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.