Police Product Test: Brite-Strike Traffic LED Gloves

POLICE Magazine reviews the Smith Optics Aegis Eye Shields, Brite-Strike Traffic and Cycle LED Gloves, Magnum Spider Urban Boots, and 5.11 Tactical's Tac Dry Rain Shell.

Brite-Strike Tactical Illumination Products is a company that is built by cops for cops. A couple of patrol officers started it to build lights with features cops need and want.

Brite-Strike's LED Police Cycle Gloves and Traffic Safety Gloves are two examples of this. These gloves use miniature LEDs on power strips to give the motor or bicycle cop or an officer on traffic detail an added layer of protection at night. The miniature LEDs can be set to constant on, or fast or slow strobe, and then slipped into the strip holder in the glove. On the Traffic version the power strip fits into a reflective mini-stop sign on the palm of the hand. The Cycle version fits into a reflective diamond on the back of the hand.

These lights combine with the reflective bands to help draw the attention of distracted drivers to the police officer. This is most effective when the LEDs are set to strobe, either fast or slow. You could possibly set the gloves to both fast and slow strobe because you can insert two LED strips into each holder.

I found the Cycle Gloves to be comfortable while pedaling along on my Fisher while recovering from a knee replacement. I gave the Traffic Glove to my local PD to use and the guy who has been using them says they fit well and it's his opinion they do get drivers' attention.

The Brite Strike Cycle and Traffic Gloves with LED strips provide an added layer of safety for the folks on the street. If you ride on duty or do traffic duty, consider a pair of these in your kit bag; they may save your life. — Scott Smith

Smith Optics: Aegis Eye Shields

As a police firearms instructor, I spend a lot of time on the firing range coaching officers and shooting to keep my own skills sharp. And like every other shooter, I face certain potential vision hazards on the range. The unburned powder leaving the fired weapons, hot ejected brass, and ricocheting materials from the target backstop can all make your lights go out. So I want my eyes protected.

But as an instructor I also tend to wear out a lot of shooting glasses from positioning myself close to my students' trigger fingers. Often times because I am so wrapped up in coaching the shooters, the hot brass ejecting from their pistols catches me in the face. That's why I was eager to try out some new eyewear from Smith Optics.

The Aegis Eye Shields I received from Smith Optics Elite Division came in a complete package called the Range Kit. This kit consists of the frame, three sets of lenses, a neck retention leash, a cloth storage bag, a cleaning cloth, and a stout zippered carry pouch.

I found the Aegis Eye Shield lenses light and easy to change, yet robust and secure when I was wearing them. The lenses are held in the frames by a rotating hinge system that is simple to change and solid in retention of the lenses. Throughout the few weeks of wearing the glasses, the clear lens stayed clear even after being dinged by multiple pieces of hot brass and the shaded lenses were excellent in the blazing Arizona sun. But most surprisingly, the Ignitor lenses were useful in working during a rare overcast day as well as in the confines of an indoor shoot house. They really seemed to enhance my vision during periods of reduced lighting.

Some eye protection that I have worn in the past was uncomfortable to wear with headgear. I wore the Aegis Eye Shields with a baseball-style hat, under a Kevlar helmet for SWAT training, and with a bare head without any discomfort. The frames did not bother me at all when I wore them under my external hearing protection. The frames gripped my head lightly but well enough to keep them from sliding down my nose, even under sweaty conditions. I also never had an issue with lens fogging during any time I wore the Aegis Eye Shields.

I strongly recommend the Smith Optics Elite Division Aegis Eye Shields for anyone who has the need for high-quality, robust eye protection. — Thaddeus Benton


Magnum: Spider Urban Boots

I work in the Southwestern U.S. where the weather is most often warm and dry. Subsequently, my on-duty footwear preferences are for lighter, uninsulated footwear. Magnum boots have been a mainstay of on-duty police footwear for many decades and the company's latest offering, the Spider 8.1 Urban boot, offers everything I need in police footwear.

The Spider 8.1 Urban boots feature uppers made of full-grain leather, which takes and keeps a good shine, and 1,680-denier ballistic nylon. Well constructed and designed, the boots offer some innovative proprietary features, including Spider Mesh lining and M-PACT contoured sock liners. Other features include a non-metallic shank, Exo-Frame with fast rope system, and a speed lacing system with a place to store the ends of the laces in the tongue of the boots. This last feature is particularly near and dear to me as I prefer to have my laces tucked away to avoid snagging them on ground-level objects and for a neater appearance.

