Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Police issue handcuffs vary dramatically from force to force and even by each new recruit intake.  It was originally the company Hiatt that made the vast majority of the "Rigid" handcuffs that most police officers love, also known as the "Speedcuff".  The old style Hiatt cuffs were designed with a solid central piece of ergonomically designed plastic between the two end "bracelets" which is designed to be gripped in one hand by the responsible officer for maximum control of the detainee.

As you can see from the image the central "grip" is curved to fit comfortably and securely in the hand.

This model of handcuff is hard to come by as Hiatt & Co have now gone out of business, and when they closed down they still held the patent on the specific style.  For a long time there was nothing quite like it on the market, although the company TCH now make a very similar handcuff for which they must have found a solution to the original patent problem to produce.

In the interim it fell to US company ASP Inc. (Armament Systems and Procedures) to produce its range of semi-rigid handcuffs.  Asp cuffs were hinged to fold in the middle which made them compact and convenient to wear on a belt and due to the bi-lateral only movement in the hinge allowed a fair degree of control of the detainee when gripping the centre of the handcuff.  The hinge of course did reduce the control compared the the Hiatt Speedcuff design.

ASP also produce a range of chain link cuffs as well as plastic restraints or as they are more colloquially known - plasticuffs .  Both the rigid and chain link handcuffs as well as the plasticuffs are available in tactical black as well as what seems like an odd choice - bright yellow!  The bright yellow colouring however serves a purpose and these are know in the trade as "identifier cuffs" as it makes a detainee more visible.  There are also in fact bright pink handcuffs which have been adopted by some prison services in an effort to reduce the "tough guy" image of a prisoner being detained in cuffs and make them embarrassed to be seen in the bright pink bracelets.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cadet Boots

When it comes to buying Cadet boots price has got to be a major consideration.  Between the ages of 12 and 18 most peoples feet continue growing rapidly so investing a lot in a pair of boots that will only last 6-8 months before the cadet out grows them is really not necessary.  Chances are the cadet will need larger pair of boots before the boots start to fail them in the field, especially if they are only parading once a or twice a week with the odd camp once or twice a year.

For most cadets, black "uniform" looking boots will be sufficient. A leather or "action leather" toe that can get a nice shine for parade and mainly leather side construction, at least below the line of bloused combats any way will be all that is needed.  Sole wise something with a fairly chunky tread pattern for grip on mud, grass or gravel when on exercise is going to cover most needs.  A highly slip resistant compound with SRA, B or C rating wont really be necessary for a cadets needs whether they are police or army, or any other branch (ACF, RAF, Marines etc.)

With that in mind a passable pair of light weight cadet boots would be something from the Grafters Range which are all under £50 and should last as long as the cadet still fits into them (but possibly not that much longer).  For a few quid more you can splash out on a pair of Magnums or Bates boots, which are much more popular with the serving uniformed services and have a good reputation as cadet boots for their durability and suitability.  Magnum and Bates tend to use more whole grain leather, or higher quality action leathers which do tend to polish up a lot better for parade and you can get a decent bull on the toe then as well.

Once cadets reach the age of 16 or a bit older their feet may have stopped growing and investing in a pair of Lowas might not seem so silly if a future career in the forces beckons or even if they for see an active outdoor lifestyle with hiking etc. being a regular activity in the future.  Or if their parents are particularly minted a pair of Danner Acadia Boots would probably do down a treat with any cadet lucky enough to find them under the tree on Christmas morning.

Monday, 19 November 2012

TurtleSkin Gloves

One of the most respected brands, TurtleSkin is renowned for its range of needle, puncture and cut resistant gloves specifically designed for police, military and law enforcement personnel.  TurtleSkin gloves use their range of protective fabrics manufactures at Warwick Mills factory in the USA since 1870.

Turtle Skin offer a specific range of police products, designed to provide not only optimal protection from sharps as well as allowing for maximum tactile feedback whilst maintaining a smart professional appearance which is a suitable match for uniform whilst on duty.

One of the most popular models is the TurtleSkin Alpha glove, offering needle and cut resistance on the palm and fingertips and cut resistance on the back of the hand. The knit on the back of the hand is also a high stretch design so as not to restrict movement when opening and closing the hand.

