There are plenty of options for the modern patrol officer when it comes to equipment. The problem often becomes a question of available space to carry the gear, or more commonly, the simple financial impact of purchasing it if the agency isn’t footing the bill.
Like most of us, I am very selective about what gear I carry. I want to be sure that it will perform to the level as advertised, be durable, and affordable enough before it is added to my kit.
With the threats that face law enforcement officers on a daily basis, some of these items become essential. Aside from the standard gear that I’m required to carry, I’ve culled a substantial inventory down to three pieces of gear that I feel like I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do without as I hit the streets for a night of work.
As a disclaimer, I haven’t been paid to endorse any of these items and I have no stake in supporting them other than my own experience. They have suited me well enough that I feel comfortable in recommending them to others. I’ve included links to either the manufacturer or distributor for those of you that are interested.
- Protech Tactical IMPAC Rifle Threat Plus (RT Plus) Special Threat Plate
I don’t claim to be an expert in ballistics, hell I struggled in my physics class in high school. These plates gave me the best of both worlds though, since they are rated to stop 7.62×51 147 grain, 7.62×39 123 grain, 5.56×45 grain, and 5.56×45 162 grain rounds from rifles and just so happen to fit inside the pocket of my issued concealed body armor.
They weigh less than 5 pounds and come in 5″x7″, 5″x8″, and 7″x9″ sizes to fit concealed armor. Since they are made of hybrid steel and fiberglass composite, there’s no fear of cracking that you’d find in standard ceramic rifle plates. And now you can buy them for less than $200 a piece.
Even though I’ve seen Blackhawk Down at least 200 times, years ago I opted to purchase just one of these rifle plates to wear in the front of my issued concealed body armor. Luckily mine hasn’t been tested, but it’s large enough to cover the vast majority of my vital organs. It’s comfortable, and now I hardly notice it.
I’ve since added a plate carrier with rifle plates to keep inside my police car, too, because there’s never too much body armor. But for daily wear, the Protech Tactical RT Plus special threat plate has won my seal of approval.
- Earphone Connection Hawk Lapel Microphone
Years ago I was taking in the sights of the Shot Show when I ran across the Earphone Connection/Tactical Ear Gadget booth. The guys explained the noise-canceling microphone and the security of the coiled transducer earpiece and I couldn’t give them my money fast enough. It’s been in my ear every time I’ve been in uniform ever since.
I can hear radio traffic even when there’s a lot of nearby ambient sound. Dispatch can hear me even when I’m standing on the side of the interstate with passing traffic flying by me. And the added bonus is that when they’re telling me that the person in front of me has active warrants, that person has no idea.
The ability to hear radio traffic without it being audible to other people has a lot of benefits that extend beyond the wanted person. It is great when you are clearing buildings on alarms and any other time when having some measure of stealth is ideal.
The Hawk’s individual components are easily replaced, and are readily available online and in uniform shops near the Donut. The earpieces themselves need replaced after about a year, and over time the clear coiled transducer starts to stain. Otherwise, every other component has proven to be fairly resilient, even with heavy use. I’ll never go back to a regular lapel mic, the Hawk definitely rates the Donut seal of approval.
- Urban-ERT Rapid Incident Patrol (R.I.P.) Seat Sling
I’m confident in my abilities with a pistol, but I’ve always subscribed to the theory that my pistol is used until I can fight my way to my rifle.
Having a patrol rifle is a great thing. Figuring out a good way to carry it in the patrol car can be a difficult thing, though. If it is to be stored in the trunk, it can be tough to get to it when you need it. If it’s stored inside a rack inside the cab all of the time, it can rust quickly with the temperature fluctuations.
The Urban-ERT R.I.P. sling is a good middle ground for use during a shift. It isn’t intended to be a long-term storage solution, but it keeps your rifle secured in place and readily accessible as you patrol. The rifle can be stored either muzzle-up, or muzzle-down depending on the officer’s preference as the sling secures it around the headrest of the passenger seat.
I have used my R.I.P. sling for about 2 months and it’s been a great piece of gear. We don’t have a storage option inside our patrol cars. In the past there have been plenty of incidents that called for a patrol rifle that I’ve done without because I would’ve had to access my trunk in a potential hot zone to have it during the call. It’s a simple, yet brilliant design that is made exclusively in the USA by a law enforcement officer.
The R.I.P. sling isn’t meant to be a secure storage option, so unless you want your patrol rifle to be protected by a only a piece of glass, the rifle has to be stored appropriately at the end of a shift.
At less than $30 the Urban-ERT R.I.P. sling is money well spent, especially when it is paired with an Urban-ERT sling like the Urban-Sentry two point/single point sling I’ve carried for years. A good product made in the USA by a cop is a sure bet, and I highly recommend it. Donut approved.
I’m always up for gear recommendations, so if you have any please drop them in the comments section. If you have any questions about the gear I have reviewed please let me know.
In other news, I’ve slowly started the process of migrating all of my content to a new website, www.donutcountycop.com. I am by no means a computer guy, so it’s been an interesting process to date. Hosting my own site will give me a little more freedom, but having the computer machine knowledge to do so will be an experience.
Time to go patrol the Donut…