Ballistic shields are used to protect a person from bullets and dangerous projectiles and are typically used by police forces and emergency response teams when armed resistance is expected. The National Institute of Justice provides a grading system for these devices based on the level of protection they offer, as follows:
• Level 2 – these shields are made of soft armor and can stop most common handgun rounds including .45, 9mm, .4 and .357.
• Level 3A – made of soft armor or hard armor, these protect against all handgun rounds up to .44 as well as submachine rounds and 12 guage shotgun rounds.
• Level 3 – these shields are made from hard armor and offer protection against rifle round up to 7.62mm
• Level 4 – a level 4 ballistic shield offers the highest level of protection and protects against all rounds in previous levels as well as armor piercing rifle rounds.