Similar to the Alpha Glove, the TurtleSkin Bravo glove offers the same hypodermic needle and cut resistance on the palms and fingertips but they have replaced the back of the hand with a breathable mesh fabric.  Ideal for warmer weather, the Bravo glove offers the highest levels of breathability available.

The best levels of cut and needle resistance in the Police uniform range of gloves (TurtleSkin do also offer gloves for use in the refuse industry or even for handling poisonous snakes!!) is the Search Glove, offering 11 times more protection from 28 Guage needles than normal police gloves and include full protection all around the index finger able to withstand 1.1lbf of force applied through a 28 guage need.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Strap Cutters

A good strap cutter is actually an invaluable bit of kit that is normally overlooked by a lot of people when they are putting together their kit list but is really an invaluable addition to your load out.  A standard "decent" strap cutter from a reputable company like Gerber, specifically designed for cutting seat belt straps, is going to set you back around £35 and will normally come with a window breaker or punch facility.  This will be a good investment for many years of reliable service and provide a product that is truly fit for purpose.

As a budget alternative you can use "industrial" strap cutters designed for cutting box strapping but surprisingly effective at cutting through seat belt webbing! These are going to cost you a lot less than £35, more like £5-£10, but will probably not last that long so by the time you have had to replace it 3 or 4 times you would have been better off investing in something a bit more suitable.

As an alternative to a single purpose strap cutter Gerber have also released a version of their standard Crucial Multi-Tool that comes with a strap cutter instead of the bottle-opener/carabiner.  Specifically designed for the tactical market, this version of the crucial also comes in Gucci black!  For just under forty notes the Crucial Multitool has a fully functioning strap cutter that is fit for purpose and also packs the usual knife, screw drivers (flat and philips head), can opener and pliers.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Traffic Wands and Hazard lights

Now traffic wands and hazard lights are not really anything I thought I would be blogging about in my tactical careerer, they are hardly the most fascinating of topic subjects, but I recently saw quite a cool set of hazard lights in action and thought they warranted a mention.

The set in question was a kit of 6 "Hockey Puck" sized discs that were a clear plastic inner coated by toughened rubber ribs that sat in a plastic carry case that you plugged into your car cigarette lighter.  Within each puck was a rechargeable battery cell and the 16 LED heads, and on the centre of each puck was a magnetic contact to allow you to stick it to a vehicle or the hull of a ship, or any metal surface really and the two contact points for re charging when put in the carry case.

Each hazard light had 9 different options that you could cycle through:
Solid-On High - 8 hours
Rotate - 15 hours
Alternate - 10 hours
Quad-Blink - 15 hours
Double-Blink - 30 hours
FastBlink - 12 hours
Slow-Blink - 100 hours
Solid-On Low - 60 hours
S-O-S - 24 hours
Flashlight - 15 hours

The cool thing about the lights is each one was virtually indistructable! You can run them over with a 4*4, submerge them for prolonged periods (though they float naturally) and they will work at temps from -40C to +100C.

Traffic Wands are not so cool but seemed like quite a handy little gadget.  Basically a big red plastic ice cream cone that you put upside down on your torch to convert the white beam into a glowing red beacon which you can use for directing traffic, pedestrians or just making yourself visible without blinding anyone you catch in the eye with a 100lumen white beam!  If you are working Roads Policing then it is definitely worth investing a couple of quid in a traffic wand to keep in the back of your car....the Hazard light system runs to about £120 quid so I would push for stores to kit you out with one of these!!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Bivvy Poles - WTF

Just a very quick post to rant about the state of basic issue kit.....Why are Royal Marines Reserves (not sure about Regs) expected to buy their own Bivvy Poles?  Ludicrous, you get issued a bivvy but no poles! This is pretty standard issue and given that maybe 10% of recruits make it to getting a green lid for 90% of new recruits forking out ~£15 for two bivvy poles seems a bit steep!

Polish, trouser twists, razors, folding toothbrush, shaving soap etc. I can accept, they are personal use items and you would have to buy a civvie equivalent anyway even if you weren't in... but the bivvy pole seemed a bit cheeky!

Anyway rant over.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ballistic Eywear

There are a few major brands of ballistic eyewear available; at the top end of the market (in terms of price at least) is the Oakley Standard Issue range, lower down the price (and cool kudos) spectrum is the Swiss One Safety range and somewhere in the middle are the likes of Wiley X and ESS.

