The Safariland Group Blog

PROTECH® Defender Type IIIA: 17 Years Later

June 19, 2013 at 14:54
Posted in Hard Armor
If you take a 17-year old microwave out of storage and pop in your favorite frozen dinner, would the microwave perform like it was in its prime? I’m not sure; I’ve never attempted it.

But, if you take a 17-year old ballistic shield and decide to shoot a variety of handgun rounds at it, would the shield perform like it was in its prime? Actually, I do have an answer for this one!

A few months ago, Tony Gonzalez, a certified shield instructor with the Safariland Training Group, received an email from Officer Jacob Gaines of the Ruston Police Department in Ruston, LA. Gaines completed our Shield Instructor’s Course and was excited to share the news of a shield class he taught his department.

Prior to the department training, the Ruston SWAT team discovered a PROTECH® Defender Type IIIA shield they purchased in 1996. “Naturally”, since the warranty was expired, the team decided they should take it out to the range and see how the 17-year old shield would perform. (This reminds me of my childhood days when I would take my GI Joe and see how it would perform under extreme conditions - know what I mean?)

Excited to rip apart the 17-year old shield, the team didn’t hold back and they first shot the shield with approximately 150-175 duty rounds including a 9mm, .40 cal and .45 cal. Thinking that perhaps they had penetrated the shield, the team examined the Defender and realized that it had stopped every round, demonstrating multi-hit capability not only in the shield body, but also in the viewport.

Feeling pretty confident and eager to put the shield to its limits, the guys took an MP5 9mm on full-auto from about 12 feet away, pumped four rounds of a 00 Buck and fired two 1300 fps high velocity slugs and again, the Defender stopped every round, including multiple hits to the viewport. Talk about impressive!

Finally, the team decided to push the shield beyond its limits and shot the shield with two rifle rounds that the handgun-threat Defender shield is not rated to stop - a .223 55 grain round at a velocity of approximately 3,000 fps and a .17 HMR round traveling at approximately 2,500 fps, which ultimately penetrated the shield.

“Needless to say, everyone including myself was very impressed and has even more confidence in the use of the shield,” said Officer Gaines.

Dan McNeil is Director of PROTECH® Tactical, a brand of The Safariland Group. Through various roles including sales, technical support and category management, he’s been a leader in the hard armor and tactical armor industry for more than 20 years.

Tony Gonzales is a 30-year veteran of the Houston Police Department with 17 years as a full time SWAT team member. He started with The Safariland Group in 2008 and is currently a Senior Technical Training Instructor with the Safariland Training Group.

Jacob Gaines has been an officer with the Ruston Police Department in Ruston, Louisiana for four years starting in patrol. He is currently a member of the SWAT Team.


How Can Schools Become Better Prepared for “Active Shooter” Situations?

January 2, 2013 at 13:36
Posted in General
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I write this with a heavy heart. As I cannot imagine the terror within the classrooms that was brought upon those children and staff members, I consider the fact that most active shootings take only a few minutes to happen and the vast majority are over by the time the Police arrive. I strongly believe that the personnel at Sandy Hook responded valiantly and we consider them heroes, and so I wonder how we can better prepare such heroes to... Read More »

Ballistic Shield Shooting Tips

October 16, 2012 at 16:36
Posted in Hard Armor
In my opinion, the ballistic shield is still best used in conjunction with a handgun. Original shield designs and training supported this concept, but as the tactical community has become more and more long gun friendly, students are constantly looking for techniques that will allow the use of long guns with their shield. The first thing I must point out is that I truly support the use of long guns in tactical operations, however to get the most protection from a ballistic shield the shooter... Read More »

Breaching As You've Never Done it Before

September 27, 2012 at 14:36
Posted in Less Lethal

Gaining entry to a structure is one of the most stressful aspects of a tactical team’s movement.  The bunching of people and... Read More »

Securing Borders and Saving Lives

September 5, 2012 at 14:04
Posted in Armor Systems

Law enforcement officers patrolling the Texas-Mexico border have their work cut out for them attempting to staunch smuggling and other illegal activity along the 1,200-mile border. So, the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol’s Marine Tactical Unit is taking a new approach to secure the line and prevent... Read More »

How to Win a Gunfight! Part IV: Be Smart and Don't Hesitate

August 22, 2012 at 10:57

Part ISmart

You must be smart about when and where you decide to fight.  Those in law enforcement don’t always have the luxury of picking when to fight, but often I read or hear about officers that forced a confrontation or made the fight fair when they didn’t have to. ... Read More »

How to Win a Gunfight Part III: Keep Your Cool and You Might Get Lucky

August 14, 2012 at 14:16
Posted in Hard Armor
Ice Water This next part of the equation is harder to learn, if it can be learned at all. I like to call it the Joe Montana or Roger Stauback syndrome. It’s that ice water in the veins, that coolness under pressure effect that is hard to teach. Most people that have it were born with it to an extent. They just don’t tend to get that excited even when others all around them do. This can be a huge advantage in a gunfight. Read More »

How To Win A Gunfight Part II

August 2, 2012 at 19:30
Posted in Hard Armor
We all know how important training can be, but not just any training – it has to be the right training – performed with purpose, meaning, and on a repetitive basis. The first thing to get cut from Law Enforcement (LE) budgets in TOUGH economic times like these is training, yet the threats aren’t cut – they remain clear and present and do not care about the economy. Read More »

How To Win A Gunfight Part I

July 13, 2012 at 11:42
Posted in Hard Armor
It’s high noon and the Sheriff slowly steps out onto a vacant street to meet his adversary and maybe his death. His duster is slung back to expose the gun belt and six-shooter that he carries low and tethered to his leg. With his hat pulled down firmly to where one can barely see his steely eyes that pierce the day, he scans left and right for the ambush that would change this gunfight into something he could not survive. Yet there is not a trace of fear or worry about his fate or the unknown... Read More »

Custom is What we Do: No Job too Big or Small

June 4, 2012 at 17:13
Posted in Armor Systems
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