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Reviews : Police Product Test

Atlanco/Tru-Spec Tactical Response Uniform

Just like the Army's ACU, this uniform is rugged, functional, and ready for duty.

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


If your agency is in the market for new tactical uniforms, check out Atlanco/Tru-Spec Tactical Response Uniforms or "TRU."

Tru-Spec gear is high quality and affordably priced. I know several soldiers who have worn the Tru-Spec ACUs, and they have found them to hold up better than the Army issue.

The TRU shares the heritage of the issue ACUs right down to the button fly and drawstring waistband on the pants and the pen pocket on the left sleeve of the shirt. At first I thought: A drawstring waistband on duty pants? Who wants that? Then I realized the first thing to come off when I get home is my belt and that the drawstring keeps the pants up without a belt. On a more functional side, the drawstring helps keep your pants up if you ever have to go into the water.

The TRU shirt features a Mandarin-style collar that lies flat when you fold it back in the traditional shirt style or when closed it comes up high enough to protect your neck from being rubbed by a tactical/raid vest. This might sound like a small thing but that type of a brush burn is most uncomfortable and takes ages to heal. There are no lower jacket pockets so that it lays flat and won't bind under a load-bearing vest or web belt, again reducing wear spots.

Each sleeve of the TRU shirt has a Velcro-covered pocket. This facilitates attachment of your agency patch or other identification such as glint or IR markers. The pockets are large enough to accommodate a BlackBerry, many of the new smaller GPS units, or most any cell phone on the market.

The TRU pants pockets are one of the uniform's best features. All are closed with heavy-duty Velcro and, unlike BDUs, they lay flat, reducing the odds that they will catch on things when you are moving. The thigh pockets have an interior pocket to secure small items such as a GPS, cell phone, folding knife, etc.; that's something BDUs don't have. Each leg has a lower calf pocket, which at first glance seems useless. The more I wore the TRUs, however, the more I realized that this pocket is good for storing empty magazines, a bushing wrench, or a small pocket tool. After all, it seems that we are always sitting or kneeling when we need to access these items. So having them on the calf is a good idea.

Tru-Spec offers the TRU in a wide range of colors: black, navy, olive, khaki, woodland, three colors of desert, and now Multicam, which is a very versatile pattern. Solid colors are made from 65/35 polyester-cotton rip stop and the camo patterns are 50/50 nylon-cotton rip stop. Both materials are comfortable, highly fade resistant, wash well, and should give you a long service life.

Over the last few years, I have worn several items from Tru-Spec, and I have been pleased with them. Several K-9 cops and tactical units in my area are wearing TRUs and swear by them.

Insight Technology: Integrated Sight Module (ISM) System

While most readers of POLICE probably think of Insight Technology as the manufacturer of the M3 weapons light, the company is known by the military for its infrared and laser aiming units. Late last year, Insight unveiled the ISM-Integrated Sight Module System, which combines laser and red dot sights.

The version currently on the market is the ISM-V. This system offers the end user a two-minute-of-angle red dot with a visible laser aiming device. Restricted versions for law enforcement agencies and the military are available with infrared capability.

What makes the ISM unique is that the red dot, laser, and infrared laser (on restricted versions) are co-aligned. This means that when you sight the red dot in, the other aiming devices are zeroed at the same time. This saves ammunition and simplifies zeroing the additional aiming points.

I had the opportunity to test the ISM on a SIG 552 and on my Panther Arms DPMS M4. The sight looks like it should weigh a ton but, in reality, it weighs a scant 10 ounces. All of the controls are easy to use but do require that you read the instructions.

I found that the sight was fast and that it was easy to acquire a target with it. Also the field of view was very broad. The two-minute-of-angle dot is excellent for use at longer ranges, as it covers less of the target and aids the shooter in making more precise shots.

I found the laser to be useful for snap/point shooting in low-light sessions. The thing about having a co-aligned laser is that you can use the laser to identify what you are looking at to other members of your team and not have to give vague directions to what you want them to see.

Overall the Insight Technology ISM-V is a fine piece of equipment that will meet individual needs and those of your agency.

Hardigg: M4/M9 Storm Case

To protect sophisticated equipment like weapons and optics, you need a solid case. Hardigg Storm Cases are an excellent choice for this job. Hardigg makes cases to protect everything from a handgun to a tripod-mounted MK-19 automatic grenade launcher. I chose to look at the M4/M9 combination case.

