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