Riot shields call for a compact and also mobile design. As a result, most riot shields weigh much less than ballistic shields.

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The shield’s weight will vary by size, thickness, features, and also materials used. Rectangle-shaped shields have tendency to weigh in between 6 - 14 lbs (2.7 - 6.5 kg), while most circular shields weigh approximately 4 - 5 lbs (1.8 - 2.3 kg).

Size, Shape and also Design


Riot shields are commonly round or rectangle-shaped in shape and are do of transparent polycarbonate or plastic. While your size deserve to vary, most rectangular shields tend to be in between 36 and 48 inch long, normally covering a user’s human body from head come knee. This shields are frequently 20 to 24 inches (51-61 cm) wide. Circular shields are frequently 24 inch (61 cm) in diameter.

These shields need to have a combination of speed and also durability. They have to be solid enough to resist the affect and risks from projectiles and also threats (like flames in theHong Kong protestimage below) and also be light and compact enough for an officer to use quickly.

Riot police in Hong Kong close to a fire set off by protestors

Most lytic shields areflat or concave (curves inward) to direction projectiles, liquids, and also other hazards. Some record shields are convex (curve outward). These help an officer or agent pin an aggressor against a wall during cell extractions and violent outbursts. Some shields room designed come interlock to boost protection in huge scale disturbances. This forces officers to occupational together to ensure there room no protection gaps.

Paulson convex shields supplied for corrections

Finally, there room hybrid shields prefer the EXS-B02 pictured below. These have a bubble design that curves outwards. This architecture prevents thrown liquids from hitting the officer.

This is additionally a heavy-duty “bubble” lytic shield used for wild riot operations. The outward-facing bubble allows the user to move freely behind it during anti-riot operations v aggressive protestors.

Police making use of bubble lytic shields

Learn around Ballistic Shields

Color and Finish

As mentioned above, most shields space clear, which enables the officer to check out without obstructions.

Some riot shields are made the aluminum alloy or other metals. While these minimize some of the officer’s visibility, they carry out a tactical benefit as protestorscannot view what the officer is holding. These are renowned in riot instances where there might be flammable threats like Molotov cocktails. They also perform well in dealing with projectiles. Several of these metal shields even have feet drilled into them to permit the officers to see.

Riot police in Honduras using a range of shields (Photo Credit: Reuters, Jorge Cabrera)

Select shield models deserve to be customized with ID labels or nameplates on the front the identifies the firm like Police, Corrections, Security, and also Sheriff. This helps identify to what room they belong.

Riot shield manufacturers likewise consider the health and also well-being of rioters together well. Basic design features like rounded edges and protective rubber buffers covering any kind of outward-facing bolt heads aid minimize damage and also pain if a shield access time someone.


Riot shields need to be lightweight and also comfortable come hold and operate for expanded periods. The officer requirements to quickly adjust the shield angle and easily block or deflect the threat as well as possible. Also, the officer demands to be able to position the shield to relocate forward or behind or also run if needed.

Handle style is of tremendous value in making every this possible. Over there is a great resource onCorrectionsOne that gives information ~ above shield handles. A couple of key handle style points indigenous that short article are listed below:

The handle are built of either metal or reinforced plastic and are molded for this reason the user deserve to make a fist to aid in holding them.The handles room fastened to the shield by grommets or glued.Various varieties of handles allow for different positions top top the arm and with transferring positions. Velcro Strapping Systems space strongly recommended!

Some handle varieties include:

Tri-Grip (or triangle ambidextrous) manage for different carry methodsThe double handle offers improved stability and strength (useful when pinning down a human with capture shields)Comfort-molded cradle take care of with high-density foam add to comfort and also strengthReversible manage with breakaway strap designStrap or loop only

For cases where physical confrontation is a possibility, an additional arm holder (usually a strap) deserve to be included to organize the shield in 2 places; by the hand and also around the arm. These room ambidextrous designs that occupational with one of two people hand with the shield needs to be rotated 180 degrees to switch transferring hands. This is the likely reason why part riot shields in pictures have actually ID labels (Police, Sheriff, etc.) that show up upside down.

Like anything else, occasionally handles break and also need to it is in replaced. Pick manufacturers sell replacement handles. Top the manufacturer"s recommendations and warranty prior to purchasing or installing a distinctive handle mechanism to an existing shield.

Riot shields space designed v no outside protrusions (surface or item) come act together a manage or allude for protestors come grab onto. That means that any accessories need to be an installed to the inside of the shield or included into the handle.

For example, theTake down Tactical Handlefrom Mace Tactical Solutions deserve to be an installed to the inside of shields to provide OC aerosol spray to most riot or capture shields.

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Thanks to Tracey Willmott, Mario Cugini, Phillip Spencer and also Chris Sfedu for their assistance.