In today’s BlueSheepdog Podcast, I talk about officer safety and your equipment. We’ve had too many police officers killed over the years, and deaths due to not using or caring for our equipment are needless deaths. I’m sick of police funerals.
Archives for February 2011
This week, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina SWAT officer was killed when a distraction device, or flash bang, detonated in close proximity to his torso. The Charlotte Observer reported that the 28-year veteran officer was de-mobilizing after a search warrant service when the accident occurred.
Approximately 45 minutes after the operation, the officer was in his driveway at home “attempting to render his equipment safe” when the distraction device inadvertently exploded. He suffered massive internal injuries and efforts to save his life were not successful.
Distraction devices are a commonly-used tool for SWAT to disorient suspects, thus giving the officers time to safely locate and overwhelm them in an attempt to avoid having to use lethal force. Carried in pouches either on a load-bearing vest or drop leg holster, flashbangs have saved the lives of SWAT officers, hostages, and the suspects themselves countless times.
The safety pin and activation spoon method of detonation is borrowed from military-style fragmentation grenades. Generally, distraction devices contain about 15 grams of flash powder. A fuse-initiated explosion of this powder emits approximately 175 decibels of sound and 6 to 10 million candelas of bright light for several milliseconds.
The solid metal body of the distraction device contains the brunt of the blast, but vents it in a single or dual direction so the audible report and blinding light are experienced. Flashbangs are frequently used in SWAT training scenarios to, in effect, desensitize the officers during their use in real operations. Because of the dangerous nature of these devices, their sales are restricted to law enforcement and the military, and officers and soldiers who use them are trained by certified instructors.
At this time, the cause of the detonation is not known, but regardless, it serves as a very sad reminder for us to handle our SWAT equipment with great care. Update: More information can be found here.
Another Officer Critically Injured by a Flashbang
A Texas police officer and commander of a tactical unit was critically injured by a flash bang exploding in his hand when he was loading equipment into his patrol car. He is the second officer injured or killed by a flash bang in the past few weeks.
I am beginning to wonder if the two incidents are related, either through a product defect or product design change. Yes, mishandling is a possibility in both cases, but having two similar incidents so close together is unusual.
On today’s BlueSheepdog Podcast, I talk about the bail out bags: what it is, how to pick one and what you should keep in them. Definitely post what you use and carry in yours in the comments section below.
Links from today’s podcast:
- Maxpedition Active Shooter Bag (the Maxpedition PALS Mag Bag is similar and less expensive)
- 5.11 Bail Out Bag
- BLACKHAWK! Tsunami
- QuickClot Combat Gauze
In this episode, I talk about the passenger side approach for vehicle stops, and the benefits it has:
- increased safety from passing cars
- increased safety from vehicle occupants
- ability to see contraband you would have missed from the driver’s side
Aaron put together an excellent look at the passenger side approach study done by the Force Science Institute.
I also briefly talk about the Cobra Strike Plate video I posted earlier.
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The Cobra Strike Plate is capable of stopping “special rounds” like the 7.62×25 Tokarev and the 5.7×28 FN. However, the really great thing about the Cobra is it will also stop some rifle rounds like the 7.62×39 and .223 that normally penetrate concealable vests and strike plates with ease.
The strike plate has been tested with 12 gauge slugs, 12 gauge flechette and .500 Magnum rounds. It also passed the Edged Weapon II Test.
I own one of the better trauma plates on the market, and it only offers “reduced wounding capability” of .223 and 7.62×39 rounds when ranges are at 100 meters. This strike plate completely stops them from 6″ away, and does so with multiple hits.
In this video, you see Tom Carter of ArmorShield USA shoot one of the 5″x8″ strike plates with an AK-47. Three times, from about 6″ away. Then, Carter’s parter steps into frame and shoots the strike plate with a 12 gauge 2 3/4″ rifled slug. The plate stopped all of the rounds.
