Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Fenix Torches

I have grown to like Fenix Torches more and more over the last few years, having initially been wary of them as a new pretender to the thrown compared to the longer established brands like Led Lenser, Surefire and even Maglite who have dominated the police market for the last decade. (Surefire torches much more so dominant in the military than police and un armed security).  However as the years have passed those early adopters of Fenix have yet to turn against them and I continue to hear almost exclusively positive feedback from end users suggesting that the products are built to a quality that lasts and that their product claims hold water.

I was initially a little suspicious of Fenix being just another cheap Chinese made torch company, cramming in a lot of functions and claiming powerful outputs and long run times at a very (almost "Too") reasonable price.  On a like for like price comparison you will normally find that Fenix boasts IPX8 water resistance where a competitor might claim their torch is simply weatherproof for example. (Now IPX8 is an ambigious term as it simply means better than IPX7 - Submersible to 1m for 30 mins, but even so it is the highest IP standard available for rating.)  Even their lowest priced ~£11.95 Fenix E01 Torch offers IPX-8!

At the top end of the price range is the Fenix TK40 which offers a blistering 630 lumen output on its brightest setting and a heroic 1200 min run time on it's most economical settings.  Unlike a lot of torches at the top end of the market the TK40 can also run on standard AA batteries as well as the high performance Ni-MH batteries it is really designed to run on, although you will not get the same performance on the AA as you will with the Ni-MH.

There is also a wide range of tactical accessories for Fenix torches from remote trigger switches and red filters to traffic cones and white light diffusers which make the torches highly versatile and suitable for everyone from recreational and professional shooters, to traffic officers and even photographers. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Bates Boots

Bates Boots are a popular police boot brand, a big rival to Magnum in the USA, though not such a big competitor in the UK market currently.

Magnum have dominated Bates due to their longer standing tradition of providing boots in the UK, although they have making boots since Andrew Jackson Bates founded the company in in 1885!  It was not until 1960 however that Bates focused their efforts on making specialist shoes for the US navy and shortly after that that they became a specialist tactical footwear manufacturer exclusively. Since the 60's Bates have expanded internationally and their boots can now be found on up to 70 elite military units around the world!

In terms of performance Bates Boots are made from high specification materials and will last for several years of serious duty use as a police or security officer.  Unfortunately the Bates focus on the US market does mean they have not got some of the necessary EU certifications like EN20347 which is the standard for professional occupational footwear or the SRA, B or C slip resistance.  That is not to say Bates boots would fail these tests as they are built to very exacting standards, however they are built for the US market where the EU standards are simply not relevant so they have not bothered to put the products through the testing process to get the certificates!

Most front line end users however would not really worry about these certifications if buying boots for themselves, however corporate buyers who are issuing boots to staff or employees should definitely consider the implications of issuing non certified boots.

One of the most well known Bates boots is the Falcon boot which was popularised by the British SBS because of their unique sole tread pattern which maximizes grip on wet metallic surfaces....ideal for ships and boats!!! This reputation as the boot of choice by one of the most elite special forces units in the word quickly made the Bates Falcon boot and the wider Bates brand a highly respected industry name!  However, the Falcon boot is a specialist piece of footwear that fulfils a niche role and I would not recommend it for standard foot patrol or duty use.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Peli Versabrite V Quiqlite

Quiqlite are a relative new comer to the scene, but the first to mount a serious challenge to the long standing dominance of the Peli Versabrite.  The versabrite is backed by Peli's life time guarantee which is probably one of the major reasons it was able to command such a lead in the market despite the efforts of cheaper rivals.  You can pick up a Peli versabrite for about £18-£20, where as some budge models might only set you back £9.99, however if that breaks just once, you have already made your money back with Peli's no quibble repair or replace service, and over the course of an active careerer in uniform chances are that you will get through a few clip on lights over the years.

Quiqlite do not come with the same life time guarantee, yet despite this fact, and a price tag that is higher than the Peli but they do pack substantially more features and have the added benefit of being rechargeable.  Quiqlite offer a variety of models with twin LED configurations available in white/white, white/red and white/blue (white/blue is normally restricted to serving Emergency Services Personnel like police, fire and medics.)  The twin LED design of the quqlites allows for several different settings, unlike the single on/off mode of the Peli, so you can have one or the other colour on, or a strobe effect.

Both the Peli Versabrite and the Quiqlite offer the spring clip on the rear for mounting on a belt, pocket flap or shirt lapel or even the brim of a baseball cap.  One very handy accessory for both clip on lights is the Peter Jones KlickFast Doc which allows a police officer to mount the light on the airwaves doc on the shoulder of a stabby, tac vest or carriage harness which makes them ideal for hands free illumination whilst writing or rummaging in a kit bag!

Perhapse the main advantage of the Quiqlite over the Peli is the the much higher lumen output, the Versabrite offering a paltry 9 lumes to the Quqlite's 25!!

Now bear in mind that a Quicklite is around £25, it makes it a tough choice considering performance, reliability, guarantees and features......

