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The Ballistic Shield

Some teams equip the point man with a ballistic shield to gain additional protection against a surprise shot when carrying out the initial move into a building or up stairways. A Level IV shield will defeat a .30-06 round and gives the entry team a substantial advantage. It takes practice to use the viewing port in a ballistic shield effectively and even more practice to shoot effectively using the shield. Ballistic shields are also invaluable should it be necessary to rescue a team member who has been hit or for recovering an injured hostage.
Some teams have developed a particular drill using ballistic shields, when moving down a hallway where a threat may be presented from either side, two men can form a V with their shields, with the one on the left holding his pistol in the right hand and the one on the right holding his pistol in the left hand. For moving in an area where the threat may be concentrated on one side, the shields can be used to form an L when moving. For moving where there is a threat from above, a 'turtle' may be formed by putting one shield towards the front and another overhead. Any of these techniques involving movement by two or more shield bearers, requires a degree of practice and coordination so that the personnel carrying the ballistic shields can step together for smoothness of advance.

Room entry with the ballistic shield:
When it comes to clearing individual rooms, however, a shield can slow down the operation. Using a ballistic shield is good in a barricaded subject call, but is not wise for hostage rescue. The biggest problem with the shield is that the operator is reduced to shooting a pistol and this has to be done one handed. When using a shield, the operator will often have to cant the gun; this shooting position is not the same position as most of his firearms training and thus correct muscle memory is lost. In deciding to use a shield, one must compare the value of increased ballistic protection with the loss of speed, manoeuvrability and use of a shoulder weapon.

The best way to use a shield in rooms is the 3 man formation shown in the diagram. Operator ❶ is equipped with a shield and a handgun. He will move straight into the room clearing everything to his front, , Operator ❷ and ❸ take the hard corners and move into the room.

- Defined areas of responsibility.
- Direction in room is determined before entry.
- Defined fields of fire.
- The first operator in the room is has better protection.

- Not as quick as some other methods.
- The first operator has to shoot a pistol one handed.


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