Trusty Sidekicks

From mats to padded gear to simulated weapons, safety begins with training using the right equipment.

Melanie Basich 2012 Headshot


A length of yellow plastic called Ammo-Safe fits in the chambers of both long guns and semi-auto handguns and protrudes far enough out the muzzle that it can be clearly seen by anyone in the exercise.

Color coded and caliber specific, these plastic "chamber blockers" or "clear chamber indicators" render firearms safe while allowing full cycling, dry firing, and holstering of the weapon. A bright flexible strip extends out of the barrel to give the immediate visual indication of safety. Ammo-Safe is easy to see and easy to use with no alterations to the firearm.

Experts say that with Ammo Safe securely in place it would be very difficult if not impossible to load a round. The product plugs the chamber and the barrel, but the gun still cycles and it can be holstered.

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Crown Gym Mats

The newest addition to Crown Gym Mats' Defender line of padded striking shields for training is the person-shaped H.I.M., or Homo Impactus Maximus. Designed for close-quarter combat, multiple attackers, and baton training, H.I.M. uses the same technology and quality as the company's other Defender products.

At 5 feet 10 inches tall, seven inches thick, and 18 inches wide, the shield simulates an offender. For added versatility in training, 26-inch removable arms are included. Available in a standard model or a baton model, the H.I.M. defender consists of a highly durable, bacteria-resistant, easy-to-wash cover over a high density core.

Crown Gym Mats' original defender shields are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for different training missions.

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Dummies Unlimited

Numb John XT is a life size, full impact less-lethal training device. He is designed as a simulated human figure to improve officers' accuracy and techniques. He can be used in a variety of less-lethal and perishable skills training sessions, especially now that he is also soft enough to punch and kick.

Numb John XT (extra tough) is specifically designed for use with extendable batons and a wider variety of less-lethal ballistics. He retains all of the same qualities as the standard Numb John; however, his skin surface is made of a new high-tech compound that is extra tough. This toughness also gives him greater latitude with less-lethal ballistics on the target range.

Numb John XT stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds. He comes with a steel-lined mobile platform with locking wheels and his rigid steel structural frame comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty.

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FIST's black #333 Police Training Suit is capable of receiving blows from real weapons such as batons at full power without endangering the wearer. The suit can be adapted to your particular training regimen by adding optional items that either attach with Velcro or tie onto the suit, increasing the wearer's protection in that area without 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 instead of section by section. The suit provides coverage for the chest and back, shoulder and biceps, forearms, groin and butt, thighs, and shins, and comes with a helmet and carry bag.

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Training batons are great for performing safe, dynamic baton simulations. With its larger diameter, Monadnock's new AutoLock HG (heavy gauge) offers the traditional feel of a straight baton, but its high-tech AutoLock features mean it performs just like the company's most advanced expandable batons. Its balance and higher kinetic-energy potential produce a bigger bang for your effort.

Available in 21- and 22-inch sizes in a black chrome finish, the training baton carries a lifetime repair or replacement guarantee.

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RedMan Training Gear (Macho Products)

Designed in response to feedback from trainers, RedMan's new D2 System versatile headgear protection takes you from defensive tactics to weapons defense for training versatility. It provides cooler wear, better hearing, improved protection, and increased peripheral vision, and it's available in three configurations.

A complete D2 System includes D2 Head, D2 Hood, D2 Cage, D2 Mask, and Safety Glasses. These components combine to create Weapons Defense or Defensive Tactics configurations. The D2 Head, D2 Cage, and Safety Glasses can be used for defensive tactics training and can replace the Traditional RedMan XP Headgear. The D2 System can be added to the DRS Gear for a complete training suit. To switch to Weapons Defense training, simply remove the Cage and add the D2 Mask and D2 Hood. The system is ideal for departments on limited budgets, allowing DT and Firearms instructors to combine training budgets to get the gear they need to train properly.

Alternatively, you can purchase just the weapons defense system or just the defensive tactics system. All configurations integrate with RedMan Training Gear and First Line Response systems.

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Ring's Manufacturing

Blue Guns made by Ring's Manufacturing 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 color ensures that they won't be mistaken for real firearms in a training environment or on the street.

Each product is made with strong, impact-resistant polyurethane with steel reinforcement. This prevents bending and flexing while maintaining the detail, handling, and balance of the actual weapons they represent.

Blue Guns now also manufactures other weapon replicas—grenades, knives, radios, distraction devices—all in the familiar blue color.

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If you turn Shocknife's SK-2 training knife to its lowest setting and run it across your bare arm, it feels like a paper cut. And like a paper cut, it stays with you a little while. Shocknife's SK-2 and the new StressBlade training knives use focused electric energy along a dull training blade. The idea is to bring a lot more stress to the edged weapon training environment. When you get hit with the Shocknife, you feel it, even through clothing. Users can set the SK-2's intensity to mimic paper cuts, razor slashes, and even knife cuts. The StressBlade has one setting equivalent to the highest on the SK-2. Of course, appropriate face guards and pads are recommended.

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FX force-on-force marking cartridges, in combination with a simple weapon conversion kit and a line of protective equipment, allow realistic, close-range training scenarios that are safe when conducted under the Simunition guidelines. Available in six different colors, these patented, reduced-energy, non-lethal cartridges leave a detergent-based, water-soluble color-marking compound. The visible impacts allow accurate assessment of simulated lethality. No special ballistic facilities are required.

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TASER International offers a suit specifically for training with the company's TASER simulation cartridge. 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.

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VirtualBlade's high-visibility chalk provides a marking system that can be applied to any practice training blade. Consistent, non-staining, vivid green marks appear on skin or cloth to make evident the effect of an offensive or defensive technique. The VirtualBlade system often allows more than 10 "cuts" per chalk application, which is necessary for repetitive drills, attack/defend exercises, and multiple attacker scenarios.

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About the Author
Melanie Basich 2012 Headshot
Managing Editor
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