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.