Body Shields for Home Defense

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

A few weeks ago I posted an article on items in our mail and among the items was the Hardcore Alpha Shield. Being a firm believer in body armor as an essential piece of home security equipment and in shields in particular as a quickly don’ed item that can be close to where you keep your primary home defense weapon, I wanted to expand on their value as a personal protection device, as something preppers should consider in their inventory of must-have items, even if it does not fit in your BOB.

Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal

Note that this does not mean that I am not still a fan of a good body armor carrier as your go-to protection when faced with an armed confrontation. A quality body armor solution provides a level of protection that is don’ed and forgotten as you confront a threat, one that can carry a medical kit, communications devices, a back-up weapon and extra magazines (none of which explode when hit with a round, except of course, when it is in a movie).

However, as a grab and go solution to most threats civilians will face, the pluses of a good shield can’t be beat. Yes, you do lose the use of one arm to hold the shield, but what better use can you think of for your non-dominant arm in such a situation? Besides, in any form of hand-to-hand combat this is the natural position you would assume anyway, the non-dominant arm as a protector, so the shield feels completely natural.

Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal

Shields come in NIJ Level III-A protection, and NIJ rated Level IV protection and Hardcore Defense sent their Alpha Shield for testing. It is rated NIJ Level III-A, very well balanced and comfortable to hold, easy to adjust and to maneuver. I had been telling them I am really looking forward to testing it as soon as I can get away from the keyboard, which was proving more of a challenge than I expected.

Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal

However today was “the day” and I slipped out early, taking advantage of people slowly returning from their Labor Day weekend activities. I shot the Alpha Shield with a Glock 17 Gen 4 9 mm, a CZ P-10 9 mm, a Glock 36 45 ACP, a Coonan .357 Magnum Auto as well as a Smith & Wesson M&P .357 Magnum and a Thompson Contender 44 Magnum with a 14″ barrel. It looks the worse for wear but only cosmetically and no penetrations, no back-face deformation from any of the rounds. And BTW, while I love the other barrels I have for my Thompson Contender, the 44 Magnum can only be described as “unpleasant” to shoot. I am processing the photos and the short video and will attach them to the post as soon as possible.

Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper JournalBody Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper JournalBody Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal

In the mean time there is a very impressive video by Demolition Ranch that provides not only an excellent test of the Hardcore Alpha Shield, but puts to rest the term “bullet-proof”. ALWAYS be suspicious of anything that claims to be “bullet-proof” as it is simply not achievable. If we can build it we can build something to penetrate it. And Matt of Demolition Ranch finally achieves this with a round that far exceeds the NIJ Level III-A standards (and Level IV as well) but only after that same Alpha Shields has defeated a number of other rounds far above its rating, nothing short of amazing. (BTW, I was lucky enough to meet Matt and his wife at Shot Shot 2017 in Las Vegas – total class act.)

And You Think YOU Have a Weight Problem

While a ceramic Level IV plate measuring 10″ x 12″, designed to fit a plate carrier, can be as light as 4.4 lbs. and cost as much as $700 each, a ballistic rated steel plate of the same size and rating is 8.3 lbs and runs about $155. Shield are usually 15″ x 25″ in size. So at 14 lbs. for the Alpha Shield it is obvious that Hardcore has done its homework. And priced at $299, impressive. (Hardcore also makes their Bravo Shield for law enforcement personnel who are more likely to face rifle-level threats, rated at NIJ Level IV for $1,499. and weighing just 25 lbs.)

Body Shields for Home Defense - The Prepper Journal9 mm round completely contains by the coating

The trade-off here is that in order to keep it as lightweight as possible it is sans of a spall and frag coating and as long as everyone you care about is behind you this is okay (except for any expensive furniture.) The frag from a defeated round can seriously injure or even kill someone who is too close to your left or right side and not completely behind you. One of the reasons I waited to test the shield is I wanted to do it at a closed range where I had control of all the surrounding areas. I have open access to an indoors facility but I know from past experience that each light in the facility costs $119, the Hepa-rated exhaust filters in the ceiling cost upwards of $1,000 each, and that the specially designed wall-boards cost more than $8,000.

The bottom line is the absence of a spall and frag coating is a valid trade-off as weight can quickly become a problem, kudos to Hardcore Defense. I think every prepper should take a closer look at a shield not only for home defense, but as a piece of equipment transported to your bug-out location for you security needs.

As to the future of this particular Hardcore Alpha Shield, I think it is going to spend the rest of my life (it will outlast us all) keeping my go-to Glock company at home. Be safe out there and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!


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A former rocket scientist (really) who has traveled the world, father, freedom lover, hates to stay indoors, and loves wild places, people and things. PC challenged, irreverent but always relevant and always looking to learn new things.

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Home defense is kind of redundant, people need to post on where you will actually get harmed. I have found myself in dangerous situations where you would least expect it, for example farm country changing a flat tire, next thing you know I had a 30-06 pointed at my head, let me tell you guys it is better to be the murderer than the victim ALWAYS ALWAYS carry a firearm and do not hesitate to use it (don’t leave it in the truck like i did)

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