The injection-molded HPX resin M4/M9 case is designed to store, protect, and secure both a carbine and a handgun, hence the name. It has two lock points and five closures to ensure the case is secure. Since moisture can wreck your equipment, the case seals with an O-ring, and it features a pressure bleed valve and humidity indicator. Shock protection is provided by multi-layer inner foam that is cut to allow you to "custom" fit the case to your weapons and gear.

For ease of transport, Hardigg installs wheels on the bottom of the case. And that's appreciated because it's always easier to drag a heavy case to your vehicle than to carry it. If you must carry the M4/M9 Storm Case, there are handles on the end opposite the wheels and hinges. I carried it by the main handle for the purpose of this review, and I found that the case balances well when full.

To see how tough the case was and how well it worked, I tossed it down my mountain-like driveway and dropped it from my porch into the driveway. Yes, I left my M4 and Beretta 92G in the case. Nothing shifted or was damaged, which made me very happy. I didn't test the water tightness of the seals; I'll take Hardigg's word that they are waterproof.

This is a tough case that provides a lot of protection, but for me the big question was: Will it fit in my vehicle? The short answer is, yes. I checked out the M4/M9 case in the trunks of Crown Vics, Impalas, and various SUVs. It fit no sweat.

A final word on the M4/M9 Storm Case. Hardigg's cases are designed with interlocking ribs so you can stack them and palletize them for air shipment. If you need serious protection for your firearms, check out the Hardigg Storm Case line.

 

Original SWAT: SEK 9000 Boot

Over the last decade, I have worn the Classic Original SWAT boot in black, desert tan, and brown. This year, Original SWAT wanted a beefier version so it put the Classic on steroids and developed the SEK 9000.

The SEK 9000 carries on the tradition of value, fit, function, and comfort that Original SWAT is known for and more. It has an aggressive self-cleaning Vibram outsole; key wear points are reinforced with Armor-Dillo; and, for comfort, the mid sole is compression EVA with gel inserts in the heel and fore foot. The insole is a molded orthotic and, of course, the SEK 9000 still comes with the overall fit and feel of an Original SWAT Boot.

Initially I found the SEK 9000 not to have the out-of-the-box comfort of other Original SWAT boots. But this passed after a couple days of wear as I broke in the insole and heavier leather.

What I really liked about the SEK 9000 was the outsole; it was quiet on tile floors when the boots were wet and was truly slip resistant. When worn outdoors, the boots gave great traction even on wet muddy clay or long, wet grass. Because the SEK 9000 is all leather the nastiest dirt washes off. Overall for less than $120, the SEK 9000 is one heckuva buy; give them a looksee when you shop for new duty boots.

CamelBak: Talon Hydration Pack

Like other packs in the CamelBak line, the Talon holds a drink reservoir, in this case a 100-ounce size. But it is more than just a 21st century canteen.

The pack's design has a lot of nice comfort features for officers who have to hike around with equipment in a backpack. It has formed cushions on its back to allow for some air flow to keep you more comfortable, and the shoulder straps are nicely padded so they won't dig into you. Lastly, all the adjustment straps have Velcro-wrapped closures to keep the ends from dangling and catching on things or making noise.

Made from Cordura, the Talon can handle most abuse that you and the world dish out. There are multiple attachment straps on the outside of the Talon to attach MOLLE or ALICE clipped pouches if you need more or specialized storage space. There is Velcro for attaching name tapes, ID tape, etc.

The outer pouch on the Talon is like a mini-organizer; pockets for pens, business cards, PDAs, iPods, extra magazines, paperwork, key keeper, all that little stuff you don't want rolling around. The main pocket is a simple zipper pocket with a mesh pouch on the front flap that works really well for those important things: bottles of aspirin, antacids, etc. On either side of the main pocket are zipper slash pockets that will hold a 3D cell flashlight or collapsible baton or other items of that size.

What sets the Talon apart from other packs is the collapsible area between the front pouch and the main pocket. This area has six adjustable straps to cinch odd-sized items such as a raincoat or other outerwear that just won't fit into a standard bag without filling it completely. I found this storage was capable of carrying an ECWS parka and rain pants without a problem.

The Talon is an innovative pack designed to meet your needs on duty or when taking a light hike. If you are looking for a non-traditional duty gear bag with a hydration system, take a look at the CamelBak Talon.

Tags: Tactical Gear, Product Reviews

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