There was a buzz about this year’s TREXPO East, before, during, and after the event. Attendees at the three-day conference and expo—which was held in the D.C. suburb of Chantilly, Va. in late August—agreed on one thing: This was a TREXPO to remember.
Many things made this year’s TREXPO East memorable. The classes and hands-on training workshops were well attended and well received, the keynote presentations by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Col. Danny McKnight were inspiring and passionate, and the range demos on Thursday were punctuated by the performance of a human torch. But what made this year’s TREXPO East truly exceptional was the wide variety of new and new to TREXPO tactical and patrol products on display at the show.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Arctic Fire was the most entertaining exhibitor at this year’s TREXPO. On the show floor, the company played video of its Thermo Wear fireproof clothing being sprayed with lighter fluid and ignited. It also showed footage of both Nomex and Thermo Wear being heated with a blow torch. Nomex lost.
But Arctic Fire saved its best stuff for a demo at the range. The company hired a stunt man, Kid Richmond, to perform as a human torch while wearing Thermo Wear. Richmond was painted with white gas and diesel fuel and set ablaze. He suffered only superficial burns to his face where the fire blew up under his Thermo Wear mask. He shrugged the minor burns off as an occupational hazard.
Thermo Wear is clothing made of a carbon aramid that has been pre-burned. The process consumes all of the material in the fiber that could be used as fuel for a fire. At TREXPO, Arctic Fire sprayed a Thermo Wear shirt with lighter fluid and ignited it. The lighter fluid burned off, but the shirt was not damaged.
Arctic Wear is marketing its Thermo Wear T-shirts to cops and soldiers for wear under body armor. The fabric is breathable and wicks moisture away from the skin. And it will not burn. The price had not been set at press time, but the company expects it to be only slightly more than popular polyester microfiber T-shirts.
Reader Service No. 311
Sometimes the smallest items at TREXPO can be really interesting. Such is the case with Hy•Tape’s latex-free adhesive tape. The zinc oxide-based tape was developed to make it a lot easier and a lot safer for undercover officers to wear a “wire.” It secures wireless audio and video body wire transmitters for hours, and it’s waterproof so it’s immune to perspiration.
Reader Service No. 312
The Gun Shop
Perma-Gel Ballistic Gelatin
Anyone who has ever tried to make FBI-recipe ballistic gelatin knows that the stuff can be a pain. It melts in the sun. It gets contaminated with bacteria. And it’s opaque, so sometimes it’s hard to see the wound channel. At TREXPO, The Gun Shop showed Perma-Gel, a special formula clear ballistic gelatin that does not need to be refrigerated, won’t melt except at high temperature, and has no food content so bacteria won’t be able to thrive in it. Perma-Gel can be bought precooked for about $90 a block or you can buy the mix and a cooker and make your own for a slight savings. The Gun Shop says it believes Perma-Gel will be popular with forensic ballistics experts and rangemasters who are testing ammo.
Reader Service No. 313
Night Vision Systems
No quality night vision system is cheap, but Night Vision Systems showed a great little monocular at TREXPO East that isn’t a budget buster. The monocular, priced under $4,000, runs on two AA batteries and can be attached to both video and still cameras. It’s small (six inches long), lightweight (14.5 ounces), water resistant, and it offers GEN 3 image intensification.
Reader Service No. 314
Glock Replacement Frames
Sometimes an officer has no choice as to what gun to carry. Consequently, a lot of cops who don’t like polymer pistols get handed a Glock and told to live with it. If you’re one of those guys who’d rather have a metal-frame pistol than a Glock but department policy dictates that you carry a Glock, CCF/RaceFrames may have a solution for you.
At TREXPO, the company showed a wide variety of metal (aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium) frames for full-sized Glock duty pistols. The frames have Picatinny rails, shorter beaver tails, optional manual safeties, larger trigger guard openings, checkered front and rear straps, and other features. Some weigh as much as a 1911; others are almost as light as a polymer-framed Glock.
Reader Service No. 315
PentagonLight showed its new line of Stealth LaserLights. The Stealth LaserLight is a tactical weapon-mounted light for long guns that features an offset laser sight. Its LaRue Tactical mount ensures “repeat zero” of the laser, and the sight can be calibrated to adjust for windage and elevation. The Stealth LaserLight is available in four configurations: two LED models (65 and 135 lumens) and two Xenon lamp (70 and 135 lumens) models.
Reader Service No. 316
Southwest Armor Technologies
Desert Fury and QuickStrap
Southwest Armor Technologies (SWAT) showed its line of Desert Fury tactical armor. The armor is NIJ Level IIIA certified front and rear and has just been selected by the DEA as its issue tactical vest. It fits hard plates front and rear and has a ballistic collar insert, a ballistic shoulder protector, and Molle pouches. Desert Fury Vests are available in camouflage, black, coyote brown, and O.D. green.
In addition to its new vests, SWAT is now marketing a nifty backup gun holster. SWAT’s QuickStrap holster attaches to the side straps of most concealable body armor. The wearer gains quick access to his or her backup gun by pulling a hidden strap that tucks around his or her shirt tail. When the strap is pulled, it lifts up the shirt, revealing the holster. SWAT owner Phil Roux says the QuickStrap provides a secure holster for backup guns that’s easily accessed by the wearer.
Reader Service No. 317
The original QuikClot—granulated blood clotting material in a foil pouch—was a major advancement in battlefield medicine, but it had some drawbacks that were quickly discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan. It blew around in the wind, and it had to be cleaned from the wound by emergency medical personnel. Z-Medica went back to the drawing board and the result is the QuikClot material encased in a sterile cloth sponge. The sponges are designed to be packed directly into a wound, then covered with a pressure dressing. They can be applied to a wound at any angle.
Reader Service No. 318
Thermal Camera Head
The big news from Zistos at this year’s TREXPO East was the availability of a thermal camera head for the company’s tactical pole cameras. Compatible with all Zistos poles and cables, the THC-50D thermal camera head was developed for tactical and rescue operations. It has 10 infrared LEDs, a thermal imaging camera, and a high-res, black-and-white video camera.
In addition to the THC-50D thermal camera head, Zistos also demonstrated a night vision adapter for its equipment. The adapter lets you convert any I2 monocular into a pole camera for the Zistos video system.
Reader Service No. 319
U.S. Armor showed its Enforcer XLT vest, which was recently selected as the issue vest for Customs and Border Patrol. The ballistic panels are made of Kevlar Comfort XLT and Honeywell GoldFlex to provide comfort and flexibility. Available in permanent nylon, poly/cotton, and poly-cotton Akwadyne carriers, the vest is sold in a variety of styles, sizes, and lengths. A six-point elastic and Velcro closure system provides an accurate fit.
Reader Service No. 320