Law enforcement officers have the training, expertise and experience to know what gear they need to stay safe in a tactical situation. We interviewed a team of SWAT officers after their training mission Operation Phoenix to find out how their gear works in the field.
TRUST YOUR GEAR
In a fight or a tussle, operators need to be able to count on their holster. “Knowing that your firearm’s going to stay where it needs to go until you are ready to use it is huge. With Safariland, knowing that I have a holster that’s going to protect my weapon, that my retentions are going to work properly, and that it’s going to come out of the holster the way I need it to every single time when I need it, gives me peace of mind going through the door – knowing that that’s there for me.”
“One of the things that sets Safariland apart from the competition is that ability to retain the gun, with the hood platforms as well as that ALS. Even if the hood is defeated, you’ve still got that ALS platform which is going to hold that gun securely in there.”
GOING BEYOND THE LAYERS
Tactical operators can spend long hours in ballistics vests. If weight is not distributed correctly, the vest straps can cause debilitating neck and back pain.
“At Safariland what we try and do is go beyond just the layers of Kevlar® and ballistic materials. We’re not focused on value, we’re not focused on lowest costs, we’re focused on protection, we’re focused on giving them the best product that’s out there,” said Tim O’Brien, Category Director of Soft Armor.
Ergonomically designed vests not only protect the body from ballistics, they also save the wearer from the pain and disability of heavy, improperly fitting equipment. “If you’re on operations that extend several hours, you want the weight of the plate carrier centred on the body, so that you’re getting that positive distribution, or even weight distribution rather.”
QUALITY COMMS ARE PARAMOUNT
When SWAT teams are in the heat of a mission, comms have to be reliable and durable. And, in especially difficult environments where visibility is reduced, or sound is bounced around on walls, superior situational awareness can save lives.
“Our Liberators have been awesome, very easy to use, fit has been good. How they interface with our helmet has been really good. I like the ability on these new ones to run them off the back of my helmet, it kind of frees up some space from the top of my rails, for lights or whatever I want to run. And comfort has been great.”
Unique to Safariland is the level of customization involved in building advanced tactical communications headsets. “One of the main things we don’t do is a cookie-cutter approach to anything,” said Brad Medine, Safariland’s category director, communications. “We really like to look at the actual operator requirements and develop our solutions for that.”
PROTECTING THE HEAD
“Equipment is one of the foundations of being effective in this job. Having a good helmet, to start out with, is going to be essential to any type of operation, especially if you’re using explosive breaching, because there’s all kinds of debris and items like that that are flying through the air.”
In addition to the superior ballistic protection Safariland helmets offer from all manner of hazardous projectiles, tactical officers also want ergonomic comfort and the capability to add accessories. Over an extended period of time, a lighter, more comfortable helmet is going to cause less fatigue and distraction in situations where maintaining energy and focus is of the utmost importance.