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Reviews : Police Product Test

Police Product Test: The Force New Generation 3 Jacket

This jacket can keep you warm and dry in even the worst weather.

December 01, 2007  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author


Last year one of the best-known uniform brands, Horace Small, became part of VF Imagewear and was rebranded as The Force. VF is a major player in the clothing market, owning such well-known brands as Lee, Wrangler, and North Face, and it is working hard to incorporate the same kind of quality into its The Force line of law enforcement apparel. The Force's 3-in-1 jacket, the New Generation 3, is a leading example of this combination of tradition and modern technical innovations.     

The New Generation 3 offers a Primaloft liner and outer shell for cold wet days, or just the shell for those damp days, or just the liner for those chilly mornings. To aid in versatility the outer shell has a zipper closure with snap storm flap. This allows you to button up on the cold days or snap shut if you don't want to get overly warm when wearing the liner and jacket.

This jacket not only offers you a number of ways to wear it, it's also packed with features. To vent body heat and reduce condensation in the jacket, there are armpit zippers for ventilation. There are also a concealed chest pocket for small items or backup weapons, inner pockets to secure a wallet and such, inner cinch cords to snug up the bottom of the jacket to keep out those drafts that chill you, and there are side zippers for easy access to your duty gear. The collar stores a hood, which when packed inside forms a high collar to keep your neck warm.

Overall, the New Generation 3 jacket got two thumbs up from the local officers who wore it. The final officer to try it out got to be the owner because it fit him best. Check out The Force's New Generation 3 if you are in need of a new multi-season duty jacket.

FNH USA

Patrol Flashlights

FNH USA—best known for its handguns,  long guns, and machine guns—has now entered the duty flashlight market. And as anyone who has carried FN firearms would expect, FN's flashlights are built to survive the rigors of serious duty.

FN's Viper X-11 and Striker-6 are made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, produce 150 lumens of light, and are sealed with multiple O-rings for water resistance. Another nice design feature on both lights is a wire steel clip that's tough and serves as an anti-roll device. Both lights have a flat non-reflective finish, so glare won't give you away.

The most striking feature of both lights is the four-prong light bezel. These prongs protect the light bezel and can be used to break glass in an emergency.

Other than size, the Viper and Striker are pretty much the same light. However, they do have some distinguishing features. The Striker uses a three-position tail switch. It can be locked off, turned to push button on, or constant on. The Viper uses a standard push button; you tap it for intermittent light and push it in for constant light. Both lights' switches are easy to operate even with gloves on.

The FNH Viper and Striker are heavy-duty lights built to take the hardest use you can dish out. If you are looking for lights that are rugged enough to survive Armageddon, give the FNH Viper and Striker a look; you won't be disappointed.

Adidas

GSG9-2 Boots

The original Adidas GSG9 boots had an almost cult-like following but had several shortcomings such as they weren't very supportive and comfortable when worn for extended periods of time. Also, the soles didn't give the best traction on some wet surfaces.

Adidas addressed these issues with the GSG9-2. The midsole of the GSG9-2 looks like one you would find on a running shoe. In actuality it is Adidas' proprietary material adiPRENE. The way the midsole is shaped and wrapped gives the boot support, and it absorbs a lot of shock from walking or running.

The sole of the GSG9-2 has been redesigned and uses material found on Adidas' football shoes. This material gives good grip on any surface. The outsole has also been changed from the little cones of the GSG9 to a more aggressive sole like you'd find on a hiking boot. This sole pattern works better in muddy and snowy conditions as well as bone-dry ones.

GSG9-2 uppers are full-grain leather and lined with ClimaProof. This is a waterproof, breathable membrane ideal for rain duty.

The arch area of the boot is wrapped with adiTUFF. This gives support and stability to the foot and helps protect the boot when fast roping and rappelling.

Overall, I have to say the new GSG9-2 is a vast improvement over the original. The upper was comfortable from the first time I put it on and it was even comfy after wearing then in excess of 12 hours. Adidas' GSG9-2 boot will serve you well for daily duty wear or as a tactical boot.

Otte Gear

Patrol Parka

Otte Gear is a relatively new company that is making inroads with law enforcement officers and military personnel. The owners of Otte Gear are avid mountain climbers, skiers, snowboarders, and shooters; they make products for extreme outdoor activities.

Otte Gear sells two types of rainwear: the soft shelled Alpine Jacket and the hard shelled Patrol Parka. Both jackets are designed to stand up to the harshest climates and keep the wearer dry. The Alpine Jacket works well for wear under a logo-embossed raid jacket, while the Patrol Parka is designed to be worn as a standalone piece of outerwear.

I have been using a Patrol Parka in multicam for the better part of this year. The jacket has been worn on the range, in the woods hunting and hiking, and as an everyday all around jacket. I can say wholeheartedly that it is a great rain parka. It has kept me dry and comfortable in downpours, even in storms accompanied by heavy winds. The Patrol Parka is designed to meet the needs of any officer who works in foul weather for extended periods. It even comes with a hood that will fit over a PSGAT helmet. The hood stores neatly in the collar.

Not only is it a great rain jacket, it's also a great jacket for officers who have to carry a lot of stuff and need to both access it in a hurry and keep it dry. The Patrol Parka has zippered sleeve pockets that are easy to reach and hold lots of small stuff. The pockets are covered in Velcro to allow easy application of unit patches and ID tags. The chest pockets are even easily reached when wearing a Hi-Viz traffic vest or raid vest, and for security they also are zippered.

Two features that set the Otte Gear Patrol Parka apart from other rain wear is the scalloped tail, which rides lower over the butt to keep your butt dry if you sit down. This also conceals almost any handgun you wear for duty or for personal protection.

Another feature that will help keep you dry in even the worst weather is the sealed zippers. Most zippers are just sewn to the fabric; Otte uses sealed zippers like those found in nautical foul weather gear. The zippers are also tape sealed where they are sewn to the fabric to create a truly weatherproof seal. I haven't found this on any wet weather gear for duty/outdoor wear.

Tags: Outerwear, FNH USA, Flashlights, Boots

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