturing body armour and ballistic plates, please allow me to chip in here.

Most Ballistic shields are only NIJ IIIA, and therefore will only stop 9mm & .45 rounds. NIJ IV shields would weight far too much; 6-10kg and would be of little tactical use.
 
#6
I have no soldiering experience but I've often wondered if the military technology community is going the wrong way when it comes to equipping our forces. Meaning we should go for a minimal armour, highly mobile with lots of firepower doctrine, than a less mobile, well protected, mediocre firepower approach. For example the weight spent on body armour could be spent giving infantry squads mortars, throwaway LAWs, laser-guided missiles, lots of 40mm grenades, etc.

Sure it would mean our soldiers are more vulnerable but their enemies will rue the day they tangled with a thusly equipped squad :). Wars are won by going on the offensive...
 
#7
Fair one they seem unsuitable for defending against high velocity rounds but would they not offer much protection against blasts? Not been on ops myself but have heard there is a nasty habit of IEDs sometimes being buried into compound doors / walls etc.
 
#8
@IndependantBoffin - read the 'The reality of Herrick' thread that's on here, goes into that exact same discussion and brings up some very good ideas. :)


As for the ballistic shield idea there might be an application for it somewhere, but if somebody gave me a 4 foot by 2 foot Osprey plate to carry around with me all day i'd tell em where to stick it. :D
 
#9
Green_Homer said:
Fair one they seem unsuitable for defending against high velocity rounds but would they not offer much protection against blasts? Not been on ops myself but have heard there is a nasty habit of IEDs sometimes being buried into compound doors / walls etc.
It would protect you against fragments but not blast effects (barotrauma), being flung about by shockwaves, stepping on landmines, etc. And if it is pointed the wrong way, i.e. your body between the shield and the blast, it might actually make things worse as the blast wave will reflect off the shield while ripping your arm off. E.g. soldiers standing in front of a wall and a blast going off in front of them are worse off than soldiers standing in an open field.

Dossbag said:
@IndependantBoffin - read the 'The reality of Herrick' thread that's on here, goes into that exact same discussion and brings up some very good ideas.
Cheers, I have that thread bookmarked and am on page 5. Have been up to other things (unrelated to the bad hair day in my profile pic, I assure you :D ) and haven't had a chance to read on yet :)
 
#10
Aren't te vast majority of injuries being caused by IED and blast? Carrying a damn heavy sheild around with you jus in case, is no better than BA, in fact its worse as you have to be able to anticipate when you'r about to get shot, and from where. While I don't know that much about them i can't see it doing you much good aainst blast though.

Just a thought.
 
#12
IndependentBoffin said:
It would protect you against fragments but not blast effects (barotrauma), being flung about by shockwaves, stepping on landmines, etc. And if it is pointed the wrong way, i.e. your body between the shield and the blast, it might actually make things worse as the blast wave will reflect off the shield while ripping your arm off. E.g. soldiers standing in front of a wall and a blast going off in front of them are worse off than soldiers standing in an open field.
Good point, makes perfect sense. How about the IED find scenario though where at least (bar secondary devices) the blast direction can be predicted, or is this not really warrented as by the time such a shield was needed then you would have pulled back enough and be awaiting the ATO?
 
#13
Green_Homer said:
IndependentBoffin said:
It would protect you against fragments but not blast effects (barotrauma), being flung about by shockwaves, stepping on landmines, etc. And if it is pointed the wrong way, i.e. your body between the shield and the blast, it might actually make things worse as the blast wave will reflect off the shield while ripping your arm off. E.g. soldiers standing in front of a wall and a blast going off in front of them are worse off than soldiers standing in an open field.
Good point, makes perfect sense. How about the IED find scenario though where at least (bar secondary devices) the blast direction can be predicted, or is this not really warrented as by the time such a shield was needed then you would have pulled back enough and be awaiting the ATO?
At the moment EOD personnel are overloaded with kit they take with them on the long walk to a suspected bomb. They are soldiers first and EOD second, so they carry their rifle, ammo, etc. with them to the suspected IED, as well as whatever else they need to identify/diagnose/defeat the bomb.

There's a reason why EOD personnel work without gloves, even when they have a full suit on the rest of their body. The last thing they need is a shield which will be heavy, block their view and hinder their dexterity. In fact the UK's Mk 6 EOD suit is noted for its wide field of view compared to suits of other countries, as well as allowing full rotation of the wrist, IIRC*.

They won't like working behind a shield, but maybe an EOD soldier here can confirm...

