A curiosity in the Baker Ballistics booth at SHOT Show 2011 was a well-dressed gentleman wearing slacks, a button-down shirt, and tie and an outerwear ballistic vest. Tactically dapper? He was Rick Armellino, Baker Ballistics Director and CEO.
Armellino was kitted up with the Nylon/Kevlar vest to demonstrate the capabilities of the new M.R.A.P.S. (Mobile Rifle Armor Protective Shield). The M.R.A.P.S. is a military grade composite shield designed for CQB, with a shooting platform integrated into the forward portion. There is a “V” cut into the top quarter of the shield which cradles an AR15, preferably with a vertical foregrip .
The shield, which weighs 17.6 lbs, is supported by a lanyard system that hooks into the operator’s ballistic vest, as Armellino was wearing. (Note: since this article was written, the shield has gone through a number of changes and its current total weight is listed as 19.2 pounds – still much lighter than most of the rifle capable shields available on the market.)
The lanyard straps have a single quick release pull tab to extricate the operator from the shield if necessary. Armellino positioned an AR in the channel and showed us the orientation of the lanyard straps. He demonstrated some basic positions for us, to include storming the floor adjacent to their booth!
The shield itself is N.I.J. Level III certified. This is excellent protection for a 34”x20” tapered bunker weighing only around 17 lbs. It can withstand multiple hits from 5.56×45 and 7.62×39. The ballistic coverage amounts to 4.2 sq. ft.
It is available in Black, Sand, and Green. Light kits and left-handed versions are optional.
MSRP for a basic model is $4125. Considering that most tactical teams carry ballistic shields at N.I.J. IIIA, in a comparable weight, this rifle protection is well worth the entry price.
We happened by the Baker booth about four hours later and Mr. Armellino was still hanging tough and still tactically dapper.