Oakley Standard Issue Ballistic Eyewear closely resembles the high street fashion brand in terms of design but with suppressed (or in some cases removed) logos. So where the regualar Oakley design might have a silver "O" on the elbow and the text across the nose piece the Standard Issue version would have a black "O" in the elbow and no text whatsoever across the nose. All the Standard Issue range are ballistic rated, only some of the high street versions are ballistic rated.

Wiley X are similar to Oakley in that they have a "fashion" and extreme sports background as well as their tactical range of ballistic eyewear (they also have a less trendy Fishing focus due to the excellent visuals and protections levels offered with their polarised lenses when operating in and around water.)  Also similar to Oakley they offer "array" packs with 2 or 3 lenses, normally clear and smoke, or clear, smoke and rust/rose which give the user a range of ballistic lens options for use in different lighting environments.

The Swiss One range of ballistic eyewear comes from a more safety focused background, designed for the needs of industrial users, but with a bit more fashion sense and comfort in mind than the tradional safety goggles you might get issued.  Don't be fooled though, Swiss One Eyewear offers high levels of UVA and UVB protection - comparable to any other sun-glass brand out there - as well as industrial standard EN Safety standards.

ESS are a more recent entrant to the market that surged into prominence when they won the UK MOD contract for supplying the British Army with ballistic eyewear for the current deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The general consensus was the product was acceptable, nothing to write home about, but did the job well enough, suffering from the usual complaint of easy scratching but generally robust.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Police Shop Reviews

People often ask me to recommend a police shop for their kit and equipment needs and I almost always recommend they shop at PatrolStore.com for any of their equipment or uniform supplies.

As Police Shops go PatrolStore has one of, if not the best, websites for browsing law enforcement equipment in general they have the best quality images, normally 1000*1000 pixels with a handy zoom feature AND the option to go "Full Size" with the picture view and normally multiple product shots with different angles, or a stock image and a model image as well which really allows you to asses what you are buying before it arrives in the post.  Combined with product videos which are also a common feature of the PatrolStore police shop, plenty of (what appear to be genuine) customer reviews, detailed product reviews written with the user in mind and a good "Tech Spec" sheet you really do get the best insight into your product purchase.

Being a specialist police shop there is never going to be as many reviews as you would get for consumer products on Amazon for example but PatrolStore seems to have the most of any of the other police, military or security shops and compared to one police-supplies shop the reviews appear to be a lot more genuine, they have published positive and negative feedback about both the products and their own service and sometimes include a response to the customer review with some input of their own.  As regular kit reviewer myself, I always look for customer reviews when shopping online.

PatrolStore also offer some of the best service available, the website shows when items are out of stock (I don't understand how any e commerce business operates without this feature but I know the vast majority of police shops are way behind the times on this) and they offer a range of delivery options including next day priority courier and even Saturday Morning Guaranteed (though this is a pretty expensive courier option) and of course a reasonably priced 2-3 day standard "economy service".  One of the most innovative features of the patrolstore shop is the timed delivery window for anything that goes with their courier, Interlink Express . You get an email on the day it is dispatched telling you it will be with you the next working day, and on the day you get an email AND A TEXT!!! (if you supply a mobile number at checkout) telling you a 1 hour slot in which your parcel will be delivered.  This is a fantastic feature and really cuts down on the wait at home all day only to have the courier come and go while you are in the bathroom for 5 mins and have to wait in the next day as well.

Of course you can shop for all the usual police brands, 5.11, Magnum, Op. Zulu, Maglite, Led Lenser, Peli, Tactical Jack, Lowa, Bates, Blackhawk etc.and comparing them to their rivals they seem to be pretty consistently the cheapest (esp when you add in some of the crazy hidden shipping fees from other police-military sites).  They even have a price beat promise in that they will match any other site and deliver it free so they are pretty confident in their competitiveness.

The final thing to always consider when shopping online for anything (not just your police bits and pieces) is the returns policy and when you read the T&Cs out there you will see PatrolStore offer one of the most flexible and easy to use, allowing you book your own return in online and send it back without having to phone during limited customer services hours, or send emails back and forth, another real plus.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Baton Holders

There are many different baton holder varieties on the market from a range of different brands (most designed to fit their brand and not competitors) and styles. The most well know baton brand is ASP, so much so that that the ASP name has become synonymous with the product, much like "hoover" or "biro" but ASP is just an acronym of Armament Systems and Procedures Inc an American company founded in 1976 to develop law enforcement compliance products.

