Ballistic Shield Tactics

Picture for a second that you’re at work. This isn’t a particularly exciting day in the office; actually, it’s pretty quiet. Suddenly, it takes a dangerous turn. You hear shots fired from another area of the building. It’s an active shooter.

You hop out of your chair grabbing your deployable ballistic shield such as our PopShield along the way. Your heart is beating quickly, and you know there are two options. Either you stay put and hide under the desk, hoping that the shooter doesn’t see you. Or you tactically approach the shooter in order to take him down and protect your coworkers.

As you can imagine, taking down a gunner while remaining as protected as possible by a ballistic shield is a difficult thing to do—no matter how many SWAT movies you’ve watched.

There are, however, lots of things to learn from the way the law enforcement approaches tactical situations. Below are some essential tactics to practice and remember in case you find yourself in active shooter situation.

Ballistic Shield Tactics: How to Properly Use One (Professional Tips for Civilians)

First Off, Remain as Calm as Possible

This one should go without saying, but adrenaline and anxiety can let things get out of control rather quickly. Focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling both slowly and deeply.

This basic technique will help keep your heart rate under control, which will also keep your hands steady—especially important if you’re carrying a handgun.

It’s All About the Stance

Operating and moving with your ballistic shield in an aggressive stance is vital in remaining as safe as possible.

The most basic is the combat stance. This stance is most commonly used by law enforcement entry teams in tactical situations, and can save your life too.

In this combat stance, you should be focused on being hidden completely behind the shield, with your non-dominant hand holding it steady and pointing it towards the shooter. If you’re carrying a weapon or offering assistance to someone else, this should be done with your dominant hand. In the case you do have a handgun, it should be held in your dominate hand—ready to shoot.

While aiming your weapon, keep it close to the outside of the shield. It should be held far enough in front that it will not strike the shield under recoil. At all costs, you should avoid having to look or shoot over the top of the shield.

Keeping moving in a situation is equally important, though it should be done efficiently and safely. Focus on moving forward while keeping the shield as steady as possible. This is important in keeping your limbs and head covered at all times.

Shield Position

 The shield position—also known as shouldering the shield—is meant for when a situation is under control. In this position, you’ll hold the shield at your non-dominant or support side, covering your body as much as possible. This will give you the opportunity to assist others with your dominant side.

So why cover your body by shouldering the shield if the situation has calmed down? It’s in case there’s another surprise attack. For example, a bystander unexpectedly turning on you. Being in the shield position will allow you to quickly return to combat stance and use your handgun as needed, and deflect any oncoming bullets or knife attacks.

Control Your Speed When Moving

Don’t get ahead of yourself when approaching or retreating from an active shooter situation. Take your time, making sure that all areas are clear before moving into them. Check doorways, empty rooms, behind objects, or anywhere else that another shooter could be hiding. In the case that you rush into or past a separate attacker, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to gunfire from a non-protected side.

As previously mentioned, move efficiently and do your best to keep the cover of the shield over your body at all times. This could be lifesaving.

Reloading Your Handgun While Using a Ballistic Shield

The easiest solution when running out of ammunition behind a ballistic shield is to have a second handgun fully loaded. Though, that’s probably only practical for law enforcement officers.

In the case you do run out of ammunition and have a second magazine, there’s a couple simple steps in quickly reloading your handgun.

  • Place the handgun in your non-dominant, shield support hand
  • Using your dominant hand, release and remove the magazine
  • Replace the empty magazine with a loaded clip from your holster
  • Retrieve the weapon with your dominant hand and return it to combat position

At Shield Technology Inc., we have plenty of professional training with our PopShield daily. These are just a few tips to get the most use out of a deployable ballistic shield. For additional information, contact us below.