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Uniform Dating

For men and women in uniform dating can be a difficult business. awkward shift patterns and the unusual stresses and strains of the job make it difficult for relationships with civilians to work and it is therefore no surprise that most uniformed personnel tend to date other uniformed personnel.  Dating your colleagues of course has it's drawbacks, working and living (or at least spending a lot of  your "private" life) with the same people can lead to frictions with each other, and if other team mates perceive favouritism or preferential treatments as a result of those relationships they will start to resent those.  For those reasons (and more) dating colleagues or co workers is often frowned upon by management, if not out right against company policy so dating outside of the immediate working team is highly recommended.

The problem however as already mentioned is the awkward shifts make it difficult to meet people and thus narrowing the chances of meeting a like minded person even further.  A handy solution is therefore online dating.  There are plenty of sites out there for online dating, match, plenty of fish, e-harmony etc. but those sites are pretty broad ranging and you will have to filter your search results quite intensively to narrow your matches to people who will be suitable.  A better option is UniformDating.com which is a site specifically for uniformed personnel, or those interested in dating someone in uniform, so therefore more likely to accept the unique requirements of a relationship with a services person.

You may have seem the ads on TV in fact for Uniform Dating, but if not you can see them on Youtube:


So whether you work in the police, military or security industry and are looking for a partner check them out today!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Danner - More than the Acadia!

Most people probably know the flagship Danner Acadia Boot which is the top of the line Danner tactical boot hand made in the USA, but they also offer a more affordable range of mass produced boots aimed at the more every day tactical user.

The Danner Acadia boot does boast some impressive spec incorporating the classic stitchdown platform construction which improves stability and distributes pressure more effectively when the wearer is also carrying a load.   This also means that any Danner boots which have the stitchdown construction can be re soled which is quite a plus if you have forked out ~£250 to start with.  The sole is a Vibram (as you would expect) Kletterlift which offers fantastic grip, comfort and longevity in wet or dry conditions. The upper is a full grain leather around the toe (which polishes up well) and lower part of the foot with a 1000 denier nylon upper section around the sides and back of the ankle. The Acadia boot has a Gore-Tex membrane lining making them waterproof and breathable with a good lifespan.

The Danner Acadia is however just one boot in the Danner range.  Excluding their large fashion range the Kinetic boots are a more affordable option for your average police or security officer and still pack a lot of Danner quality into their price!  The Kinetic boots come in 4 styles.  There is a 6inch ankle height version which is available in Gore-Tex and non Gore-Tex as well as an 8inch version which again is available in Gore-Tex and non.  Other than that the Danner Kinetics are largely the same in construction offering full grain leather and rip stop nylon uppers with Ultralon footbed and a well cushioned midsole built on the multi-directional low lug "Kinetic" outsole.  Complete with nylon shank, the Danner Kinetic boot is an ideal light weight response boot that will also suit most foot patrol offices.  Where the Acadia ran to ~£250 the Kinetics start at much more reasonable £88.99 for a 6inch non Gore-Tex and £112 for an 8inch full Gore-Tex version.

One last thing to mention is the proper care of a pair of Danner boots.  Although standard polish will do, Danner offer their own specialist "Boot Dressing" which is specifically designed to nourish an maintain the leather whist leaving the breath-ability un affected.  It is a bit more expensive than a standard polish, but is also acceptable to be used on the Gore-Tex membrane where other boot polish products are not recommended.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


The Fenix torch range is a relative new comer to the UK tactical torch market, surging to popularity with their (relativly) low cost, high performance, feature rich torches rapidly making a name for themselves within the police community.

Fenix have a range of products designed to compete with similar offerings from more established brands like Led Lenser.  At the bottom of the price range is the Fenix E01 pocket or key ring torch retailing for about £12 it runs on 1 AAA battery and provides about 20-22 hours of 10 lumen output.  Made from anodized aluminium it offers a rugged finish and is in fact IPX-8 waterproof which is a nice advantage over comparable offerings.

At the top end of the range is the Fenix TK40 CREE MCE torch which will set you back about £130 online.  Whilst this is like the E01 in that it is waterproof to IPX8, that is about where the similarities end.  The TK40 is designed to run on 8 1.5V Ni-MH batteries for maximum output but will also run on 4 AA batteries in an emergency and can give an impressive 630 lumen white light beam that is brighter and clearer than most car headlights!!!

At the more intermediary level Fenix have a few offerings between the £40 and £60 pound mark the LD10, the LD20 and the TK11 R5 and the TK 11 Tactical Torches.

One of the major advantages with Fenix is the selection of accessories they have available including traffic wants, remote weapons triggers/pressure switches, weapons mounts and even a light diffuser. The traffic wands/cones are designed to fit the mid range Fenix torches for use by roads policing teams converting the white torch light to an orange glowing beacon.  The remote pressure switch replaces the normal tail cap and the 23.5cm cable allows you to mount the switch at a distant location.  The light diffuser is hinged to allow you to turn the focused beam into a soft light for reading or similar activities.