Asp baton holders come in two main flavours, the rigid polymer baton holder and the material nylon holder. Both are designed to be belt mounted but the polymer baton holder has a distinct advantage over it's nylon counter part in that it can be rotated ton any of 8 different angels making it universally popular with right and left handed users wherever you like to mount your baton. The nylon style baton holder only allows for the straight vertical position. The nylon holder however will accommodate most other brands of straight telescopic batons, the polymer holder will only accept ASP batons properly and some styles of Monadnock.

The altnertative to the ASP polymer holder is the Peter Jones KilckFast version which is designed to be more universal and still offers both the security and the rotational advantages of the Asp product. The other major advantage is price, the Peter Jones baton holder being just over £10 cheaper than the asp.

If you are looking for a leather product then the best option in Price Western Leather (PWL) who offer a 3 position option (again making it acceptable for most left or right handed users). This baton holder is made from high quality black finished leather, but PWL also offer the only side handle baton holder which is made from a semi rigid nylon construction.

Friday, 27 July 2012


The Iconic Maglite 3D Cell police torch hanging from the belt of a US TV cop is a bit of a Hollywood myth these days.  Sadly maglite fell behind in technology and performance in the torch "arms race" over the last decade and their price tag for the brand name could no long be justified.  Don't get me wrong, maglites are a classic bit of kit, solid reliable torches made to take a beating, BUT the reality is they are kind of bulky, the battery life isn't great.and the lumen out put is again short of other newer brands out there.

Maglite have tried to improve the situation with a new range of LED torches to complement their traditional xenon bulbs , which have brought them back into the game, but they still don't lead the pack in the same way they used to.  For a limited time maglite also offered LED upgrades (which were pretty expensive - almost as much as replacing your original torch, but just slightly cheaper than buying the new LED version!!!) however Maglite have since pulled the official upgrades from their range although there are still plenty of third party companies offering their own brand parts, which although not supported by Maglite seem to work just fine.  I did manage to pick up an official upgrade module when they were available for my 3D cell and it really took my sad old maglite up to a whole new level.  No longer the dull orange glow and 30min battery life, instead a piercing white beam that lasts for hours and is still fully focusable (something some unofficial led upgrades loose).  Of course the only downside is that you cant use LED torches with IR filters, but luckily Maglite is one of the few manufacturers to still produce their filament range so you can revert to one of those if necessary.

Another plus side of the Maglite range is the reliability issue, these torches are still pretty bomb proof, something that Maglite still very much prides it self on and has been the bedrock of its brand reputation.

A quick synopsys of the core range is:

  • Solitaire (keyring torch)
  • Mini Maglite AA (LED and Filament)
  • 2D Cell (LED and Filament)
  • 3D Cell (LED and Filament)
  • 4D Cell (Filament Only)
But there are also some re chargable and multimode maglite models like the XL200, ML125 and the Mag Charger System which round out the range as well as complimentary Maglite Holders Pouches

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Clip on Tie : Essential!

Now a clip on tie isn't normally the kind of Gucci kit that needs a review, but a clip on tie will set you back ~£5, you will use it whenever you are in a suit and it will make your life a hell of a lot safer!

There is a mix op opinion with door supervisors as to whether a clip on tie or a "Dickie" bow tie is the way forward...... Personally I can't see any advantage of the Bow tie over the clip on variety.  Bow ties tend look peculiar, unless you are James bond sporting a tux, and the one thing you don't want to do it draw attention to yourself when working the doors.  Anything that invites ridicule or singles you out is simply increasing your chances of trouble.  From a safety perspective, a bow tie does fasten around the neck, either the clip round variety or the proper tie up kind and so offer a ligature hand hold to any would be assailant all be it a much smaller one than a traditional tie.

The clip on tie fastens to the buttons on the front of the collar and pops off with not very much force at all so you cant be strangled or pulled about by it in any way.  In fact if someone does try and grab it and it comes away in their hand you will gain yourself a couple of seconds as they react to the unexpected result (especially if they a a couple of drinks for the worse) and those couple of seconds will give you a chance to take the upper hand in the situation.  Add to that the fact that a plain black clip on tie will look ok with any shirt or suit colour or style and I can't see why you would choose anything else!