*Edit: Actually I can't remember if it was the EOD guy giving me the briefing who said that he personally preferred to roll his sleeves back to get full rotation of the wrist, or if it was an inherent feature of the Mk. 6 suit.
 

JINGO

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#14
We use a number of different types of Ballistic shields on my team they range from clip board size,to a full length search shield, and half size "Kent" shields. These are all proof against pistol calibre rounds and to a certain degree are manageable.The last resort is and RF Shield which is said to be resistant to rifle calibre rounds, we call it the "Bunker" Shield for good reason, i wouldnt like to carry it any further than out of the van and up the stairs.
I doubt our already overloaded troops would thank anyone for trundling these out to any great extent
 
#15
We have just started up-armouring Molle Belts (Blackhawk) due to requests by some clients. As they needed the belts, they did not see why the belt could not be a protective extention of the body armour. if this will catch on, i dont know! NIJ IIIA MOLLE BELT
 
#16
You link doesn't work

Why would you buy a belt that'll pinch your love handles between your body armour, degrades after one year, weighs the best part of a kilogramme and costs a hundred quid!!! :?
 
#18
IndependentBoffin said:
Green_Homer said:
IndependentBoffin said:
It would protect you against fragments but not blast effects (barotrauma), being flung about by shockwaves, stepping on landmines, etc. And if it is pointed the wrong way, i.e. your body between the shield and the blast, it might actually make things worse as the blast wave will reflect off the shield while ripping your arm off. E.g. soldiers standing in front of a wall and a blast going off in front of them are worse off than soldiers standing in an open field.
Good point, makes perfect sense. How about the IED find scenario though where at least (bar secondary devices) the blast direction can be predicted, or is this not really warrented as by the time such a shield was needed then you would have pulled back enough and be awaiting the ATO?
At the moment EOD personnel are overloaded with kit they take with them on the long walk to a suspected bomb. They are soldiers first and EOD second, so they carry their rifle, ammo, etc. with them to the suspected IED, as well as whatever else they need to identify/diagnose/defeat the bomb.

There's a reason why EOD personnel work without gloves, even when they have a full suit on the rest of their body. The last thing they need is a shield which will be heavy, block their view and hinder their dexterity. In fact the UK's Mk 6 EOD suit is noted for its wide field of view compared to suits of other countries, as well as allowing full rotation of the wrist, IIRC*.

They won't like working behind a shield, but maybe an EOD soldier here can confirm...

*Edit: Actually I can't remember if it was the EOD guy giving me the briefing who said that he personally preferred to roll his sleeves back to get full rotation of the wrist, or if it was an inherent feature of the Mk. 6 suit.
Sorry for clarity I didn't mean the EOD using them, meant the intitial bod on the ground who actually finds the thing. As is, bloke finds suspected IED but needs to confirm it and might like some sort of additional blast shield for that initial stage.

But again good point about visiblity and Jingo has pretty much made the point about weight
 
#19
Green_Homer said:
Sorry for clarity I didn't mean the EOD using them, meant the intitial bod on the ground who actually finds the thing. As is, bloke finds suspected IED but needs to confirm it and might like some sort of additional blast shield for that initial stage.

But again good point about visiblity and Jingo has pretty much made the point about weight
Well, you're right that AFAIK the average soldier these days must make a basic assessment of whether a suspect device is likely to be a bomb, before calling out the EOD.

However, as it is there is much research interest in lightening the load on the infantryman, and I just don't see them or their commanders wanting to add ballistic shields to what they are carrying, on the off chance that they might be needed, won't be overmatched and would be pointing in the right direction. Carrying 70kg of kit in the Afghan climate with a bullet resistant vest over that must be the height of discomfort.

Now if you could come up with blast and bullet resistant armour that's cheap, thin, flexible and light you would be a millionaire :)
 
#20
Green_Homer said:
Very random thought just popped into my head while watching something on TV re: some SWAT type unit.

Basically it got me thinking about the ballistic shields they use (note I'm not talking about those clear type riot shields but the heavier kevlar type) and whether there is any practical purpose for them in a more mainstream mil capacity.

For example would they be of any use when doing compound clearences out in Afghan or as some sort of additional protection when confirming an IED find or would they not be worth the additional weight penalty?
:?

Otherwise surely it's fairly cheap way of providing a more additional but flexible armour option as they can alway be left behind / in the vehicle
I've used them on police operations and they provide good ballistic cover for a static negotiating position or for a slow moving house search. That said, I don't know how effective they'd be against automatic 7.62 fire though better than nothing I suppose. The main problem for military ops (I imagine) is that they are very heavy. Carrying one in 40 degree heat for any distance and at any speed would be brutally hard work.
 

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