Uncle Mike’s Law Enforcement products has brought out a load-bearing vest alternately called a Breacher’s Vest or Shot Gunner’s Vest that has a dual application for police officers.
This vest is build specifically for the officer or operator who needs to take aboard a large payload of shotgun shells. Previously, I told you how I felt about the police shotgun in today’s patrol environment and it was favorable.
A shotgun is also a valuable tool in a SWAT situation. The shotgun is undoubtedly the most devastating close quarter weapon that can be wielded by a team member. In some agencies, the shotgun is employed to facilitate door breaching.
Using purpose-specific frangible shotgun rounds, an officer can quickly shoot out door hinges or locks to gain entry to a structure. This is a high liability pursuit with much training and practice mandatory.
Both the patrolman and the tactical officer will find comfort in having a staggering 56 rounds of shotgun power available in an Uncle Mike’s Shot Gunner’s Vest.
This load-bearing vest is made from high quality nylon. Its key features are four large flapped pockets, which have individual elastic loops for shotgun shells. Each pocket can hold up to 14 rounds.
The pocket covers are held down with Velcro and have a small removable colored tab that can be affixed. The tabs come in red and yellow and are intended to identify lethal and less lethal rounds, respectively. More on this in a moment.
There are padded non-skid panels at each shoulder to grab the butt of a long gun. Two utility pockets ride above the shotgun bomb bays. The back of the vest supports a drag handle and full MOLLE webbing.
The Shot Gunner’s Vest is hydration bladder compatible and the vest will fit a 72” girth. A generous amount of buckles and straps assist the center zipper in providing a good fit.
I covered the virtues of a bail-out vest in a previous article, and this Shot Gunner’s Vest can be a boon to those who do not have access to a long rifle. If I had to charge into a man-with-a-gun call armed with the standard 870, this vest would give me the extra rounds necessary to stay in the fight.
Though not that commonly seen, a third use for a vest of this type would be for a gasman, or grenadier, to carry 12 ga. OC or CS ferret rounds. We have used these types of gas-delivering munitions from perimeter positions into rooms or vehicles on SWAT calls.
My thought on the red and yellow tabs: I do not feel that less lethal impact and lethal ammunition should be mixed, ever. End of story. An officer issued a less lethal shotgun should not even have a standard shotgun or its shells in his car. There are too many opportunities for an accident or negligence in this configuration.
I can see a patrol officer using the tabs to mark pouches for buckshot and slugs, however. A breacher or gasman might also tab the pockets between breaching rounds, gas rounds, and standard ammunition, too, so this function is not all bad.
Since I have a load-bearing vest outfitted for my duty AR-15, I loaned this Uncle Mike’s shotgun vest to another officer for a long-term test. I’ll check back with you to let you know what he filled it with. He seemed thrilled when he first examined it, so I’m betting he likes it.
Randall is a twenty-four year sworn police officer in a mid-sized Florida police department. He has been an FTO, K9 Handler, Detective, and SWAT Team Leader. He is currently the K9 Unit Sergeant and department SWAT Coordinator.