Eagle has long been among the market leaders in tactical nylon for law enforcement and military applications. Ben Lennett, who heads Eagle’s Law Enforcement Division, is a former patrol deputy from a large Southwestern sheriff’s department. He has a knowledge base that gives him unique insight into what officers want and, most important, what they need in equipment of this type.
Designs that come from the Eagle shop are well thought out and are built to survive the rigors of life on a patrol, so there should be no concerns as to long-term durability. In fact, Eagle’s President John Carver offers a lifetime guarantee on the company’s products: “If you do not shoot it, cut it, or blow it up, I will repair or replace, at no charge, any Eagle product that ever fails to perform.” It just does not get any better than that.
While Eagle has a full line of products and offerings that would be useful in active shooting scenarios, there are several that stand out for patrol officers. In fact, Eagle officials are so concerned with making sure that officers have the appropriate equipment for response to these incidents, they have an entire selection of products on their Web site listed as “Active Shooter Response Gear.” Because belt space is at a premium on every officer’s gun belt, a place for addition magazines and other equipment will need to be created. Back pockets work, but they are slow, cumbersome, not secure against loss and do nothing to mitigate against damage to equipment.
Chest rigs have long been a favorite of the military and tactical law enforcement communities. The benefit of a chest rig for active shooter response is that it can be kept pre-loaded, stored next to the rifle and be quickly donned once the officer arrives at the location of the incident. These rigs, which vary in capabilities, can hold from three to eight spare rifle magazines and additional gear. While Eagle offers numerous styles of these products, a few stand out as the best alternative for patrol-based law enforcement use.
One is the Universal Tactical Vest, Chest Rig (Eagle product code CR-PHUTV). This chest rig was originally designed at the request of a military unit that is a “national counter-terrorism asset.” The rig has permanently arranged pockets that allow for an extreme amount of gear, including up to eight 30-round AR-15-style magazines and four pistol magazines. Two additional pockets, while originally designed for military radios, are useful for items such as water bottles or bulk first-aid supplies.
Two of the pockets on the rig can be used to hold an additional pistol with a tactical light attached. The unit is flexible in that its design allows for an officer to configure gear based upon perceived needs without having to resort to buying additional pockets or pouches.
Another product is Chest Rig M4, MOLLE, LE (Eagle Product Code CR-M4-MS-LE). While the UTV is set up with permanently arranged pockets, Eagle realized that this may not be optimal for all officers in all situations. As such, Eagle has developed the LE MOLLE Chest Rig, which has three permanently placed open-top pockets in the front of the rig, each carrying a single 30-round magazine. To either side of the rig is a MOLLE panel, which can be used to add additional pockets or pouches to fit a user’s specific needs. Developed expressly for law enforcement, the unit has found a home in many patrol vehicles and many tactical officers because it offers the ability to add equipment on an as-needed basis for specific functions.
Finally, Eagle has the Patrol Bandoleer, Double M4/9mm (Eagle Product Code PB-M4/4-M9/2-LE). While chest rigs are ideal for an active shooter situation, they may be more than what some officers want or need in terms of equipment carriage. For an even quicker and easier response, Eagle has developed the Patrol Bandoleer. This unit, which is carried by a simple strap that an officer can sling over his shoulder and run, holds up to four 30-round magazines as well as two additional pistol magazines. Simple, easy and rugged, the Patrol Bandoleer is an in-expensive way to keep spare ammunition with the weapons system.
Known to almost every officer as the largest holster and gunbelt accessory maker in the world, Safariland offers a series of products for use by officers responding to active shooter incidents that take a slightly different tack than other companies. Building upon the proven design of their wildly successful 6004 tactical holster platform, Safariland now offers the 6004-14 and 6005-10 Tactical Leg Shrouds, upon which can be mounted magazine holders, chemical and less-lethal device pouches and a variety of other much-needed equipment.
The male / female-style buckle system on the drop strap allows an officer to wear the female portion on his uniform pants underneath of the gunbelt, out of the way and unobtrusive until needed. When an officer needs to add additional gear for a crisis response, he simply snaps the male portion of the shroud’s drop strap into the female end.
The tactical leg shroud design has been proven with SWAT officers across the country who need to carry “sub-loads” of ammunition or other accessories on their legs, out of the way of body armor and other gear but readily accessible. This same technology is rapidly becoming of great use to patrol officers for the very same reasons.
Scott Oldham is a supervisory sergeant with the Bloomington, IN Police Department where he is assigned to the Operations Division as patrol supervisor, as well as being one of the team leaders for the department’s Tactical Unit. He and his partner, Sergeant Mick Williams, provide contract instruction on a wide range of subjects, including tactical and patrol-based skills. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.