Tuesday, 25 October 2011

5.11 Clothing

As you might have noticed I am quite a fan of 5.11 equipment and 5.11 clothing is also a big hit with me.  I have 5 pairs of 511 "Pants" (Trousers to you and me) 3 cotton - Tactical Pants, 2 poly-cotton Taclite Pants .  Personally I prefer the Taclite Pro Pants in rip stop poly-cotton for comfort, fit, appearance and durability, but the one downside is the issue of flame resistance where the cotton pants win out.

The main problem I have with the cotton 5.11 trousers is the fade rate after washing, especially noticeable in the black.  The Taclite pro pants do not fade as fast. Other than that the cotton pants are pretty good, tough, comfortable, and neat enough after a good iron!

Now with other 5.11 clothing items my preference is reversed, I much prefer the cotton shirts to the taclite version.  I find the cotton less abrasive on my torso.

My favorite item of 5.11 clothing is their socks, I have use these on many occasions in a wide range of conditions and always found them to be comfortable, temperature regulating, moisture wicking and pretty good at dealing with odour.

I also have 2 5.11 jackets in my clothes collection, the Sabre Jacket and a 3 in 1 for different conditions.  The 3-in-1 saw me through some of the coldest conditions in the Peruvian Andies down to -10C. The Sabre jacket is a bit more light weight, but still very warm and unfortunately not very breathable.  That said it is very waterproof and I really like the look and design of this jacket, making it one of my most worn items of 5.11 clothes.

Oh and I also have 3 511 caps in my collection, a black uniform cap,  a 9/11 memorial cap and a desert contractor cap all of which get pretty regular outings. The taclite material of the 9/11 memorial cap especially as it is pretty shower proof.....ideal for the tepid British climate!

One major omission from the 5.11 catalogue though is something other manufacturers like Blackhawk Kneepads.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Danner Boots Review

I have seen a recent resurgence in Danner Police Boots after their availability in the UK seemed to dry up for a while but they are now back on the market a bit more esepscially the Danner Police Boots which are now focused around the Danner Kinetic range of 6 inch and 8 inch in Gortex and Non GTX.  ( I think they do varying degrees of insulation in the USA as well but I have not seen that in the UK and it doesn't really seem appropriate for our weather range as well).

Danner boots background is probably more well know for their military boots than their police boots, the Danner TFX Desert boot being on of the issue boots earlier in the "second" Iraq conflict, but the quality of construction demanded by army users makes them a high quality, long lasting police boot.

The Kinetic Danner boots offer a top quality medium weight boot, ideal for general foot patrol, personal I prefer an 8 inch boot, but some prefer the extra flexibility of a 6 inch and are not interested in the extra support, car bound or more static indoors workers for example, but if you are on the run across mixed terrain the extra support will pay dividends.

As with Lowa boots Danners can be re soled extending the life of the boots by 5-10 years of good use.  Not only that but Danner back their footwear with a fantastic quality guarantee, if the boot fails through normal use they will replace it no quibble.

If you are looking for a more military style boot and are prepared to spend a little more then the Danner Acadia Boot, hand made in the USA is an outstanding bit of footwear.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Led Lenser P7 Pocket Torch Review

I have owned a Led Lenser Torch, the Led Lenser P7 to be precise, for about 2 years, at the time Surefire were charging a lot for a torch of disappointing spec in terms of lumens and battery life (you can't argue with the reliability of a SureFire Torch) and I have been really rather pleased from the day I brought it.

That very first day I put the Led Lenser torch to the test, not for its illumination capabilities but for its durability.  Basically I purchased the torch at lunch and slung it onto the backseat of the car.  After work I stopped at the gym and grabbed my kit back off the back seat....on arriving home my brand new led lenser torch was no where to be seen.... Realizing what must have happened, that I dragged the torch off the backseat when I got my kitbag out of the car I headed back to the gym car park and sure enough there was a black blob looking like a squashed hedgehog right where I parked the car.  The lovely looking black gift box that my Led Lenser had come in was a gonner and the batteries inside were also a finished.  The torch however had only a couple of scratches and looked like it might have survived relatively unscathed.  A quick stop at the garage for some overpriced Duracells and bobs your uncle the torch delivered a blinding 200 lumens right into my surprised face leaving me blinded for a while. Since then the torch has performed superbly in all conditions.

