As we head toward the shortest day of the year, the sun is setting lower, bringing colder weather. This means it's a good time to look for a warm, comfortable, and versatile duty jacket. The Force's Enforcer Jacket fits the bill.
What makes the Enforcer a good choice for duty is that it starts with the basics. Its outer shell features a windproof, waterproof, breathable membrane that's good for all around wear. The zipper is protected by a storm flap so you can use the snaps to close the jacket instead of or in addition to zipping it. This is the foundation for the Enforcer's ventilation and heat management system.
Other cool features abound. A zip-out Primaloft liner means you can wear the jacket for three seasons and armpit zippers provide ventilation. You'll find multiple pockets inside the jacket as well as large flap and hand warmer pockets on the front and even a small zippered pocket on the left arm. All of this storage space is quite impressive in a relatively short jacket. To help the Enforcer fit better, the sleeves have adjustable hook-and-loops cuffs. And because this jacket hits just above the duty belt, there are no side flaps to catch on your radio, baton, or handgun.
When you want to be visible for safety reasons, simply drop the panels on the back and on both front pockets, and the jacket's hidden away 3M Scotchlite retro reflective sleeve armbands. The panels supplied with my test jacket were simply hi-viz yellow. But they are also available printed with either the word "police" or "sheriff." This combination of hi-viz accessories should make you visible in the worst of conditions.
I like the way the Enforcer fits. It's roomy enough, yet fits like it was tailored. The short length is excellent and allows easy access to gear on your duty belt. Give The Force's Enforcer consideration for a new winter jacket; you won't be disappointed.
Valley Forge Boots
One of my pet peeves is people who work on their feet all day saying, "my feet are killing me." Granted if you have been out pounding the pavement for 12 hours I feel for you. However, it seems that 90 percent of those complaining about aching feet and sore backs have only themselves to blame because they wear boots that are many years too old or that are too cheap. Both will make for damn long days.
With the New Year fast approaching, do your body a favor and get some new boots. One of the age-old manufacturers of boots, Timberland, has jumped into the duty boot market with both feet, as it were. The Valley Forge is Timberland's flagship winter boot in its Pro series. I am betting the Colonials would have liked to have had these when they were at Valley Forge during the American Revolutionary War.
The Valley Forge is lined with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate Zone to keep your feet warm and dry. To really make your feet happy, Timberland uses Precise Fit Technology for sizing. This allows you to customize the fit of the boot to your feet.
Further enhancing comfort is the boot's polyurethane midsole and Endoskeleton suspension system. These two features combine to dissipate and reduce the shock of walking or running on the legs.
A Vibram rubber outsole completes the boot's support and comfort package. This sole gives all weather traction and the toe is grooved for mountaineering crampons or snow shoes.
My local PD has been wearing Valley Forges for a few weeks now and everyone has the same sentiment: They feel great. We just had major rains here in the Pittsburgh area and nobody complained of wet or sore feet from their 12-hour tours. Timberland Pro Valley Forge boots received high marks from a tough crowd. If they meet this crew's standards, no doubt they'll make your shift better, too.
Modular Lighting System
Yes, Leupold has a new lighting system. Now, when I hear the name Leupold, I think of innovative tactical optics such as the MK IV CQ/T for CQB and the MK IV LR/T for long range precision shooting. But the company's first foray into lighting is pretty cool.
The recently introduced MX is a modular lighting system. You can build the light to meet your needs. When I say the lights are modular, I mean it. You purchase the bezel, battery housing/body, and tail cap all separately. Bezels can be had as single Xenon bulbs, single LEDs, or multiple function LEDS (lo, hi, strobe, SOS). After you select a bezel, you can choose a two- or three-cell (CR123As) body, and then you add your tail cap. The result is a light built for you.
Leupold uses only high-quality parts in its lights: T6061 aerospace-grade aluminum, mil-spec-plus anodizing waterproof to four atmospheres, and a scratch-resistant sapphire lens. The clip for the light feels tough enough to survive SERE School or a five-year-old. And for easy handling, each light tube has a lanyard loop for use with the supplied lanyard.
The bezel on my sample light is a multifunction MX400. The light output varies from 10 to 145 lumens and has a runtime from 50 minutes to six hours, depending on the setting. What's really convenient is that with only one hand you can lock out the tail cap or change out the light option.
I'm impressed with the light Leupold has brought to the market. It is innovative, functional, and built to take a pounding. I have been using it for work over the last several weeks and I like it. Its various light intensities and settings work well for searches in large or confined spaces, the strobe is good for disorienting subjects, and the SOS mode is a good marker light. Two preconfigured modular MX lights are also available. I look forward to new additions to the MX series of lights.
If you own a Remington, Winchester, or Mossberg 20-gauge or 12-gauge pump shotgun, then you really would love the SpecOps stock from Knoxx, a BlackHawk brand.
This stock takes the punishment out of shotgun shooting. BlackHawk recently took me out on the range and asked me to shoot a Remington 870 fitted with this stock. I wasn't thrilled. Last summer I had my shoulder surgically repaired and for months, even shooting a pistol has hurt. But the Knoxx SpecOps stock made it easy for even me to painlessly pump buckshot downrange.
Easily installed, the SpecOps stock substantially reduces felt recoil and muzzle rise, making it not only easier to practice with a shotgun but also making it easier to keep the weapon on target. —David Griffith