All in all the Fenix range sits comfortably in the middle of the market place, offering better lumen output, more features (most of the torches offer strobe, "turbo", half and low as standard) and rugged reliable performance at a price that won't break the bank.  If you pick up one of these you wont be disapointed.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Surefire Torches

Most military operators will know and love SureFire and a lot of trickle down from the steady stream of ex military into the police means most police officers will know them to.  SureFire have long had a reputation for   quality, reliability and durability which have made them the main stay for those looking for a torch where their life depends on the light coming on when you click the switch.  As such you will find SureFire torches on weapon mounts around the world from Isrealie special forces teams to British Infantry.

SureFire torches are not quite so prolific in the police as they are in the military (apart from Firearms Teams) as most police officers do not have quite such a life and death need for light at the click of a button.  The major turn off for police with the SureFire brand is the price, retailing online at £90-£110 in general for the G2 and 6P models, where as cheaper Chinese made products from Led Lenser or Fenix retail for around fifty pounds for their standard models that offer comparable lumens and run time to the Surefire versions.

SureFire attribute their high prices to their custom developed LEDs where other factories use "off the shelf" LEDs and customised their reflector cones and lenses to optimise light production.  Whether this justifies the price tag or not.... I would be inclined to say not.

One thing that specialist users will appreciate is that SureFire have retained certain filament bulb models where other companies have now moved almost exclusively to LED models.  Now whilst LED torches offer higher lumen output and better battery life they have one major drawback (if you need it) they can not be used with IR filters!  So they are no good if you are trying to use IR night vision image intensifiers.  Now this is quite a specialist role that requires such a niche feature but it is one Surefire understands more than a "commercial" or "retail" producer would.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Police Uniform Shops

There are quite a few different police uniform shops available online, many selling much the same range of products from 5.11, Arktis, Blackhawk, Under Armour etc etc. and very often at similar prices (do keep an eye out for sporadic promotions though as you can save significant amounts with Newsletter special offers or Facebook deals when they come up).

One of the best police uniform shops is PatrolStore.com, offering one of the best product ranges and probably consistently the best prices on the web (even before some of the fantastic special offers they often run).  The site offers some great features which really help when shopping for police uniform supplies, top of my list being the large 1000*1000 good quality pictures. The pictures normally show the uniform items from several different angles and pick out special features where applicable to highlight them.  A great example from their range of uniform supplies is their police vests, especially the Op. Zulu Advanced Tactical Duty Vest which shows a 1000*1000 front and rear view and then also seven additional pictures of key features, such as pockets, straps, docks and epaulette holders.

Speaking of epaulettes these are an often hard to find piece of police uniform which can be a real struggle to convince stores to release extra pairs if you loose yours or have several layers on and have not been issued with enough to have a pair on every layer.

Less important these days for the new "tactical" police uniform is a clip on tie,  these used to be an essential piece of uniform, but the new moisture wicking polo shirts have replaced the traditional white shirt and a tie is no longer normally worn by police officers. (It is still a key bit of kit for your security uniform though if that's your industry).

So whatever your uniform (police, military or security) needs are check out the PatrolStore.com for all your law enforcement shopping needs.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Led Lenser Torches

I have been in a lot of situations over the years where having the right kind of equipment is essential. The right tool for the job is critical (as everyone knows), and in dark places, the right tools are Led Lenser torches.

When I need a high quality, bright and resiliant torch while on patrol, I tend to steer clear of my smaller and less powerful torches. I know that my Led Lenser torches will outperform and outlast all of the others. The brightness to battery life ratio found in Led Lenser torches makes them the last word in tactical lighting.

I really can't say enough good things about them. So many times I have been caught short because the batteries have drained too quickly on my Maglite, or the light produced hasn't been bright or clear enough. I personally use the Led Lenser T7 torch, although I also have a Led Lenser Police Tech Focus Torch, as it has the benefit of an advertised 130 hours of battery life (I've had slightly less, but that's with HEAVY use). It also has a feature that is very much lacking in many other torch manufacturers, and that is the ability to adjust focus of the light. This is one of the BEST features of Led Lenser torches and once you have used one, you won't want to go back.

The light from a Led Lenser torch is incredible too! Pure white, bright, crisp and sharp. I can give you the specs of my Led Lenser torch (200 lumens output) but really, numbers can't explain how good these Led Lenser torches really are.

Batteries are damned expensive and a huge pain in the butt to remember to buy and I HATE it when my torches run out of steam while in the middle of use. Because of this, I have found that Led Lenser Torches to be extremely battery friendly and my Led Lenser torches tend to last longer than say a Maglite or Fenix.

I've been fortunate enough to see the Led Lenser X21 in action and it was unbelieveable. The X21 is like the "big daddy" of the Led Lenser torches that I've seen. It has 7 light emitters that pump out an astounding 1068 lumens and it shows, it was so bright. I admit, I'm a little bit of a gadget geek and would LOVE to own one of them but I couldn't justify buying any more Led Lenser torches.

If you have considered Led Lenser Torches, then take the plunge today. I highly recommend getting one of the Led Lenser Torches, you won't be disappointed and you will have one of the best tactical torches around as Led Lenser Torches are durable, bright and efficient.