In the past six years, I've attended 12 TREXPO conferences. Each time the exposition floor at the conference has had a unique character. There was some kind of trend that you could see in the products showcased up and down the aisles. TREXPO East 2007 is no exception. This year the trend was tactical vehicles.
This year the show floor was full of interesting and innovative takes on the tactical operations vehicle. These weren't just armored cars: They were vehicles capable of performing a surprising number of tasks under heavy fire.
Of course, there was a lot more on the show floor than vehicles. And I'll get to that stuff. But first let's talk heavy horses.
TacArm: Juggernaut Armored Vehicle
Perhaps the most intimidating police vehicle on the market, the Juggernaut is a tracked vehicle with a big, honking claw on the front of it. And believe me, the first time the bad guys see this thing, they're going to have to pull bricks out of their shorts. It looks like its going to eat you, rather than deliver SWAT to your door.
The Juggernaut concept comes from the experience of Steve Reopelle, former president of the Washington State Tactical Officers Association. It's designed for two jobs: to provide maximum protection (up to NIJ Level IV) to officers as they approach a barricade situation and to tear through the barricade.
Juggernaut's 24-foot-long boom is fitted with a huge mechanical claw that can rip through walls, break and rake windows, and even gouge holes in roofs. It eliminates the need for a stack of officers to approach a hostile building on foot and breach with conventional methods such as explosives and rams. It can also be used for hostage evacuation, vehicle disabling or removal, and just to plain announce with overwhelming authority that SWAT has arrived.
The Juggernaut's cab seats six fully equipped SWAT officers. It also sports a hydraulically operated armored turret. So in addition to chewing holes in things, the Juggernaut is a true tactical operations platform.
The Spiller Group: Rook Critical Incident Vehicle
Another tracked tactical vehicle, The Rook is kind of built around that old concept of using a bulldozer as a tactical platform. However, The Rook is a much more sophisticated tactical platform than a bulldozer.
Named for the chess piece, which is often sometimes called a "castle," The Rook is essentially a motorized siege vehicle with the ability to deploy six SWAT officers. The officers stand on platforms at the front and rear of the vehicle and they are protected by an NIJ Level III shield (Level IV optional). The shield is sort of a wall with a sliding door and gun slits, and it can be raised or lowered by The Rook's hydraulic arms.
In addition to its Armored Deployment Platform, The Rook can be fitted with grappling claws, a vehicle removal system, or a breaching ram. Options include a high-pressure water cannon, a chemical agent dispenser, and an armored undercarriage.
Supreme Specialty Vehicles: Avenger Armored Vehicle
Supreme's Avenger four-wheel-drive armored tactical transport is a pretty conventional SWAT armored car with some really nice features. Armored to Level III, the Avenger can deliver a 10- to 12-man team in relative comfort. The interior is outfitted with bucket seats and a powerful roof-mounted air conditioner.
The exterior features are also quite useful. An elevated roof-mounted turret provides sweeping fields of fire. Up front, there's a push/pull bumper with radiator protection. Front and back, you will find heavy-duty tow hooks.
OK. Enough about vehicles. Let's move on to some of the other tactical and patrol products that attracted attention at TREXPO East.
Combat Solutions: Uniform First Responder Pouch
This year's TREXPO East conference featured an all-day tactical medical track. So it made sense for Combat Solutions to debut its new Uniform First Responder (UFR) pouch at the show. The pouch includes four Quik-Clot 25-gram hemostatic sponges, one TK 3 blood restrictor, and a pair of Nitrol gloves. All of this is packed into a belt pouch designed to match an officer's duty gear. The pouch is available in nylon, leather, or basket weave. Combat Solutions says that the Los Angeles Police Department is considering a large-scale purchase of the pouches.
Wiley X: Saber Eye Protection
Wiley X brought its complete line of eye protection and gloves to TREXPO East. One of the company's leading models is the Saber, a lightweight all in one lens that offers protection from debris, ejecting shell casings, ricochets, and other common sources of eye injury. The Saber is ideal for range work, and it offer comfort as well as protection with its rubber tipped temples and sweat proof felt brow bar. The Saber meets ANSI high-velocity standards.
Veritas Tactical: VT-MKIV Pava Ball Launcher
The VT-MKIV from Veritas Tactical is a less-lethal system with the form factor of an M4. It fires pava chemical irritant rounds, as well as marking rounds, training rounds, impact rounds, and glass-breaking rounds. The M4 form factor, an improved air system, and a custom rifled barrel (painted less-lethal orange) make the VT-MKIV capable of delivering accurate fire at 50 meters and area fire at 100 meters. The weapon's rail accepts most popular optical sights.
RMB Industries: Cuffing Baton (CB-01)
Designed by cops for cops, the RMB Industries Cuffing Baton (CB-01) looks a lot like that old auto theft prevention device "The Club." But it's a lot more functional. The CB-01 is intended as a supplement or even replacement for a PR-24 or a telescoping baton. It can be used as a sweeping weapon, a punching weapon, or a slashing weapon. However, its most interesting application is as a suspect control. Push the yoke of the CB-01 onto a bad guy's wrist, push the cuff trigger, and he's yours. You can force him to the ground; you can hold him in position; or you can use the CB-01 to prevent him from being able to attack. There's a quick release in the handle.