Tactical officers often encounter dangerous, high-impact situations as part of the lifesaving jobs they perform. Equipment constructed for tactical purposes must withstand the extreme environmental hazards of emergency medical operations, forced entries, victim extractions, and rescue operations. This is no different for riot control officers, who deal with any number of hazards during a riot or civil unrest situation.

Following the 2020 riots in Portland, OR., deputy director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli reported that federal officers protecting a courthouse sustained a total of 113 eye injuries due to protestors armed with lasers. Lasers also prevent officers from looking directly at the beams to apprehend the perpetrators. The officers recovered, but not after suffering from temporary blindness or flash blindness—a blind spot that prevents someone from seeing their entire field of vision. This incident demonstrates why it’s important that tactical professionals have laser protection.

Why are Lasers Used in Protests and Large Crowd Situations?

Protesters use lasers for various reasons, including:

  • Flash blinding: Temporary flash blinding effectively distracts authorities from seeing the people in front of them, including those pointing the lasers at them.
  • Targeting counter protesters: Laser pointers can also target counter protesters with the intent to blind or distract them. During the March 2021 protests in Salem, Ore., police stated that protesters aimed lasers at cars driven by counter protesters.
  • Disabling camera sensors: Camera sensors can also be flash blinded. During the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, protesters used lasers to disable cameras utilizing facial recognition technology.
  • Attracting attention: Projecting lasers on crowds, helicopters, or buildings is a way to gain the attention of onlookers or stimulate a crowd. Often no harm is intended, but lasers may incite protestors against authorities.

What are the Benefits of Paulson Tactical Laser Shields?

laser shield

Paulson tactical laser shields defend users from lasers and high-intensity strobe lights. Quick flashing strobe lights can cause the brain to take a moment to adjust to visual stimuli. Sometimes called flicker vertigo or the Bucha effect, it gives users time to subdue or evade officers.

To understand the disorienting effects of strobing, we need to understand how humans process visual information. The eye’s lens focuses on the image using the retina, a collection of photoreceptors or light-perceiving cells. The image is converted into electrical impulses and sent to the visual cortex via the optic nerve, which interprets the impulses as an image. The brain has a limited frequency range under which it can process visual information. If information comes in faster than the brain can process it—between 7 to 15 hertz—the brain can become overwhelmed and incapacitate the person.

In the development of our Tactical Laser Shield line, we considered multiple critical factors. First, there are many different colors of laser pointers, so our laser shields must protect against the full spectrum of colors. Second, visibility is critical, especially since many riots tend to be a “nighttime activity.” That said, we needed to make sure the shields protect against laser beams while providing optimal visibility. Third, high intensity light protection is also critical, as many assailants use strobe lights to disorient officers. There are all important factors to consider, and the end-result is a laser protection product unlike anything else on the market.

Our Tactical Laser shield line consists of protective shields designed to attach to both Paulson’s line of riot face shields and riot body shields. Utilizing a riveted Velcro° attachment system, the laser shields can be easily attached and removed. The laser shields that attach to riot face shields are 3 inches in length, while the models for riot body shields are 6 inches in length.

Riot shield

Other features of our Tactical Laser Shield line include:

  • Meets ANSI Z136 for laser protection.
  • Designed to reduce the dazzle effect of red, green, blue, violet, and other colors of laser pointers up to a rating of 3R for an exposure time of 1/4th of a second.
  • Available reflective models reflect 70% of the laser energy back toward the source.
  • Reduces 95% of high intensity light and steady strobe beams.
  • Designed to allow a small percentage of laser to pass through the shield, enabling the user to identify the source of the laser while not being harmed.

Why Should You Choose Paulson Tactical Laser Shields?

Paulson Manufacturing Corp. is a world leader in transparent eye and face protection for first responders and industrial workers. Our core purpose is to provide safety and protection for our customers in their critical line of work. We fulfill this mission by designing and manufacturing the most reliable and high-quality protective gear in the industry.

Our tactical PPE and safety equipment comply with national & international standards as well as military specifications. We test and certify our equipment to ensure in compliance. Paulson designs, manufactures, and distributes products to a global market.

Contact us to learn more about laser & high intensity light protection shields.

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