The TacProGear BLACK Marine Plate Carrier (MPC) has recently achieved the “Member Tested and Recommended” stamp of approval from the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA). TacProGear (TPG) is a well known manufacturer of tactical equipment, including apparel, armor, bags, packs, pouches, footwear and accessories. TPG claims the BLACK line of products rely completely on new concepts and designs from end user feedback.
The color of SHOT Show 2014 was clearly grey, and 5.11 led that charge with their Storm Grey offering. Predominately introduced in their hugely popular clothing line, 5.11 is continuing the move by showcasing popular items and accessories in Storm Grey, including the TACTEC plate carrier. The Storm Grey design specifically targets law enforcement and special operations units in the urban environment, yet is neutral enough to appeal to a much broader group of shooters.
Traditional heavier tactical vests offer more comprehensive cover than plate carriers, but do so at the expense of bulk, weight, and far less mobility. When rifle grade armor plates are added those heavy vests become even more cumbersome. The plate carrier concept was designed to provide maximum coverage over the vital areas of the wearer’s torso, with a much slimmer profile facilitating greater mobility and comfort.
Prior to a large event, we receive a hard-drive-punishing flow of emailed product press releases. My interest was piqued by a bullet resistant vest company that promised what I thought was a typographical error for their MSRP. I would definitely be paying a visit to the BulletSafe booth at SHOT Show 2014.
At the Show, I met Tom Nardone, BulletSafe’s company president, in their small space at an off-the-main-floor Law Enforcement Vendors ballroom. Not shy, I had to ask right out of the gate, “Why are your ballistic vests so inexpensive?” At a suggested retail price of just $299.00, BulletSafe’s Level IIIA protection brought out the skeptic in me.
This year’s body armor update includes good news about wear rates; not so good news about federal funding; and continued product development for law enforcement’s ever changing needs. In addition to seeing agencies replace vests about every five years, body armor manufacturers report seeing a demand for anti-rifle plates and hard armor plate carriers worn over soft body armor.
“More and more officers are encountering rifle threats – on the street or [during] standard calls for service,” said Georg Olsen, Sales Manager at U.S. Armor, adding that this is a growing and disturbing trend in urban areas which have historically not experienced it as often as those in rural areas.
Michael Foreman, Vice President of Government and International Sales and head of product line management at Point Blank Enterprises, said, “Traditionally, where we used to wait for SWAT to show up, there’s the expectation that first responders will be able to respond timely and effectively.”
DKX Advanced Manufacturing is on the cutting edge of ballistic protection, offering high grade armor plates for military and civilian applications. The latest products from Advanced Manufacturing are some of the most amazing advancements in armor development I have ever seen.
Combining the latest manufacturing technology with the newest polymer advancements, Advanced Manufacturing is offering their DKX line of ballistic armor plates. These armor plates offer some of the highest protection from common rifle rounds while presenting a package that is so light weight you almost forget you are wearing one.
The concept of body armor has been around for thousands of years. However, modern police forces, tracing their origin to Sir Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police in London in the early 1800’s, have been much slower to embrace an image to protect officers with “military” style armor.
PROTECH announced the introduction of a new level IV hard armor plate that conforms to NIJ-06 body armor standards. The new 10″x12″ plate runs 7.5 pounds and is a little more than one inch thick. It has a “shooter’s cut” allowing for easier shooting while wearing the plate.
Level IV plates have to defeat multiple hits from an .30-06 M2 armor piercing round. That round is no joke, and carries significantly more bang than what an AR or AK can throw at you. What is even more impressive about these plates is that the standardized testing showed the plate far exceeded the NIJ requirements.
There is a testing concept that measures the performance using a 50% penetration standard, or V50. Without diving too deeply into how the testing is done, and I’m not an expert anyway, up to 50% of the rounds can penetrate the plate and it meet standard. This is because of all of the variables that go into the testing. A better explanation is over at Wikipedia.
I am an advocate of ballistic shields. They are not only appropriate for law enforcement clearing (slow methodical mode) or safety clears, but, with current weight reductions, can be employed in the slow dynamic technique mode which is a bridge technique between dynamic entries and law enforcement clears.
Slow Dynamic Technique Explained
Today’s Level IIIA shields are lighter and more maneuverable. Shield drivers can move rapidly with them and teams can engage in a bridge technique between the two opposite ends of the maneuver spectrum which I call the “Slow Dynamic” technique.
This method of offensive shield tactics was developed by a former member of the FBI’s HRT and is based on the “heavy/light side” of dynamic room entries.
Movement is conducted in a “careful hurry” manner and usually does not exceed the speed of a fast walk. I like to get the shields into a room first.
In the past, I have talked about the importance of carefully searching and handcuffing criminals. A failure to properly secure your prisoner can have disastrous consequences including their escape and your injury and/or death.
This video on escaping from handcuffs was filmed by the folks at Slashdot at HOPE, a conference for hackers, earlier this year.
Wearing a vest sucks. Yes, body can save your life, and I will always wear one when in uniform. But they are still stiff, heavy, and hot. If you work in places like Texas and Florida, they can get blistering hot in the summer.
There have been a number of things done to try to make vest wear more tolerable. I think most officers are wearing some type of sports t-shirts that help wick away sweat. They help, but they are not miracle fabrics. Columbia Sportswear, however, may have a new product that could just be a God-send for anyone donning body armor.
Revision Military Ltd manufactures the Batlskin head protection system, which includes mandible and visor pieces that help protect the wearer from ballistic and blunt trauma injuries. Protecting the “brain box” is obviously important, especially in light of a 2008 report that showed up to 30% of all current wartime casualties were presenting with neck and head injuries.
Revision put out a series of videos showing how to integrate the Batlskin system with your current gear. If you are not familiar with the system, these videos do an excellent job of showing you how the system works.