Many agencies issue patrol rifles and shotguns to an officer or vehicle. This can cause an issue with how to secure, protect, transport, and carry this equipment.
Hardigg, now under the flag of Pelican Products, has been manufacturing cases for more than half a century. I have used the company's Large Footlocker to store my gear in my SUV for quite some time. When I learned of the new FieldPak I knew it was a piece of equipment that would be useful on the street, at home, and anywhere you need to protect a pair of long guns.
The FieldPak consists of Hardigg's tougher than nails Storm Case and a double rifle case made by Eagle Industries that fits inside the Storm Case and can also be removed for use on its own. This combination should keep a pair of long guns protected in just about anything duty can dish out here on the streets or in the world's worst conditions in Afghanistan.
I have a couple of buds in the country who are packing their tactical rifles and backup in these and their rifles remain unharmed. Here in Pittsburgh I've been using the FieldPak to tote my Ruger 556 and Smith & Wesson M&P22 to and from the range. The case and rifles have endured virtual monsoons and not a drop of liquid has touched the firearms. The Hardigg Storm Case is water- and dust-proof thanks to its inner seals and numerous pressure latches.
To see how tough the Storm Case-Eagle Bag combination is, I jumped up and down on the iM3100 model I tested with the rifles inside. I am far from a little guy, tipping the scales at 240, and the hinges, locks, and rifles all came through without a scratch. But this is still not something I suggest you try at home because I don't want to hear of weapons being damaged.
Hardigg makes the FieldPak long guns from an M4 to a full-size tactical rifle such as an M21 or M24. So there should be a size to protect your weapons. If you need a serious weapons case, check out Hardigg Cases and now parent company Pelican. Between the two you will be able to protect most any weapon or tool in your arsenal.
Scout Folder Knife
I have worn 5.11 Tactical clothing ever since 5.11 was just a pant in the Royal Robbins line. Yes, I am that old, and I still have a couple pairs of 5.11s with Royal Robbins tags. In the meantime, the 5.11 Tactical line has grown to several thousand SKUs, including quality, affordably priced knives.
A Scout Folder recently arrived via my favorite delivery truck. What I found was a stylish and nicely sized knife designed by Mike Vellekamp from Blade-Tech.
I immediately appreciated the easy ambidextrous opening of the AUS8 blade using Blade-Tech's V-Hole. I also like that the Scout's 3.5-inch blade opens smoothly and secures with a nested liner lock. This reduces the width of the Scout so it's easier to carry.
Further enhancing this knife's versatility is the number of ways you can mount the clip. You can adjust the the V-Hole to be in an up or down position and for left or right pocket carry. This may seem like a minor issue, but not everybody wants to carry a knife the way the manufacturer thinks is best. 5.11 Tactical supplies a T6 wrench with the knife so you don't have to search for one to make adjustments.
I found the Scout Folder to be a sleek, comfortable knife to carry. Its G10 grips give you a solid purchase on the knife but won't tear up the pants pocket you're carrying it in. The finger grooves on the frame of the knife are comfortable and fit a wide range of hand sizes. With a retail price under $50 you can't go wrong with the 5.11 Tactical Scout Folder.
One of the issues that we encounter as police officers is how to get the most bang for our buck. To do this we want our gear to be multi-purpose. We see all of this gear that is supposed to be versatile, yet it often ends up being versatile in advertising definition only.
While at BlackHawk's headquarters I came across a piece of gear that made me go hmm: the S.T.R.I.K.E. Cutaway Tactical Armor Carrier with 3-D Mesh. This is an unassuming carrier that will hold soft body armor and armor plates. When playing with it at BlackHawk, I found it to be easy to don and doff and easy to fit, which many carriers aren't. This is what caught my interest.
The S.T.R.I.K.E. Cutaway will hold most soft body armor panels-even those that wrap the front and rear abdominal panels. This ensures you maintain your armor coverage. I found the area that secures the panels fit all the panels I tried like it was tailor made for them. The carrier is lined with 3-D mesh to allow air flow and enhance comfort. When wearing the vest in hot and humid conditions I found it most comfortable; much more so than when the panels are worn concealed.
Further proving its versatility, the S.T.R.I.K.E. Cutaway transforms your concealable body armor into a tactical raid vest. And with its S.T.R.I.K.E./MOLLE strapping you can truly make this a custom vest. The straps will allow you to attach magazine pouches, equipment pouches, and holsters, and carry a hydration bladder in the back pouch. For easy identification there are Velcro strips to attach your agency's badges.
Although they're small, the HawkTex straps on the carrier's shoulders make a big difference in functionality. The two-inch-wide straps give you a solid place to mount your long gun. I've been disappointed when mounting long guns to many other tactical vests; slick stocks slip on slick nylon.
In addition to all of these great features, what sets this carrier apart from others is the ability to quickly remove the vest and all of its gear in one minute. Simply pull the tear away and the vest will be off. This allows instant access to treat an injury or speedy removal, no matter the reason.
If your duties don't require you to wear body armor but you are called for to act as part of a tactical team or require a tactical vest that fits your soft armor, the S.T.R.I.K.E. Cutaway will fit your needs. The sizing will fit the largest, tallest, or shortest of your officers. BlackHawk's S.T.R.I.K.E. Cutaway carrier is a truly versatile and useful piece of duty gear.
AR Magazines and Rail Covers
As more and more agencies authorize AR-style carbines and rifles for patrol officers, more and more accessories are entering the market. Tango Down is one company that manufactures a number of affordably priced and high-quality parts for ARs. The parts list is long and covers most items you may need for an AR.
Possibly the most important piece of gear for an AR is a quality magazine. Tango Down's ARC magazine is available in a number of colors with capacities of 30 or 20 rounds. These magazines are made using the latest in polymer technology. The bodies of the ARCs are some of the toughest I have seen, able to withstand being dropped from a second story window or support my weight standing on them-and still function.
To function in any weather condition, the spring is made of moly-coated chromium-silicon, which will survive the most challenging conditions. Thanks to the spring and the polymer follower the ARC is also easy to maintain. Simply wash with warm soapy water and invert to dry, then it's ready to use. I gave mine a spritz of lubricant, but according to Tango Down that's not needed.
Tango Down also manufactures rail covers. While some may think they're not needed, I prefer to protect my several hundred-dollar rail system. Rail covers are significantly cheaper to replace, and they protect your hands from the sharp edges of a Picatinny rail.
Tango Down's SCAR rails are available in two-inch, four-and-a-quarter-inch, and six-inch lengths so you can choose how to cover your rails. The SCARs are also available with a preformed slot to fit a SureFire-style pressure pad for a tactical light. I liked the locking tabs of the SCAR panels; they lock into the gaps of the Picatinny rail and are truly easy on/off and secure.
Tango Down's equipment will keep your AR running and make it more comfortable to shoot. When you are looking to equip your AR, consider Tango Down's accessories; you won't go wrong.
Scott Smith is a former federal police officer for the Department of Veteran's Affairs and a contributing editor to POLICE.