Often times, boots that wear high on my shins irritate me. But the Spider 8.1 Urban boots have just the right amount of padding around the collars and tongue to prevent this discomfort without feeling too bulky. The soles did not make any excessive noise on any of the surfaces I worked on nor did they leave any scuff marks. The treads offered plenty of traction everywhere I walked, including wet, sandy, rocky, and concrete surfaces.
Sadly, I did not have the opportunity to test the "Fast Rope System" built into the soles, but I have been on enough ropes to understand how this feature would work well for quick, controlled rope descents.
I highly recommend the Spider 8.1 Urban boots for duty and detail wear. They offer all of the things I look for in a duty boot and the Magnum brand name can be trusted for quality, durable footwear. — Thaddeus Benton
5.11 Tactical: Dry Rain Shell
One piece of gear that is indispensible any time of year is a rain jacket. Unfortunately, when most of us think of protection from the elements it turns out to be a heavy piece of outerwear. This means most likely it is left at the station in a locker. 5.11 Tactical has a solution to this problem, the Tac Dry Rain Shell.
As you might guess, the Tac Dry Rain Shell (TDRS) is just what its name implies, a shell. It's lightweight and will fit in the pocket of a duty bag. This means you have a rain jacket at hand should the weather suddenly go south at any point through the day.
The TDRS is designed to serve as a foul weather jacket, not just one to get you back to the station for more substantial gear. I found it was capable of fighting off the fall rains here in southwest Pennsylvania and broke the stiffest winds we had here during the fall. This jacket kept me dry on several trips to the range and when out doing my daily PT to rehab my knee while recovering from surgery.
If you think this is just another rain shell, think again. The TDRS has dropdown panels for identification placards, two large exterior slash pockets, and three small interior small pockets to store your cell phone and other gear. It also has a removable hood that stores in the collar and can be worn around your weapon or radio or it can cover your gear from the elements.
If you're worried about accessing your weapon, fear not. The patent pending QUIXIP feature gives you virtually instant access when needed. Simply pull the tab at the side of the jacket as you access your weapon, and the jacket is open and out of the way to allow you an unimpeded draw stroke.
Another less noticeable feature of the TDRS is its looks. This jacket was built to look like any other rain jacket you would find at your local clothing store. It doesn't scream "cop" unless you affix your uniform patches to it for duty use. The charcoal and black TDRS truly has the casual wear look, making it ideal for plain clothes or off-duty wear. Try to find another piece of rain gear that offers you that at your local chain store.
5.11 Tactical's Tac Dry Rain Shell was designed and built to protect officers from the elements no matter what their assignment is. Check it out; it's a good piece of kit for your bag. — Scott Smith
EOTAC: Operator Pant
When it comes to making clothing built to take a pounding, EOTAC's Operator Pant lives up to the old Timex watch tag line; it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
These pants are built from seven-ounce ripstop cotton and from what I can tell they hold their color virtually forever (my OD ones have slight fading on the edges of the pocket flaps; character marks). "Operator Pants" is not just a catchy "tacti-cool" name in this case. These are designed to meet the needs of law enforcement.
One of the features that sets EOTAC's pants apart from others is the pockets, which are made for optimal function. Instead of a slash, they have more of a scoop to give you easier access when wearing a holster, magazine pouch, and other equipment.
The thigh pockets of the Operator Pants are angled slightly forward much like the military ACUs. Inside are elastic keepers to secure two AR magazines. This allows you easier access when driving, kneeling, or in any position with a bent knee.
The last visible pocket is the small AR magazine-sized calf pocket. While it will hold an AR magazine, it will also hold a pressure bandage and clotting agent kit. Since you will most likely apply these items while kneeling or squatting, the position of the pocket again provides easy access. If you look at the rear pockets, you will find two smaller hook-and-loop closed wallet or ID pockets so your credentials and such won't get shuffled in with other stuff in your rear pockets. The closure also keeps them secure.
In addition to their many pockets, EOTAC's Operator Pants feature a gusseted crotch. This gives you more room in the seat of the pants, reduces stress on the double seams, and increases the comfort factor since there is no "centerline" seam.
While not as visible as pockets or gussets, the pants' belt loops are a stand-out feature. They are one inch wide, will accommodate a 1.75-inch belt, and are spaced to allow placement of a sidearm and magazine pouch and not have the belt loop in the way. The wide belt loop also is more durable than its narrow cousins found on other pants.
Over the past few months, I have found the Operator Pants to be comfortable for 10-hour road trips and daily PT whether walking or pedaling my bike, they look good enough to head out to the grocery store, and are at home on the firing line. — Scott Smith