Good points about the Led Lenser P7 Torch:
  1. 200 lumens of penetrating white light (some older sites still advertise 170, all the new models are 200)
  2. Rugged aluminum body
  3. Easy to use one handed focus from spot to flood
  4. Two beam strengths for spot or flood
  5. Comes with a belt/molle compatible pouch
  6. Runs on easily available and cheap AAA batteries
Bad Points abut this led lenser Torch:
  1. The battery life is not as long as promised, even on low beam strength you will notice the brightness fades quite quickly as the batteries drain.
  2. The sliding focus head means there are more weather proof alternatives
  3. The tail cap switch is a little fiddly and I don't like the "click" it has
  4. The pouch strap for mounting isnt great, despite being popper and velcro they both become weak after 6 months or so.
  5. The price has crept up since I purchased mine. Fenix have come in with comparable torches and SureFire have introduced some blistering new LED torches since as well. (But they are pretty exy)
All in all the Led Lenser torch range make fantastic police torches....but there are cheaper alternatives for those on a budget with similar spec and the new surefires are the ticked if your life depends on it.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Grafters Boots

The Grafters Boots range are relatively new to the market and offer an economically priced alternative to the ever popular Magnum Police Boots.  Now the build quality, materials and life expectancy reflect the purchase price but for lighter users, indoor security guards for example then something like the M668a Grafters Boots are ideal and wont break the bank.

Grafters offer 3 main "Styles" of boot.:

  • The light weight Stealth boot available in 6 or 8 inch ankle height leather and nylon version, as well as an all leather 8 inch water proof breathable boot with "Johntex" Lining. (Johntex is grafters own brand of Goretex imitation membrane).
  • The sturdier Grafters "Police" boot which comes in 8 inch leather and nylon, an all leather 8 inch version and a leather and nylon 6 inch boot.
  • The Police Duty shoe (ideal for parades or formal events)
Now you are probably not going to find many breathable waterproof boots for under £50 yet Grafters offers two which can be found for around £44.99 and £49.99 respectively on many police equipment sites.

Now before you rush out and spend your hard earned pay check on a pair of boots that seem to good to be true, it is worth noting that they probably are just that.  The expected life span of a pair of grafters is less than 12 months for most users, 6 months for those of you who regularly clock up a lot of miles pounding the pavement, or wear them in "adverse weather conditions".  The leather is an action leather in general, which is not EN certified for breathabilty as occupational footwear and the sole has no slip resistance rating.  These downsides are potential turn offs for spec conscious individual purchasers but are a definite stumbling block for any corporation or organisation wishing to issue them to their staff.

To be honest while Grafters boots offer a good selection of boots at the lower end of the market you can pick up a pair of Magnum Panthers (which are EN Certified, have an SRA slip resistant sole and 12 month guarantee) for £39.99 so consider your footwear choice carefully. 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The SIA - Security Industry Authority

If you want to work in security in the UK you will probably need a license from the SIA, or Security Industry Authority, a non departmental government body, established in 2003 under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 which reports to the home secretary.  Some security roles do not require an SIA licenese but the most common security jobs; Manned guarding, which includes: Cash and Valuables in Transit, Close Protection, Security Guards and Door Supervision as well as Public Space Surveillance (CCTV), Key Holding and the  Immobilisation, restriction and removal of vehicles all require a compulsory SIA licence.  What is less commonly known is that managers and directors of security companies who might not perform the actual security tasks also need a different kind of SIA license.

Licenses curretnyl cost £245 (Oct 2011) and last for 3 years (except for "clampers" which need to be renewed every year).  The current penalty for being unlicensed while performing any of the listed duties above is a maximum of £5000 fin and upto 6 months in prison.  You can also face penalties for not having an SIA licence on display when working door supervision for example. 

The SIA also runs the approved contractor scheme which is a voluntary quality assurance scheme that measures private security suppliers against independently assessed operational and performance standards. Organisations that meet these standards are awarded 'Approved Contractor' status.  The penalties for claiming approval when you are not approved are harsher than that for not having an personal license whilst working security, and can be an unlimited fine.