Viper are probably the most well known brand in the security industry for this kind of product and their items are usually pretty reasonably priced.  If you are buying security equipment online it's probably worth buying a couple to save on postage as you will get drinks etc spilled down you at some point and want to give one a wash while you wear you other tie, and one will eventually get broken as you struggle to maintain order and safety with the forces of drunken disorder!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Police Uniform Suppliers

These days cops are issued less and less police uniform, having in general to purchase their own boots, additional pouches and even vests unless you have a medical complaint!   Long gone are the days of the bobby in blue with his white pressed shirt and tie with bash hat and Dr Martens Shoes.  These days police uniforms are a bit more "Tacti-cool" with officers sporting combats, light weight patrol boots a moisture wicking polo shirt (worn under an anything BUT wicking stab vest) and an assortment of belt kit normally heavily customised by the individual officer to suit their uniform needs depending on their specific duties.

Basic police uniform issue will normally include a couple of pairs of pants, a few shirts, 3 types of earpieces, a belt and 2-3 pouches, baton, spray, cuffs and stabby....but getting replacements for lost, stolen or broken kit is always a nightmare.  Unless you are a special constable you will be expected to buy your own footwear at your own expense (specials get a uniform allowance specifically for boots but they have to hand in their dead boots and provide the new invoice and are normally allowed to claim up to £50 per year or £12 per quarter).

At the moment police uniforms are regional, certain neighbouring forces might share specific elements under certain frameworks, but there are no centralised purchasing agreements.  However this is changing and in an effort to cut police uniform costs procurement is being moved to a more centralised national level tender business in an effort to benefit from economies of scale.  It is worth noting however that this was the previous model and it was decided that regional force level purchasing would work out cheaper so this is a bit of a policy flip flop and given the costs of changing the model, will probably end up costing more again than it they left it well enough alone.

In general, despite the more "combative" apperance of the new style uniforms, most officers seem happier with the move to more practical, functional police uniforms than the old suit and clip on tie approach, and the issue of Goretex high viz jackets, fleece tops and heavy weight winter trousers have certainly made life more comfortable than the old capes ever would.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Police Vests Review

Police vests are a great way to keep the weight off your hips and reduce back fatigue.  Police vests differ from combat or assault vests in that whilst they both perform the same basic function of allowing kit and equipment to be mounted conveniently on the body, the police and combat vests are required to carry completely different products and give a completely different appearance.

Police vests are normally designed to be worn over a stab vest.  Some stab vests carriers also have a selection of pockets but they normally fall well short of the form and function of a proper vest for the variety and positioning of the pockets and pouches.

A typical design for a police vest would be two airwaves docs on the left and right breast to allow a radio to be mounted on either side, and on the opposite side it is not uncommon for a torch or Peli versabrite to be mounted in a specially designed adapter.  There would also be a baton holder and a CS spray holder.  If the vest is a cross draw the baton holder is on the opposite side the the hand denomination of the wearer, designed to be drawn across the body, and the CS Spray holder then on the opposite side.  Other common Police Vest pouches would be a cuff holder, small torch holder and a couple of general purpose pouches which you can cram an AtoZ, some sandwiches, spare nitrile gloves, pnb, any other docs etc etc.

The most popular brands of Police Vests include Arktis, MCP. 5.11 and Op. Zulu.  Arktis were made popular for their quality but only a few officers can afford one, let alone justify the expense!!! 5.11 are a bit US centric in their design, much more overt "combat" style looks and more focused on firearms uses so magazine pouches etc.  If you are looking for a high quality, reasonably priced, very thoughtfully designed vest I would recommend the Op. Zulu Police Vest without a shadow of a doubt.  Some real thought has been put into the design of this vest with the positioning of the pockets, and the extra features, including pen holders, hidden key keeper, D rings, independent nitrile glove pocket, rear "stash" pocket, light weight mesh shoulders, velcro patch holders etc etc. make Op. Zulu police vests a stand out winner!!!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Military Gloves

When discussing Tactical Glove the difference between a military glove and a police glove is reflected in the requirements that the different users need.  Police gloves are designed to deal with knife threats and needle threats offering various levels of "Slash" and "Puncture" resistance whilst maintaining a uniform appearance.  Military gloves on the other hand are designed for; flash/heat resistance, knuckle protection, trigger finger tactile sensitivity, abrasion and tear resistance and of course camouflage!

