"A single-person energy shield device. It will attempt to stop any rapidly-moving projectile or energy attack that comes from a distance. It does nothing against melee attacks or shots from point-blank range. Additionally, it prevents the wearer from firing outside their own shield, as well."
The Personal shield is an electrical defense accessory worn by melee fighters to absorb projectiles by creating a bubble of energy. Its sturdiness varies according to quality and durability, normally being 110 points. It blocks projectile attacks both from the outside and from within, meaning colonists will not fire with an active personal shield. Personal shields lose power for 50 seconds before rebooting when their electrical resistance reaches zero. They will recharge starting from zero, so they can be easily broken once again.
Pawns equipped with a personal shield will have a white bubble around them, which will shrink and diminish as the charge reduces.
The following table lists how much protection a personal shield provides at each quality level, assuming full durability.
When damaged, shields can lose maximum charge and recharge slower.
Note that shields appear to take ~2.7x the damage that an attack normally does.
Personal shields make it viable to bait enemy fire without placing your colonists at serious risk. Simply equip a colonist with a shield and run them in front of your line. Enemy AI tends to target the closest victim possible so they'll target your shield bait. This is especially effective against mechanoids to absorb those lethal charge lance shots and stray minigun hits, or rocket-wielding raiders to take a direct rocket hit without much of a scratch (though weaker shields will be destroyed in one hit).
It is also an important piece of equipment for melee colonists, as it blocks a significant portion of gunfire, allowing them to close in on ranged enemies to attack them.