Police Product Test: Phenix Gear Modular Vest

Ranger Joe's Phenix Gear Modular vest is one solution to the high cost of tactical vests.

Scott Smith Bio Headshot

Tactical vests have become an everyday piece of gear for everyone from SWAT and ERT units to EMS to street cops. They allow the individual to carry gear they need and to adapt the placement of gear to individual requirements. The problem with most of the vests on the market is the price. Ranger Joe's Phenix Gear Modular vest is one solution to the high cost of tactical vests.

The Phenix Gear Modular Vest retails for under $80 and is complete with pouches for a gas mask, radio, and shotgun ammo, double AK-47 magazine pouches, double pistol magazine pouches, and 40mm grenade pouches, and even has two built-in zippered map pouches. All pouches can be placed where you like with the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS). This system allows you to securely attach the included pouches or any other PALS or MOLLE pouches or holsters.

Especially handy are the vest's magazine pouches. The AK-47 pouches accommodate coupled AR-15 magazines, allowing the operator to reload with up to 60 rounds, depending on how you load the magazines. AR-15 magazine pouches fit both 20- and 30-round magazines, and pistol pouches fit double-stack 9mm and .45 ACP magazines. The other pouches allow you to carry most other required raid or rescue gear.

I found the Phenix Modular Vest to be well made. It adjusts for both height and circumference to match your body size or to accommodate bulky outerwear and various types of bullet-resistant body armor. The vest's anti-slip shoulder pads fit carbines, shotguns, and sub-guns; and they do a good job of keeping your long gun from sliding when being fired.

If you are looking to purchase a vest for your own or your department's use, check out the Phenix Gear Modular Vest.


TAG-1 Glove

One piece of gear that is becoming more and more a part of every officer's kit is a pair of gloves. It seems gloves have run the gamut from cool short leather gloves to "flight" gloves. While these do protect your hands from abrasions and scratches, that's all the protection they provide. Gloves made from Nomex will also protect you from heat and fire, but they offer no impact or puncture resistance.

Now Wiley-X has introduced the TAG-1 glove, which offers protection from heat, abrasion, and impact, yet doesn't diminish your tactile function. Kevlar and Nomex incorporated into the gloves accomplish this. The palm and fingers are made from digital print Pittard's leather that is tanned with Armortan Technology to increase grip, tactile sensitivity, and durability.

To protect hands from impact, the gloves feature a double-leather palm and a molded knuckle protector. This will protect the back of the hand from impacts that could otherwise quickly disable an operator temporarily or possibly permanently. The cuff of the glove is extended and padded along the outside of the glove to protect the lower forearm from a hit to the lower arm. These are items that are not found in most other gloves on the market.

If you don't like a full-length glove, Wiley-X offers CAG-1. This is essentially a wrist-high version of the TAG-1. The CAG-1 offers the same protections as the TAG-1 save for the forearm pad because of the gloves' abbreviated length.

Wiley-X TAG and CAG series gloves are available in numerous sizes to fit most everyone on your team. The TAG is available in desert tan and foliage green and the CAG is also made in black. Wiley-X's gloves will help keep your hands fully functional; consider them when you look for new gloves.


Bi-Polar Knife

Over the last few years rescue knives and tools have become a major part of the cutlery market. To meet the demand, SOG Knives has introduced the Bi-Polar. It includes two blades: a rescue "V" cutter on one end and a true straight edge knife blade on the other, hence its name. This gives you a real knife for cutting anything from boxes to sandwiches while the "V" cutter allows you to safely cut a harness or seatbelt.

The SOG Bi-Polar uses SOG Assist Technology, which allows for fast one-handed opening of either blade. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first knife on the market to have more than one assisted-opening blade. For first responders this is a great addition, especially during rescues, because oftentimes you only have one free hand.

Since this knife is designed for use by first responders, no matter the uniform you wear, your safety has been taken into account, too. Both blades are traditional lock back blades. Each incorporates a safety lock to ensure the blade is locked shut or open, preventing the user from accidental injury. This is a feature not found on very many knives.

Another interesting feature of the Bi-Polar is its frame and handle made from anodized aluminum and stainless steel. This composition reduces the weight and ensures the knife is built to take the worst duty can dish out. As an added bonus, the handle also has a glass breaker built into the knife blade end.

The SOG Bi-Polar is a multi-use duty knife. It will serve its owner well no matter his or her duty.

About the Author
Scott Smith Bio Headshot
Retired Army MP
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