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Reviews : Police Product Test

Police Product Test: 5.11 Tactical XPRT Boots

With hardy construction and an ankle-wrap system, these boots protect your feet from the elements as well as from sprains.

April 01, 2008  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author


5.11 Tactical made its mark in the shooting industry with the 5.11 Tactical Pant. The XPRT Boots are the latest offering from 5.11 to meet your duty and field needs. The XPRT is offered in two versions: the smooth leather Patrol Boot or the TuffTek-enhanced Tactical Boot. I chose to look at the Tactical Boot.

From its aggressive outsole to its waterproof heavy-duty 1,200-denier nylon upper, this boot is built to tackle the worst conditions a call-out can throw your way. The upper is protected by TuffTek, which keeps the leather from getting scuffed and gives your toe traction to push off should you have to do a low crawl.

To protect your ankle during strenuous activities on uneven terrain, the Talon Stabilizer wrap system helps secure the boot to your foot with cinching around the ankle. While this might seem like nothing, this wrap of polymer and TuffTek will help keep you from rolling your ankle, preventing or lessening a sprain.

When it comes to comfort the XPRT feels like your favorite basketball shoe…on steroids. I tested the XPRT while southwestern Pennsylvania was in the midst of the melting, freezing, and snowing raining cycle known as February. The boots kept my feet dry in the rain, and I didn't slide down the sidewalk while doing my daily walk, even though the ground was covered with ice and snow. While many will think sidewalks are generally even terrain, Pittsburgh is hilly and the sidewalks old; this makes for treacherous footing when ice covered.

To give the XPRTs a more challenging workout I trudged over the hills and fields in them. The outsole kept me from losing footing in the snowy, icy, muddy conditions that February brings to my home town. Other "duty" boots have not been able to make that claim.

Throughout my testing the XPRTs never let me down. There were no slips, slides, or wet feet. These boots are comfortable, waterproof, and tough. They are built for on- and offroad use, just where a shift will take you. 

Tru Spec by Atlanco

H20 Gen-2 Parka

Tru Spec's H2O Gen-2 Parka is a high-quality, affordably priced, dedicated rain parka. The model ECW with a liner sells for $104.99 or less in most catalogs; compare that to more than $200 for similar waterproof parkas. Getting a fleece liner along with your waterproof parka is a major cost savings, especially when the liner is waterproof.

I chose to test the Generation 2 version of the H20 Parka. The Gen-2 parka I have been wearing is an awesome piece of clothing. It is warm, windproof, and most importantly has kept me dry in downpours and blizzards alike. Two front pockets on each side help protect odds and ends from the weather, too. And a front storm flapped billows-style pocket with a hand warmer pocket behind it on each side allows you to store gear and keep your hands warm and dry.

The Gen-2 has underarm zippers to vent body heat, storm flapped front two-way zipper, adjustable sleeve cuffs, and storm drawstring for those really harsh days. Sleeve pockets on each sleeve for stowing small items have Velcro closure storm flaps to protect what you keep inside.

While the Gen-2 H20 parka does not come with a badge hangar, I talked with a local uniform shop and one can be attached and heat sealed to maintain the parka's waterproof barrier. Agency patches can be applied in the same manner to the sleeves, making this an ideal harsh weather duty parka. This parka is long enough to cover your duty belt and keep all your gear dry too.

Some may turn their nose up at the Tru Spec H20 parkas because they are not "uniform" apparel. But should you get caught in a downpour and you stay dry, you will rethink this position. If your agency allows you latitude in your duty outerwear or you need a good piece of field gear for your call out bag, any of Tru Spec's H20 series of parkas is a good piece of gear to include.

Mercury Luggage

Alpha Bags

Mercury Luggage manufactures Alpha Bags to meet a GI's or police officer's needs. I found the Computer Messenger to be such a bag. The bag has a polymer bottom to keep your gear dry in wet conditions, and its wraparound reinforcing straps that run front to back and around the length of the bag show this bag is built to survive the roughest treatment you can dish out.

As the name implies the Computer Messenger will carry a laptop computer. A padded computer case isolates and protects your laptop. But the case can be removed and used independent of the Computer Messenger, leaving the main bag ready to take on many duties other than carrying a computer.

Secured inside the Computer Messenger's front pocket are smaller pockets and pouches for pens, PDAs, notebooks, business cards, and all that little stuff that rolls around in your bag. When you remove the computer pouch there is room to carry a jacket or larger gear, drink bottles, camera, etc. Once you zip the bag closed, you can use the handy cover flap to protect your gear from the weather.

On the front of the bag are three MOLLE pouches that each accommodate two 30-round AR magazines or items such as battery chargers and various personal duty gear. If you prefer other pouches, Mercury Luggage has many to offer or any other MOLLE compatible pouch will fit. If you need to carry larger items such as a jacket or high-visibility vest, you can secure them with the cinch straps on each end of this bag.

I found the Computer Messenger to be a bag that can be used for duty, range (because you can change the front pouches), and travel as the nearly perfect carry-on bag. It holds all the gear for a duty day or an overnight business trip. If you are looking for a new duty bag, Mercury Luggage can help.

First-Light USA

Tomahawk Light

When it comes to innovative LED duty lights, First-Light USA is on the cutting edge. This year at the SHOT Show, First-Light debuted its Tomahawk light. Having reviewed First-Light's Liberator (POLICE Magazine, Sep. 2006), I was looking forward to seeing and handling this new light.

The Tomahawk is literally a handful of light that takes up little or no space on a duty belt. In fact, you can clip it to your shirt; that's how small the Tomahawk is. Not only is this light small, but it provides several light options: an 80-lumen white light, and red LEDs or blue LEDs to allow you to covertly navigate in the dark or easily check IDs. The Tomahawk does all this in a package smaller and lighter than a spare magazine.

Other than its size, what make the Tomahawk unique are the carry method and its controls. To carry the Tomahawk a MOLLE clip is attached to the light and soon a belt/MOLLE Tactical Retention System mount for the light will also be available. This clip is spring steel and will secure the light to a pocket, belt, lanyard loop, tactical vest—literally anything you can slide the light onto.

For ease of operation a finger loop is attached to the Tomahawk. This loop allows you to do reloads without the light being in the way. It allows you to assume a natural shooting grip and works with handguns or long guns with a vertical fore grip. I found that looping the light around my middle finger gave me the easiest access to the light controls, as well as the most secure grip. Guys with large hands tell me they prefer using their index finger.

Controls on the Tomahawk are straight forward. The front buttons function as the lock off, LED color selector, and LED/main light actuator, while the rear button operates the main white light. Pushing both front buttons locks or unlocks the light. When unlocked, the right button selects LED color, and the left button activates the LEDs or when held down turns on the white light. This is a constant-on switch for these lights. If you are operating with the LEDs and need the brighter white light, simply push the rear button. To return to LED mode release the button. The rear button also functions as a momentary on/off switch for the main light.

First-Light increases the Tomahawk's versatility by offering a night vision-compatible light, and a version with 120-lumen output. This light works with most weapons systems and is ideal for use with K-9s, or for those times you need a third hand. If you are looking for a multiple-use light, the First-Light Tomahawk should be on your short list.

Tags: 5.11 Tactical, Duty Boots, Footwear, Tru Spec by Atlanco, raingear, First-Light USA, Flashlights, Outerwear

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