Department budgets need to stretch further and further each year, but most officers agree that law enforcement training is not a good place to skimp. The proper training is what prepares you to survive on the street. And the proper gear ensures that you’re safe while gaining this essential foundation.
Perhaps the most visible type of training gear is the padded, protective suit. It sure is comforting to know you have a healthy amount of material between you and your fellow officer’s assault.
The new RedMan XP Suit offers better protection with more mobility than previous designs. This is made possible by the use of thinner foam and thicker plastic that provide full-body coverage and repetitive strike absorption. Like all RedMan suits, the XP can be disinfected and sanitized after use.
Redman’s XP can be fitted with headgear that protects against light contact. The head gear offers a comfortable, secure fit, with an attachable cage and safety glasses for added face protection.
Some other excellent features of the XP include layered coverage to protect the wearer’s throat, padded shoulder guards for contact strikes, and arm guards.
The XP also comes with lower abdominal pads, thigh guards, calf guards, and lower leg guards that have all been enhanced to offer greater protection for both trainers and students in all dynamic situations.
Fist’s easily recognizable black suits are available in three different weights. The Fist #333 Police Training Suit is capable of receiving blows from real weapons such as Asp batons at full power without endangering the wearer. This allows officers in training to become accustomed to using their street weapons on a human target.
Fist’s #333 Police Training Suit can be adapted to your particular training regimen by adding optional items that either attach with velcro or tie onto the suit. For example, if you intend to do heavy punches or kicks to the chest area, the chest guard can be attached, doubling the wearer’s chest protection without any loss of mobility. Fist makes optional add-on guards for all major striking areas.
Another innovation built into the #333 is the sectional ties that allow the suit to hang and be put on and taken off in one piece. Changing a one-piece suit can save time opposed to suits made in separate sections that must be placed and strapped individually.
Fist’s #200-S Stun Weapon Training Cartridge and Simunitions Suit was designed to help police officers train with stun weapon training barbs. The suit offers total coverage to the user and allows officers to fire their non-conductive practice barbs at the wearer in safety. These suits are also being tested for use with simunitions.
The suit is a “one size fits all,” since the arms and leg cuffs can adjust up to seven inches. The price includes gloves.
Taser International also offers a suit specificallly for training with a Taser simulation cartridge, which is also available from the company. The suit includes gloves, body, and head protection, all featuring an outer covering of Cordura Nylon. The suit allows scenario-based training in which students can fire at dynamic targets.
Taser’s Simulation Air Cartridges are self-contained devices that have 21 feet of range but fire non-conductive nylon wire leads and shortened barbs. The non-conductive wire prevents electrical energy from dispersing into the student while the shortened probe prevents penetration of the simulation suit. Note: The Taser is still live and can stun in touch-stun mode without the cartridge.
The cartridge is distinguishable from regular cartridges because it is colored blue. Each is serialized and contains small canisters of compressed and inert nitrogen that fire when the Taser system is deployed.
Blue Guns made by Ring’s Manufacturing and Red Guns made by Asp are rubber gun replicas that approximate the weight and feel of real firearms during hands-on defensive tactics training. These tools are especially useful for gun retention scenarios, and their bright colors ensure that they won’t be mistaken for real firearms in a training environment or on the street.
Training knives exist for just about every knife a law enforcement officer might use. They’re useful both for becoming familiar with a new knife and for practicing knife fighting and knife defense skills.
One unusual training knife is made by a Canadian company called Shocknife. What makes the Shocknife’s dull blade so different is that it doesn’t just simulate the look and feel of a knife. It also simulates the feeling of a knife cutting you if you make a mistake and get “cut” in training.
The Shocknife model SK-1 uses electricity to fool your skin into believing it has been cut. The feeling can vary from a paper cut to a slash, depending on the setting. Note: Only a fool would set this thing to slash.
Training batons from companies such as RedMan and Asp are great for performing safe, dynamic baton simulations. RedMan’s lightweight dipped-foam batons feature a hollow polymer core. They are designed to fit into the flashlight ring of a duty belt for greater realism.
The various makers of less-lethal chemical weapons all make inert versions of their sprays and powders. Note: Even with inert sprays, eye protection should be worn to protect students from the hypodermic effect.
There are even inert rounds for the PepperBall launchers and the FN 303 less-lethal system.
PepperBall fills its inert ammo with baby powder. But to keep training scenarios more realistic, and to better prepare officers for the dispersion of the normal component in the product, the baby powder is scented with pepper.
FN offers a non-toxic glycol round for training with its FN 303 launcher. These rounds hit with the same impact as FN’s chemical ammo for the 303.
While hitting a live trainer with a baton or other blunt instrument can be fun, it’s often more desirable to use a dummy. One of the greatest advantages of training with a dummy is that you don’t need another person present to practice the techniques that you’re working to perfect.
After learning tactics from department training, take some time to try it out on a dummy. It won’t take up anyone else’s time and the dummy won’t tire out or get hurt in the process.
Cuff-Man from Dummies Unlimited is a training dummy designed for teaching proper arrest and control techniques without any chance of the injuries that are associated with this type of training.
Cuff-Man has human features such as flexible joint action in his wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips. His hands and fingers are made from a flexible yet durable polyurethane compound for a realistic feel while cuffing. He possesses an extended chin for realistic grappling techniques while ground fighting.
A Velcro loop is sewn into his heavy- duty Cordura suit, both front and back, and a slender back board is wrapped with a Velcro hook. With the back board installed in a provided free standing mount, Cuff-Man can stand on his own at any height desired. Once the dummy is standing, arrest and control techniques can be performed on Cuff-Man from both front or rear.
Just like any resisting suspect, added force is required to pull Cuff-Man to the ground without any hindrances or obstacles. Once on the ground, he can be placed prone, supine, hog style, or on his side.
Additionally, Cuff-Man’s unique construction and joint motion can be utilized to teach officers about positional asphyxia.
OK Fine Productions’ Big Blue dummy comes in a variety of sizes and is made to stand up to a wide range of tactical practice, from throws, to grappling, to cuffing. It features side loops for attaching to a heavy bag, or for keeping it in place for continuous throwing. With a special harness, it can be hung like a heavy bag for striking techniques.
Big Blue’s legs are strong enough to support the dummy so you can step in for throws or sweeps, but they will bend for ground work. Release the tension and they will return to the original position. You can practice full force throwing and also land hard on the dummy, and go into pin, armbar, choke, or other tactical positions. Big Blue can also be used for less-lethal ballistics training.
Furniture and Furnishings
A variety of really unusual training aids can be found in Crown Gym Mats’ Nottaline of realistic looking foam furniture and objects. The line is extensive, limited only by the imagination of the company’s designers, It includes bedroom furniture, office furniture, living room furniture, and objects such as bricks, bottles, and even laptop computers.
The Nottaline products are ideal for realistic defensive tactics training scenarios. They are all soft and pliable. They won’t break, and they won’t break any bones of instructors or students who are hit with them or fall on them.