Riot shields require a compact and easily movable design. Therefore, the weight of most riot control shields is lighter than bulletproof shields. The weight of the shields will vary depending on the size, thickness, function, and material used. The weight of rectangular shields is often between 6 to 14 pounds (2.7 to 6.5 kilograms), while most circular shields weigh around 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kilograms).
Riot shields are usually circular or rectangular and made of transparent polycarbonate or plastic. Although their size can vary, the length of most rectangular shields is often between 36 to 48 inches, typically covering the user's body from head to knee. The width of these shields is usually 20 to 24 inches (51-61 cm). The diameter of circular shields is usually 24 inches (61 cm). These shields must have both speed and durability. They need to be sturdy enough to withstand impacts and threats from projectiles and dangers, while also being light and compact enough for quick deployment.
Most riot control shields are flat or concave (inwardly curved) to deflect projectiles, liquids, and other hazards. Some capture shields are convex (outwardly curved), which helps officers or agents to pin intruders to the wall during cell extraction and violent outbreaks. Some shields are designed to interlock to increase protection in large-scale disturbances. This forces officers to work together to ensure there are no protection loopholes.
The lifespan of anti riot shield may be short depending on what is thrown at them or the impacts they receive. Generally, it is a good idea to replace riot control shields after extensive use during riots or after storing for more than 3 to 5 years. If a user sees cracks or fragments, or it appears to have lost flexibility, they should consider replacing it. Given the differences in riot control shields, their lifespan will vary. Different manufacturers offer different warranties for their shields. This will depend on the manufacturer, riot control shield structure, and the damage suffered. If stored properly and with minimal damage, riot control shields can be used indefinitely. That is, a few riot control shield manufacturers state that under normal use and appropriate conditions, these shields can be used for 3 to 5 years. Users must check their shields annually to ensure they have not suffered damage during storage, so they are ready for deployment.
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