2020 and early 2021 saw a lot of civil unrest. Both the far left and the far-right held heated protests. Because of this, many people are more familiar with police ballistic shields than ever; but how do they work? 

Ballistic shields are extremely important for the safety of police officers. Often, ballistic riot shields are the only thing keeping cops from projectiles hurled by protesters. 

If you’ve found yourself asking questions about police shields, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through a brief introduction.  

Levels of Defense

Just like bulletproof vests, ballistics shields come in a variety of levels of protection. The higher the level, the more impact the shield can protect against. 

Level I is actually not known as a ballistic shield but as a riot shield. It has a different shape, material, and cannot be used to protect against firearms. It’s mainly used to protect against throw bottles, fragmentation, and hand-to-hand attacks by protestors. 

Levels II and IIIA protect against varying strengths of handguns, but not against rifles. Level III protects against rifles. Level IV protects against armor-piercing rounds. 

It should also be noted that the higher levels are more cumbersome and harder to maneuver. This is why it’s important for law enforcement to accurately assess the danger of a given situation. 

Shapes and Sizes

Ballistic shields come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They range from the large rectangular shields that you normally see, to small round shields reminiscent of bucklers. Each shield has its own advantage and usage. 

For example, a larger, tower-shield will most likely require one person’s full strength to operate. They’ll need to work with another officer if they want to return fire to a criminal. 

Smaller shields allow handguns to be fired while shields are being used. They also offer options in case the police need to retreat. 

Most contemporary shields feature a viewport that officers can see from. Visibility is extremely important in crisis situations, and police shouldn’t have to rely on colleagues for visibility. 

Police shields don’t just vary in shape and size, they vary in quality. Any police force needs to make sure that they’re using top-of-the-line equipment; shields created by Blueridge are some of the best on the market.


Depending on the type of protest going on, riot shields are used in different ways. The most obvious examples of usage are protection against fire projectiles and as a bashing weapon. However, did you know that they can also be used in certain complex configurations, to cover all bases of protection?

They’re also known as extremely useful in herding dangerous animals. 

Understand Police Ballistic Shields

In times of civil unrest, law enforcement needs something to rely on. Police ballistic shields are some of the most important pieces of protection available. Before they go into tough situations, police need to consider the levels of defense, shape/size, and use of various types of ballistic shields. 

For more articles like this, check out our “education” section. 

By Hemant Kumar

I am a zealous writer who loves learning, redesigning the information, and sharing the original content in an innovative and embellish manner. I hope you will find my work beneficial and entertaining. Happy Reading!