No doubt this has to be one of the best advances I’ve seen in body armor protection in a while.
The ArmorShield USA staff at the 2011 SHOT Show said the 5″x8″ plates should sell for less than $150 later this year. I imagine that price could be reduced nicely if a department was to order a few dozen at a time.
Update: The ArmorShield USA website is gone and the company hasn’t posted anything to its Facebook account since 2011. I’m guessing the company is out of business. Too bad as this looked like a great product.
This week’s police podcast focuses on criminal interdiction. In the past, many officers and trainers have focused on drug interdiction in rural stretches of highway. I suggest that criminal interdiction techniques can, and should, be applied in all areas of your jurisdiction.
Among other things, I talk about officer safety, vehicle occupants and vehicle contents.
As mentioned in a previous podcast, the web address for the company making the Cobra Strike Plate is: ArmorShield USA. I did not see the plate on the site yet, but I am working on getting more information, including a video of the plate in action.
The podcast runs a little longer, a little shy of an hour, but I hope you get some good information out of it.
The kit allows you to mount a female adapter plate to virtually any location: molle webbing on your plate carrier, on your leg platform, underneath your desk, etc. On the back of the holster, you replace the standard hardware with the male adapter. Now you can move your pistol to various locations without having to pull it out of the holster itself.
The kit was designed after a European military approached BLACKHAWK! with the desire for just such a system. The concern was for their combat troops who spent a lot of time riding in vehicles where it was ideal to have the pistol mounted on their chest. But, as soon as these troops dismounted, the preferred position was to have the pistol on a leg platform.
BLACKHAWK!’s design team went to work and came up with the Quick Disconnect Kit. Chuck Buis, a retired police officer and firearms trainer, spent more than his fair share of time kicking in doors and going after some of the most dangerous criminals in a large southern city. Watch the video as he explains the system much better than I can.
In case you are wondering, I have had a chance to play with the Quick Disconnect System. The darn thing works. And it is strong, too. The guys at BLACKHAWK! used to have holsters mounted in this system that they would use for dips and other exercises just to prove the design can take the abuse.
If you have a need for this kind of flexibility, I highly recommend it.
Scouring the SHOT Show 2011 booths, our staff was introduced to several low cost, American-made light products by Elzetta Designs of Lexington, Kentucky. Product Engineer Bryan Marcum showed us light mounts for AR-15-style rifles and shotguns.
The first was the Elzetta ZFH1500, which attaches to the A2 front sight of a Black Rifle without the need for Picatinny rails. The ambidextrous mount affixes a .70” to 1.05” diameter standard flashlight below the front sight and just ahead of the handguard, where the light’s tail-cap switch is activated either by direct thumb pressure or pressure on the rifle’s front sling mount.
A curiosity in the Baker Ballistics booth at SHOT Show 2011 was a well-dressed gentleman wearing slacks, a button-down shirt, and tie and an outerwear ballistic vest. Tactically dapper? He was Rick Armellino, Baker Ballistics Director and CEO.
Armellino was kitted up with the Nylon/Kevlar vest to demonstrate the capabilities of the new M.R.A.P.S. (Mobile Rifle Armor Protective Shield). The M.R.A.P.S. is a military grade composite shield designed for CQB, with a shooting platform integrated into the forward portion. There is a “V” cut into the top quarter of the shield which cradles an AR15, preferably with a vertical foregrip .
Maybe I should have done James Bond music…
Regardless, here is the BlueSheepdog Podcast episode #007. This week’s podcast is something special with an interview of firearms instructor Rob Pincus.
Rob took a lot of time out of his busy day to have a conversation about firearms training, how the body reacts under stress, the Combat Focus Shooting system, and if there is a place for the traditional range qualification in modern law enforcement. I think you will enjoy it.
- Combat Focus Shooting – classes and instructors
- Personal Defense Network
- I.C.E. Training
- Combat Focus Shooting Evolution 2010