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.