I have been wearing a pair of the Spider 8.1 Urban boots for about a month at work while running ranges and in tactical training sessions, and I have been impressed. They required little break-in time. And once I wore them around to get used to them, they felt almost like a pair of running shoes.[PAGEBREAK]

Often times, boots that wear high on my shins irritate me. But the Spider 8.1 Urban boots have just the right amount of padding around the collars and tongue to prevent this discomfort without feeling too bulky. The soles did not make any excessive noise on any of the surfaces I worked on nor did they leave any scuff marks. The treads offered plenty of traction everywhere I walked, including wet, sandy, rocky, and concrete surfaces.

Sadly, I did not have the opportunity to test the "Fast Rope System" built into the soles, but I have been on enough ropes to understand how this feature would work well for quick, controlled rope descents.

I highly recommend the Spider 8.1 Urban boots for duty and detail wear. They offer all of the things I look for in a duty boot and the Magnum brand name can be trusted for quality, durable footwear. — Thaddeus Benton

5.11 Tactical: Dry Rain Shell

One piece of gear that is indispensible any time of year is a rain jacket. Unfortunately, when most of us think of protection from the elements it turns out to be a heavy piece of outerwear. This means most likely it is left at the station in a locker. 5.11 Tactical has a solution to this problem, the Tac Dry Rain Shell.

As you might guess, the Tac Dry Rain Shell (TDRS) is just what its name implies, a shell. It's lightweight and will fit in the pocket of a duty bag. This means you have a rain jacket at hand should the weather suddenly go south at any point through the day.

The TDRS is designed to serve as a foul weather jacket, not just one to get you back to the station for more substantial gear. I found it was capable of fighting off the fall rains here in southwest Pennsylvania and broke the stiffest winds we had here during the fall. This jacket kept me dry on several trips to the range and when out doing my daily PT to rehab my knee while recovering from surgery.

If you think this is just another rain shell, think again. The TDRS has dropdown panels for identification placards, two large exterior slash pockets, and three small interior small pockets to store your cell phone and other gear. It also has a removable hood that stores in the collar and can be worn around your weapon or radio or it can cover your gear from the elements.

If you're worried about accessing your weapon, fear not. The patent pending QUIXIP feature gives you virtually instant access when needed. Simply pull the tab at the side of the jacket as you access your weapon, and the jacket is open and out of the way to allow you an unimpeded draw stroke.

Another less noticeable feature of the TDRS is its looks. This jacket was built to look like any other rain jacket you would find at your local clothing store. It doesn't scream "cop" unless you affix your uniform patches to it for duty use. The charcoal and black TDRS truly has the casual wear look, making it ideal for plain clothes or off-duty wear. Try to find another piece of rain gear that offers you that at your local chain store.

5.11 Tactical's Tac Dry Rain Shell was designed and built to protect officers from the elements no matter what their assignment is. Check it out; it's a good piece of kit for your bag. — Scott Smith

EOTAC: Operator Pant

When it comes to making clothing built to take a pounding, EOTAC's Operator Pant lives up to the old Timex watch tag line; it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

These pants are built from seven-ounce ripstop cotton and from what I can tell they hold their color virtually forever (my OD ones have slight fading on the edges of the pocket flaps; character marks). "Operator Pants" is not just a catchy "tacti-cool" name in this case. These are designed to meet the needs of law enforcement.

One of the features that sets EOTAC's pants apart from others is the pockets, which are made for optimal function. Instead of a slash, they have more of a scoop to give you easier access when wearing a holster, magazine pouch, and other equipment.

The thigh pockets of the Operator Pants are angled slightly forward much like the military ACUs. Inside are elastic keepers to secure two AR magazines. This allows you easier access when driving, kneeling, or in any position with a bent knee.

The last visible pocket is the small AR magazine-sized calf pocket. While it will hold an AR magazine, it will also hold a pressure bandage and clotting agent kit. Since you will most likely apply these items while kneeling or squatting, the position of the pocket again provides easy access. If you look at the rear pockets, you will find two smaller hook-and-loop closed wallet or ID pockets so your credentials and such won't get shuffled in with other stuff in your rear pockets. The closure also keeps them secure.

In addition to their many pockets, EOTAC's Operator Pants feature a gusseted crotch. This gives you more room in the seat of the pants, reduces stress on the double seams, and increases the comfort factor since there is no "centerline" seam.

While not as visible as pockets or gussets, the pants' belt loops are a stand-out feature. They are one inch wide, will accommodate a 1.75-inch belt, and are spaced to allow placement of a sidearm and magazine pouch and not have the belt loop in the way. The wide belt loop also is more durable than its narrow cousins found on other pants.

Over the past few months, I have found the Operator Pants to be comfortable for 10-hour road trips and daily PT whether walking or pedaling my bike, they look good enough to head out to the grocery store, and are at home on the firing line. — Scott Smith

Page 1 of 2353
Next Page