Probably the best known brands of in the military glove market are Oakley (probably the dominant glove brand) and Wiley X.  Both companies backgrounds are not in military gloves but extreme sports products, mountain biking etc.  There is not really a lot to differentiate the gloves to be honest, Oakley being a bit more expensive than Wiley X in general, mainly due to the fashion appeal of the brand rather than anything more substantial.  Similarities on both military gloves include, cut and heat and flame resistant kevlar/nomex blend for the backing material, flame and abrasion resistant leather palm (I believe both use Goat Skin though I am not sure), velcro closure, knuckle protection (polymer plastic on the Wileyx Military Gloves, Carbon Fibre on the Oakley Gloves) and both come in black and desert, with Wiley X also being available in Olive Drab.

Personally I have an older version of the Wiley X military gloves which included additional hard knuckle protection on the secondary knuckle of the pointer, index and ring finger plus they were slightly cheaper than Oakley!

There are plenty of other military glove brands out on the market from Viper and Web-tex to real budget brands that would suffice for a bit or airsoft or paintball but I really value a quality pair of gloves for being able to handle weapons and equipment easily and the protection they offer your hands is invaluable if you are trying to exit a burning vehicle for example.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Tactical Shirts

These days Tactical Shirts come in many different forms using many different technical fabrics and clever design ideas.  The traditional tactical shirt is still a button down collared shirt, with a few enhancements like epaulets for a "security" badge, company logo or rank insignia, concealed pistol holder pockets or an access flap to a covert pistol harness is not un common in a tactical shirt, collar stays to prevent curling after prolonged use (or even abuse) in harsh environments, radio loops for an earpiece to be fed through and kept secure, and normally a few extra pockets as well for ID, money/card stash/maps or other documents.

The traditional style tactical shirt is normally available in a heavy duty cotton version, or a light weight "rip-stop" poly cotton blend.  Personally I prefer the cotton the majority of the time, despite some of the technical advantages of the poly cotton (faster drying, supposedly more breathable, and as the name implies "rip stop") purley from a comfort perspective as I don't really get on with synthetic fibres so well.  This problem with a synthetic tactical shirt is often worsened when worn under body armour, or a backpack when the rubbing and sweat buildup is worst, especially on the nipples and under the arms.  Cotton is just more comfortable for me.

There are more modern "polo shirt" styles which are becoming popular in the tactical arena, from your basic black security polo shirt....a black polo with "Security" in big white letters on the back shoulders and left breast, to the more Gucci "professional" polos from brands Blackhawk or 5.11 which retail at about 3 times the price!!!  The more up market tactical polo shirts offer some of the features of their traditional shirt counterparts, extra pen pockets, collar stays, radio and sun-glass loops etc. and also a better build quality; heavier weight material and re enforced stitching.  These styles of shirts have become very popular with maritime security tactical users and are normally available in a cotton or synthetic moisture wicking material.  Again, personally I prefer the cotton tactical shirts as I find the moisture wicking versions tend to suffer from odour build-up, though a colleague has suggest that this doesn't happen if you use a detergent without any fabric softener component.....I have yet to test this theory tho!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Gun Holsters (Mainly Pistol Holders)

When picking a gun holster it is not an item you want to make a snap decision on, and price really isn't something to scrimp on!

For the purpose of this article I will be focusing mainly on pistol holders when I am referring to gun holsters, with my experiences being Glock and Sig based ( I know the Baretta 92F is quite a common CP side arm but I haven't used one since I had a plastic BB Gun when I was 12).  My personal preference is for a drop leg holster not having much demand for concealment I don't really know why anyone would choose a hip mounted gun holster unless that was what you were issued and you were not allowed to change it.

I know that both Web-Tex and Viper make popular gun holsters available at very reasonable price points and these are popular with airsoft players and paint ball players, but I am not so confident I would want to trust my life with one...well not for a long period anyway! Whilst they will function perfectly well as a pretty "universal" gun holster, holding most pistols, it is more the build quality and longevity of the product that concerns me, on a 6 month deployment, re stocking can be an issue and you don't want to be heading into a hostile environment with your holster taped up and held together with zip ties!

