I've done the top 5 "big guns", and I've done melee weapons, so naturally it's time we moved on to shields. This one was a little harder to compile a list for because there are just so many shields; pretty much every mobile suit is equipped with one. Thus, I won't be looking as much into aesthetics or "significance" as I normally would. Instead, I'll be focusing on the shield's unique capabilities. "What sets it apart from other shields, and how effective are its unique features?" Also, I won't be counting barriers that are created via other armaments, like the Nu Gundam's fin funnels. This is a list specifically for handheld or wrist-mounted shields.
There were a ton of choices and I had to do a lot of leaving out, so I've even added an honorable mentions section for the shields that just barely missed the cut. If there's still something missing, give it a shout out in the comments section below! Anyhow, onward to the list~
5. Gatling Shield (Gouf Custom)
One could argue that the Gatling Shield is just a shield with a gatling gun attached to it, but technically every shield is just a shield with something extra on it. This intimidating piece of armament turns the Gouf Custom, which is specialized for close-range combat, into an absolute monster on the battlefield as it grants the mobile suit an incredible amount of firepower. It allows the Gouf to dominate the enemy no matter where it stands, and it can be detached at any point to increase the Gouf's mobility. Also, it's an enormous gatling gun attached to a shield. If you don't think this thing is immediately badass, well, I don't know what to tell you.
4. Beam Shields (Victory Gundam and Seed Destiny)
I've always been fond of beam shields; they're one of the more tangible instances in Gundam where you can clearly see an advance in technology. In Victory Gundam, beam shields are developed thanks to the smaller, more energy-efficient mobile suits of that era. They prove especially effective because, unlike I-Fields, they can defend against beam and conventional weaponry. They rely on energy-output rather than physical integrity to stay functional, and they can be activated in specific sections depending on where they need to be deployed. They're also a lot more powerful than regular shields, as evidenced by the Destiny Gundam's ability to block multiple exceptionally powerful beam shots at once.
Technical specs are enough to place the beam shield on this list, but it's the concept and elegance in design that push it over the top for me. The idea of a shield made entirely of beam energy, and the way it can phase in and out during battle, is just darn cool.
3. NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 Shield (Gundam Physalis)
So you're firing a nuclear warhead at close range, and you need to protect yourself from an instant fiery death? Well there's a shield for just that occasion. The NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 shield comes with a ridiculous amount of armor and a liquid nitrogen cooling system that's specifically designed to protect the Gundam Physalis from its own Atomic Bazooka. It's an absolute defensive juggernaut, and anything less than a superweapon would require careful planning to get through this thing. It loses a few points for being slightly cumbersome and for lacking any offensive capabilities, but it earns its place here with its pure, unmitigated stopping power.
2. Divider (Gundam X Divider)
The "Divider" is the Gundam X Divider's namesake, and probably the most versatile shield on this list. Initially, it's just a shield without any special defensive properties, but when it opens up...whooa! It's a "Beam Harmonica!" The Beam Harmonica is a series of 18 beam cannons hidden underneath the exterior shield. It replaces the Gundam X's Satellite Cannon, and while it's not nearly as powerful, it's still plenty capable of taking down an army of mobile suits on its own. It's also equipped with thrusters on either end that give the GX an impressive boost in speed and mobility. They allow the GX to hover when attached to its backpack, and they can even be used to thrust the GX forward when hand-held.
One might consider it a bit unorthodox, but I think it's one of the most unique designs in the entire metaseries. It's deserving of a spot near the top for being an impressive combination of offense, defense, and mobility, and for being the only shield on this list that's absolutely vital to its mobile suit's superiority on the battlefield.
1. Shield w. I-Field Generator (Unicorn Gundam)
The Unicorn's sleek, white shield looks rather ordinary at first glance, but this unassuming piece of U.C. technology is actually equipped with an advanced I-Field Generator that has the ability to deflect and nullify beam weaponry. It's also constructed with parts of the Unicorn's psycoframe, so a skilled Newtype pilot can move and manipulate it like an over-sized funnel. This allows for some savvy 360° defense, and it also turns the shield into a potent offensive weapon when equipped with the Full Armor Unicorn's gatling guns.
The shield's versatility is put on full display when Banagher uses a pair of them at once while piloting the FA Unicorn. He deflects particle beam shots at will without even moving an arm, and he sends both shields out to destroy distant targets in an instant. It does have a flaw in that it's somewhat vulnerable to conventional weaponry, but considering its myriad of capabilities (and the fact that the FA Unicorn has three of them), I don't think that would turn out to be too much of a problem.
Trikeros (Blitz Gundam) - Unique combination of abilities, like darts and a beam rifle.
Buster Shield (Gundam Deathscythe) - Versatile. A melee weapon, a shield, and a projectile.
Crash Shield (Mercurius) - A shield with a beam saber inside. Very cool.
Check out my other Gundam Top 5 lists~