The attendees at this year's TREXPO East represented an interesting mix of law enforcement agencies. Massed in the aisles were officers from municipal, county, and state departments and the usual mix of federal agents that come down from Washington, D.C., to the show's Chantilly, Va., venue. And there were also a growing number of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and Coast Guard personnel.
What is clear to anyone who walks the aisles of TREXPO is that law enforcement work has changed for America's finest and bravest. Military units deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan often find themselves serving more as police than warriors and have to be able to transition quickly from maintaining the peace in a nation- building role to brutal combat with fanatical Islamist guerillas. And on the flipside, since 9/11 civilian law enforcement has been forced to acquire capabilities that were once entirely the realm of soldiers.
At TREXPO East, both the military and civilian law enforcement browsed the wares of the exhibitors looking for the same thing: an edge against an increasingly violent and determined enemy. On display in the aisles were weapons, gear, equipment, and even apparel designed to give them that edge.
Safe Water Supply
Camelbak continues to launch innovative new products in the hydration gear market. The company's latest offering is the Chem Bio Reservoir 4.0, a 3-liter reservoir that fits any Camelbak 100-ounce reservoir pocket and protects the user's water supply from contamination by chemical and biological agents. Designed to work with gas masks and personal protective gear, the CBR 4.0 gives law enforcement and military personnel a clean water supply in the most apocalyptic of environments. The CBR 4.0 is reusable so it can be used for training in chem/bio gear, which with moderate exertion can raise the wearer's body temperature by as much as 15 degrees and require a liter or more of fluid per hour to maintain hydration.
Speaking in Tongues
One of the most intriguing products on display at this year's TREXPO East was the SpeechGuard PD-4 multilingual police translator from Ectaco. These handheld systems can bridge the communication gap between English-speaking officers and contacts in numerous foreign languages. Each system is programmed for a specific language and contains thousands of phrases that the officer can select. For example, at a traffic stop, an officer can choose among phrases such as, "Get out of the vehicle," "Park your vehicle over there," and "Show me your licence, please." And many others. The system can be operated by voice command or with a stylus. Base units are priced at about $800. If you have special needs, Ectaco will customize the phrases in your unit for an additional charge.
Known for making hard knocks a lot less hard, Crown Gym Mats has expanded its line of training aids to include safe objects that can be used in training scenarios. Crown's Notta line of training products features furniture made of the same material as the company's mats. The furniture is designed to be used in training facilities to prevent injuries when officers or "bad guys" fall. In addition, the Notta line includes a diverse lineup of foam props that can be used in crowd control and domestic disturbance training. If you need a bottle, a brick, a beer can, even an asphalt chunk that can be thrown in training, Crown makes it.
Snack Ready to Eat
One of the more unusual products at this year's TREXPO East was the Hooah! energy bar. The presence of this product shows that tactical law enforcement concerns go beyond firepower and equipment and to the comfort and well-being of the officers. Developed for the U.S. Army, the Hooah! energy bar is formulated to supply the user with steady energy without the surge and crash of some energy bars. The bars are made of all natural ingredients, including soy and whey protein, and they contain no trans fatty acids such as hydrogenated oils.
Cheytac Associates showed its Advanced Ballistic Computer (ABC), a handheld device designed to help snipers get the dope on their rifles. The ABC can be used with rifle cartridges ranging from .223 to .50 caliber. It calculates wind data at three points from the gun to the target, offers super accurate windage and elevation solutions, and can be adjusted to suit the needs of each shooter.
The Professional holster from Tactical Design Labs made its TREXPO bow. Designed by a police officer for police officers, the Professional offers users an active retention system that facilitates a proper grip and a fluid draw. The unique retention system and the holster design of the Professional also make it easy for officers to re-holster their weapons with full retention.
Leitner-Wise displayed its conversion kit for transforming a .223 AR15 platform rifle into a 10-round, .499-caliber rifle. The LW15.499 rifle (also known as the Coast Guard Service Rifle) is produced by switching out the standard AR15 parts with a Leitner-Wise barrel, either chrome-moly or stainless steel, and an upper receiver and magazine. Leitner-Wise's .499 caliber cartridge offers ballistic performance similar to .50 BMG cartridges at ranges up to 200 meters.
Oakley has expanded its line of footwear to include duty boots in desert tan. The new Desert models are part of the Oakley Assault Boot line, which was designed specifically for U.S. Special Forces. Like the other boots in the line, the Desert models offer comprehensive moisture control and rugged construction. The soles are made of high-NBS vulcanized rubber for traction over a full range of terrains.
New In Blue
Ring's Manufacturing has expanded its line of Blue Gun weapon simulations to include the FN Herstal P90 submachine gun. Like all Blue Guns, the P90 simulation is the same size and weight as the actual weapon. Ring's says it has already received a number of orders for the new P90 simulation.