OFFICER LABS BlueRidge Armor X7 Shield Review

April 23, 2024
The OFFICER team tested this shield to and beyond published limits and it performed without flaw.

There are some products that are relatively easy to test because their function is, while essential, quite simple. Soft body armor, hard plates and ballistic shields are among the list of “easy to test.” The questions to be answered during the testing process are what makes it simple. Is the armor (worn or carried) easy and comfortable for the necessary period of time? Does it stop all of the types of ammunition that it is supposed to? So, when we received the BlueRidge Armor Vengeance X7 ballistic shield to test as part of our OFFICER Labs program, what we had to test was easy: Can it be easily and comfortably carried? And will it stop all of the rounds it is supposed to?

This article appeared in the March/April issue of OFFICER Magazine. Click Here to subscribe to OFFICER Magazine.

The test protocols were simple. After unpacking the shield, we adjusted the lower strap for comfortable carry and then we performed several room clearing drills with different officers carrying the shield. Our goal was to answer the question of comfort and maneuverability carrying the shield. The officers all reported that the strap and handle combination provided for a comfortable carry. Keeping in the mind that the shield does weigh about 20 pounds, if an officer isn’t used to it and hasn’t trained sufficiently with it, it can start to feel heavy after 5 to 10 minutes. However, if the officer has trained properly, the shield can easily be carried for a half-hour or more.

The test protocol for confirming it would stop incoming rounds was easier: Identify what it should stop and then take it to the range to shoot it with those and similar rounds. Then, just because you can never predict what will happen, we intended to shoot it with a collection of other types of ammunition. Per the BlueRidge Armor website, the shield was rated to stop some rifle threats to include 7.62x51 M80 NATO Ball, 7.62x39 MSC Chinese Type 56, and 5.56 M193 NATO ammunition. For many agencies, handguns are the more common threat, so we intended to add .45ACP, .40S&W, 9mm, .357 Magnum and .38+P rounds to that list.

On the range, we set the shield against a target stand and engaged it with the following calibers as specified. All rounds were fired at a distance of 15 feet and from behind solid cover—just in case we shot any parts off of the shield or experienced any ricochets. We hit it with two rounds of .308 fired from a Howa 1500 bolt gun with a 22” barrel near the bottom right corner, but making sure we were at least two inches from all shield edges. We followed that with three rounds of .223 fired at the view port with two hits on the frame and one directly on the glass. The weapon used was a Battle Rifle AR-15 with a 16” barrel. That resulted in a cracked first layer of ballistic glass, but a smooth and undamaged back layer. We then put three rounds of 7.62x39 out of an AK-47 across the middle of the shield.

There were no penetrations with any of the above shots. We followed those eight rifle rounds with three 9mm 124g FMJ, three .40S&W 165g JHP, three .45ACP 230g FMJ, two .357 Magnum 125g JSP and two .38+P 130g JHP rounds. None of the handgun rounds penetrated and, in fact, the backface deformation created by any of them was barely visible. With a total of 21 rounds being fired onto the shield, none of them penetrating, backface deformation only visible from the rifle rounds, and even then only noticeable from the .308 rounds, and with the visor having held up to three .223 rounds, we were suitably impressed. The shield certainly passed our testing protocols, and we’re proud to award the BlueRidge Armor X7 Xtra Lite Rifle Series shield our “Tested—Field Rated” seal of approval.

This article appeared in the March/April issue of OFFICER Magazine.

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