One of the most innovative law enforcement products on display at last month's Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was a new shield from Baker Ballistics that offers multi-hit protection from armor-piercing rifle bullets such as .30/06 M2, 5.56 x 45mm AP, and 7.62 x 54mm (Dragunov) steel core, and is easily carried by a single armed shield operator.
Baker Ballistics teamed up with Advanced Accuracy Solutions (AAS) to produce a combination of its MRAPS-IV-XL (mobile rifle armor protective shield level four, extra large) and AAS' The Reaper shield support (TRSS) system. The Reaper support system is mounted in a backpack, enabling an operator to position a heavy shield hands free by suspending the shield in front of the operator from a beam that contains a weight-sensing reel, cable, and hydraulics.
Baker Ballistics' CEO Rick Armellino says The Reaper transfers the weight of the shield to the operator's shoulder and hips, greatly increasing the amount of protection the operator can carry and substantially reducing muscle fatigue. He adds the system's hydraulics keep the shield in place so that it is weight neutral and not pulling down or up.
Armellino says the 38-pound Baker Ballistics' NIJ Level IV rated MRAPS-IV-XL ballistic shield is constructed from an advanced hybrid ceramic and polyethylene armor composite. An optional ancillary 10-pound Level IIIA armored shield cover, designated the Ballistic ROC (rough operations cover), was designed to enhance the versatility and capability of the system.
The original ROC cover was non-ballistic and only protected the ceramic face of a smaller Level IV shield model from fracture caused by rough transport, drops, or impact with other equipment. Baker Ballistics decided to add Level IIIA armor capability, which greatly increased protective capabilities for a variety of important reasons.
The new Ballistic ROC offers many advantages, according to Armellino. First, it effectively captures common handgun bullets, preserving them for evidence while preventing damage to the Level IV shield immediately behind. When positioned over the ceramics, it contains hazardous projectile and ceramic fragments that splash off the hard ceramic surface during bullet impacts, protecting personnel from injury caused by fragmentation. At the discretion of the operator, this secondary armor panel can be quickly lowered to provide additional Level IIIA cover beneath the primary Level IV ballistic shield.
"We've designed the Ballistic ROC so it will instantly drop down to protect the operator's legs, including the knees," Armellino says. "If necessary the operator simply squats and the Ballistic ROC, in conjunction with the primary MRAPS-IV-XL shield, provides head-to-toe coverage from assailants firing handgun and shotgun rounds low, including common rifle rounds first deflected off the floor or ground." The Ballistic ROC also swiftly detaches from the primary rifle protective shield, providing an additional significantly sized ballistic shield for use by a second officer. Both the MRAPS-IV-XL and Ballistic ROC shields allow ambidextrous use of a handgun or long gun to facilitate accurately aimed firepower.
Armellino says the MRAPS-IV-XL and The Reaper combination are easier to use and more versatile than other Level IV portable rifle protection systems on the market. "Those systems use wheels and dollies, and cannot maneuver on stairs and certain types of terrain," he explains. Another advantage of The Reaper-MRAPS IV-XL system is it can be easily and rapidly deployed. Armellino says an operator can put on the system in less than a minute without any help.
Baker Ballistics is now taking orders for the MRAPS-IV-XL with The Reaper system. Pricing, including the Ballistic ROC, is under $10,000.