Even cheaper than the drop leg versions MOLLE pistol holsters from viper cost less than £10 in most online stores....but remember you will need a leg platform if you want to use it as a drop leg, which will cost about another £10, but you can mount a MOLLE pistol holder on your belt, body armour, kit bag or any other MOLLE surface.

Both the drop leg and MOLLE holsters are available in Black, OD, Digi-DPM and US Multicam, unfortunately I have not been able to find any pistol holders in UK Multi Terrain Pattern.

Both Blachawk and 5.11 make holsters for guns that I would be a lot more comfortable trusting my life with, but of course that comes at a price.  5.11 are cheaper than Blackhawk, and while a few die hards might say that that makes them better I cam confident that 5.11 are good enough.  Personally I prefer the material holsters over the polymer versions, but that is of course personal preference....A polymer gun holster will of course only fit a very limited range of guns so you are potentially forking out every time you get a new issued weapon!  I would instead opt for the 5.11 LBE Holster for most situations, personally I would have it on a leg platform (I also fit a strap butter to my platform).

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Blackstone's Books and Police Manuals

Blackstone's Books are the leading authority on police law and operational guides covering everything from recruitment advice to specialist topic areas like going to court, dealing with the proceeds of crime or vulnerable and child witnesses as well as study aids for promotional exams like the Sergeant and inspectors, PACE and OSPRE exams.

Blackstone's books are the specialist arm of Oxford University Press company.  The first book was printed in Oxford in 1478, just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. The University was involved with several printers in Oxford over the next century, although there was no formal university press.
In 1586 the University of Oxford's right to print books was recognised in a decree from the Star Chamber. This was enhanced in the Great Charter secured by Archbishop Laud from King Charles I, which entitled the University to print 'all manner of books'.  Other than the Blackstones Books legal range Oxford University press (or OUP) for short is most famous for the Oxford English Dictionary.

It was from William Blackstone that the Blacstones legal books derive their name.  William Blackstone was an undergraduate at Oxford University and was made famous by his writing of the Commentaries on the Laws of England.  Academics have said that the Commentaries were crucial in changing English Law from a system based on actions to a system of substantive law.[101] At the time of publication, the common law of England was still, in some ways, in its infancy, with people uncertain as to what the law was. The Commentaries helped to solidify legal thinking.[102] At the same time, legal education had stalled, and Blackstone's work gave the Law "at least a veneer of scholarly respectability".[1] William Searle Holdsworth, one of Blackstone's successors as Vinerian Professor, argued that "if the Commentaries had not been written when they were written, I think it very doubtful that [the United States], and other English speaking countries would have so universally adopted the [common] law".

Some of the most popular blackstones books are the operational handbooks, now available in two main flavours, "Law" and "Practise and Procedure".  Both books are handy pocket sized publications which provide easy reference when patrolling the beat or back at the station.  Similarly the more specific "Handbook for the Special Constabulary" is a very popular pocket sized guide with plenty of detailed yet easy to digest information packed inside.

For those more advanced learning requirements the Four Volume Set of Q&A's and the Police Manuals provide as much detail as any officer would normally need and make for a more intensive at home study aid than a portable reference guide.

Blackstones main book publication rival was Janes Police Books which sadly closed its production and publishing operation in November 2011, including the popular Janes Police Review and Police Product Review. Many of the staff from Janes Police Product Review have formed a team to produce a new publication; Police Product Insight.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

5.11 Boots Review

The only 5.11 Boots I have used are the 6 Inch HRT Advance Desert Boots with side zip to personally review, and as you can tell from my previous posts I am very much a 5.11 kit fan but I will give the unbiased feedback I have gathered from other users of the 5.11 HRT Advance boot and the 5.11 XPRT Police Boot as well.

From the off the HRT Advance boot were the most comfortable boots I have ever owned and they continued to be so until they were stolen from me at the gym :( .  I was so pleased with these 5.11 boots that they became my default footwear, looking fine with a pair of jeans at the weekend (once they were a bit scuffed and grubby) as well as for bombing about all over Egypt or South America.  The side zip made them a sinch to pull on and off and the temperature regulation from the coolmax and Drilex lining kept my feet dry and fresh in all but the worst situations.  At ~£100 from most online retailers I will be investing a new pair once I have a little bit more cash in my pocket for sure.

On a side note a friend used his desert 6inch HRT advance 5.11 boots in the snow in the UK and found them to be completely snow proof and fantastically grippy after spending spending several days trudging about in them!

