Preppers and survivalists are always on the look out for additional ways to provide security and safety to their family or group. As I was sitting here at my computer I began to think about the issue of security. It occurred to me that a question could be raised as to which would be better for protection – the ballistic shield or a ballistic vest? Before we can accurately determine which is the better choice it would first be necessary to understand what each of these are and the differences which exist between them. We will start out by defining the popular ballistic shield. We have all seen these items in use as we watch the news during periods of civil unrest. A ballistic shield is a protective device designed to either deflect or to stop bullets which are fired at the carrier.
The modern day ballistic shield is specially designed to defend the person from potential handguns, long guns or shotgun projectile threats. In addition to protecting the person from bullets they will generally protect from stabbing types of weaponry as well as hand-thrown projectiles like arrows or even rocks.
Reputable manufacturer usually design ballistic type of shields to conform to specific protection levels. The common hand carried type of ballistic shield will defend against high-velocity bullets. One version better known as mantlets are a type of rolling armored panels with wheels which are shoved along the road or ground. The current materials used to construct shields today produce more efficient and greater bullet protective products.
When one is about to determine the appropriate shield design to use one must take into consideration the mission for which it is being used for. This way shields usually will be appropriate for a specific potential threat. It is also important to know if the shield will be used for observation or for actual defense. Unfortunately, there are none designed that supports the “one size fits all” concept of shield design. No one shield is capable of dealing with all potential threats. As an example, the hand carried wooden shield can be provided with a clear material viewing visor, various lighting systems, a convenient kickstand, straps to carrying it with as well as an assortment of other options and features. Some designs remain more basic in nature and provide the simplest of armor panel protection with a handle that is merely bolted onto it.
Now let’s briefly talk about the bulletproof vests. Often known as ballistic vests these items of personal armor help to absorb and reduce the any impact received from firearm projectiles or even from shrapnel experienced from an explosion. It is usually a personal torso worn piece of equipment rather than held in front of them. The soft style vests are usually made from layers of laminated fibers is able to protect the user from most small caliber handguns, projectiles emitted from shotguns and explosive generated small fragments.
When used with ceramic or metal plates this type of armor vests can add additional protection against ammunition from rifles and stabbing attacks from knives. The soft vests frequently are worn by not only the police force members but also by at risk private citizens. The hard plate vests are generally worn by soldiers in combat and tactical police units. It is the usual procedure to combine body armor with other forms of clothing intended to protect the person such as combat helmets, side protective and ballistic shoulder reinforced components in addition to face visor equipped helmets.
In some countries in Europe purchasing and owning a vest may not be legal this if you are a resident of those nations you may not have a choice. Even when presented with no other means of self protection this option may not exist for you. The right to bear arms is not a universal right in all countries. Perhaps that is why American treasure their second amendment constitutional right so much. In those restricted nations attempting to purchase a vest would arouse a considerable amount of suspicion. This led to the choice having to be a shield and often the homemade version. Fortunately, here in the United States possession of body armor for convicted felons is highly prohibited. As with the federal government various states also restricts use of body armor by felons. Most of the states in America do not have any sort of restrictions for ownership of body armor by non-felons.
Now that we understand that a ballistic shield is intended to protect a greater amount of surface area than a vest we can evaluate which would be more beneficial to us in relation to being a survivalist. As an example if you are behind a ballistic shield there is little chance that an attacker will get lucky and striking you in one of the gaps found in a vest’s armor. The downside of the shield is that it is bulky and it will only protect a person from one direction only. This would place you at a large disadvantage in those situations where someone might be approaching you from behind. Naturally, even with a vest someone with a gun aimed at the back of your neck along with another person rushing you from the front would place you in jeopardy.
In concluding this article we must keep in mind that the shield can be used as an effective weapon in the hands of a skillful user and if properly designed. The edge of a shield is capable of breaking a person’s neck if properly swung. It can also dislocate an attacker’s arm if struck at the armpit area with a sufficient amount of force. The major disadvantage here is that if your shield is heavy enough to be used as a formidable weapon than it likely would not be comfortable swinging it around in a fast fight. With all these thoughts in mind and taking all considerations together my personal opinion would be that the vest would be the best option when complimented with a quality helmet.
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