In general, Chinese weaponised shields can be grouped into two categories, namely assault shields and defensive shields. Unlike Xun Lei Chong (迅雷銃), which also includes a shield, these equipment are used primarily as shields rather than as guns.
Assault shields are light enough to be used in conjunction with another weapon, usually a sabre. Their primary use is to distrupt enemy formation so that the swordsman can find an opening to rush in, although they are also extremely deadly in their own right.
Shen Xing Po Zhen Meng Huo Dao Pai (神行破陣猛火刀牌, lit. 'Marvelous travelling, formation breaking, raging fire blade shield')
|Drawing of a Shen Xing Po Zhen Meng Huo Dao Pai, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.|
While short ranged, this shield still allows its wielder (usually a swordsman) to disrupt or outright kill his enemy from outside the reach of long weapons such as spears, pikes and polearms. It can be used to scare or kill enemy horses as well, allowing the swordsman to countercharge them.
Bao Sheng Pai (保生牌, lit. 'Life-saving shield')
Bao Sheng Pai was recorded in Wu Bian (《武編》) without accompanying illustration. It is a shield that incorporates fifteen small guns, all connected to a trigger (probally a wheellock or similar device) controlled by the left hand. Once the trigger is pulled, all fifteen guns fire simultaneously.
Defensive shields are larger and more static, and can be propped up. Their primary use is to deter enemy assault.
Hu Tou Huo Pai (虎頭火牌, lit. 'Tiger Head Fire Shield')
|Unpainted (left) and painted (right) Hu Tou Huo Pai, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.|
|Back view of the Hu Tou Huo Pai, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.|
Hu Tou Huo Pai is a modified Ai Pai (挨牌) with an incorporated rocket pod that carries either ten full-sized Shen Ji Jian (神機箭) rockets or twenty smaller Meng Jian (猛箭) rockets. The rockets are launched through a loophole in the middle of the shield (at the mouth of the painted tiger) which is normally sealed with a detachable cover mounted on the rocket pod.
The shield can be used on ship as well as on land.
Hu Tou Mu Pai (虎頭木牌, lit. 'Tiger head wooden shield')
|Front (right) and back (left) of Hu Tou Mu Pai, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.|
Hu Tou Mu Pai is also a modified Ai Pai that has a large loophole (at the glabella of the painted tiger) for Shen Qiang (神鎗) and two smaller peepholes (at the eyes of the painted tiger) used for observation. It also incorporates four rectangular firing ports for small rocket pods of two Shen Ji Jian each. The rocket pods are mounted on rotating sliders, allowing them to be swapped out quickly after use. They also serve as covers for the firing ports when not in use.
|Replica Hu Tou Mu Pai (unpainted), with its four rocket pods rotated into ready position. Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution.|
Hu Tou Mu Pai is five chi tall, one chi seven cun wide, and three fen thick. It is covered in cowhide, and its top rim is reinforced with iron.