The other 5.11 boots I have not tried myself but have heard extensive feedback on are the 5.11 XPRT (Extreme Performance for Rapid Tactics)Police Boots.  These are a a light weight response boot designed for the US market with an emphasis on speed! As a response boot they perform very well, highly grippy sole even on wet surfaces and excellent ankle support, without being restrictive to movement.

On the down side there are two flaws with these 5.11 boots.  First; they are not designed for, and subsequently will not last if used for, long periods of foot patrol.  The sole will wear down quickly (its soft composite provides better grip over durability) and the supple construction means the continued flexing may lead the boots to split along the creases.  The second gripe is the kick toe, great for a bit of extra protection and durability, not ideal for bulling and polishing for parade or even uniform wear if your skipper is a bit strict!

Check out these, and more 5.11 Boots at PatrolStore.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Bates Boots Review

Bates boots have been used much more prominently in the USA than in the UK for many years.  Comparable to Magnum Boots in the USA Bates Boots are not nearly as popular in the UK, but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored in your quest for a pair of high quality police boots.

The most popular of the Bates range is the Bates Falcon Boot.  The Faclon Boot from Bates is  used by SBS (Special Boat Service), the Royal Marines Visibility Team and special forces across the globe.  The Falcon Bates Boot is unique in its light weight design and specialist sole.  The sole is the key feature of this boot, providing the highest levels of traction available on slippery surfaces, like boat decks, or aircraft wings, even when wet. The downside being that the boots are a light weight response boot, ideal for quick in and out operations, not so good for longer patrols, be they urban or mountainous, jungle or desert!

A more suitable Bates boot for urban foot patrol, great for police users, is the bates tactical sport side zip.  The light weight leather and nylon construction with the easy access side zip and reasonable price point makes these the second most popular of the bates range.  Similar to the Tactical Sport Side Zip in design is the GX8 Bates Boot, the difference being it has no side zip, but does boast a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane.  The Gore-tex however does make the Bates GX8 quite a bit more expensive at circa £90.

Some of the newer Bates models boast an individual comfort system.  A unique dial in the heal of the boot which allows the user to adjust the camber of the footbed to suit the individual arch.  The downside of this being that you can adjust the arches to make the comfortable with an underlying foot problem you will actually accentuate the problem rather than correct it.

One point of note is that Bates Boots are not EN certified or SRA, B or C slip rated as they are built to US standards rather than UK or European Standards so bear that in mind if making a corporate purchase.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Magnum Classic Boots

The Magnum Classic boot is the "Traditional" Leather and Nylon police boot.  Often imitated never, bettered this classic boot design has served police officers across the globe for nearly 25 years (and will probably last another 25!).  The Magnum Classic ticks all the standard Magnum Boot boxes; EN Certified, ISO9000, SRC Slip resistant sole, full grain leather and 900D ballistic nylon upper and a 12 Month manufacturers warranty etc. but probably the thing that makes the Classic Magnum so popular is the simple design and reserved appearance.

Some of the more modern Magnum boots have a lot more fancy technology, but they of course cost a bit more than the Classic model and their "funky" designs make them a bit more garish and not so "uniform."  With the classic you can polish the toe to get a great shine that will make these boots acceptable to even the strictest of skippers.

Some people prefer the similarly priced Magnum Panther Boot with the side zip for easier and faster donning and dothing, but if you want the same convenience but still want to stick with the original Magnum Classic you can lace in a pair of zippers for the front.  The zippers actually make the boots much more comfortable than with the laces alone and in the eventuality that the zippers failed you can always re lace the boots the traditional way.

If you are starting out as a police officer I would recommend you pick up a pair of these Magnum Boots for your general duties.  They will serve on foot patrol, in the classroom, in a car or on parade equally well without give you the "Tackleberry" image and if later on you find you need a more specialized boot then you can always upgrade without having poured too much money down the drain on some uber Gucci boots that are not fit for purpose.  Like most Magnum Boots they are available in size 9.

One point of note though, the Classics are not waterproof.  They have no membrane or Ion mask technology unfortunately.   The full grain leather and quality nylon construction does make them pretty water resistant, an if you wax and polish the leather well you should find the boots adequately water resistant for all but the heaviest of rain down pours and they will dry out quite quickly too.