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American COP July/August Digital Edition - Page 18

CARRY OPTIONS FROM HOLSTERS TO HAvERSACkS. SAMMY REESE US PALM T ody armor and the carrier systems today are the best they’ve ever been. Bullet proof technology has gotten so light in soft vests; it’s a wonder guys aren’t killed by the blunt force trauma. On the flip side the hard armor plates are still heavy, but getting lighter with each generation and oo much of a good thing has a negative tone to it in most cases. When we talk about body armor, both soft and hard, I haven’t met anyone yet who’s been shot and wished they were wearing less protective armor. A friend of mine who’s been shot not once, but twice by 7.62x39 rounds told me he didn’t care if the plates were 20 pounds heavier, he’d work out more so he could hump the weight. personal body armor has certainly come a long way in the last 20 years. When I left active duty, only Mps and “high speed” units had access to body armor; my unit was still wearing Vietnam-era flak vests. The first vest I was “fitted” for as a cop made me look a lot more buff than I really am. And when I made SWAT a few years later the hand-me-down vest fit me like a footlocker — if I fell on my back I’d have been like a turtle on his shell until someone flipped me over. The Defender is set up for a quick response to any hot call where you need equipment and protection in just one grab. Times Ha ve CHanged B I’ve witnessed the effectiveness of them in live fire demonstrations. All this new technology usually comes with high price tag. I say usually because I’ve recently discovered US pALM (US primary Armament & Logistical Manufacturing). Denny Hansen, editor of SWAT Magazine, and I were on the range at Gunsite recently when he pulled his Defender vest out of his truck and tossed it to me. I braced, expecting a heavy vest, but it was very light — even with three loaded 30-round AR mags in it. Denny said, “Would you believe it only costs $200 for the base model and about $230 for custom color carriers?” “With the level III panels?” I asked. “Just the front, but you can add the rear panel for an additional $100.” When I got back to San Diego I contacted the folks at US pALM and made arrangements to get my own test sample. The Defender arrived in a box weighing way too much for this rig. Included with the Defender was an ASp-C (Air Save plate Carrier) complete with front and rear Level IV ceramic/steel hard plates. Defender Series his vest is designed for those grab-andgo moments. The 500 Denier Cordura nylon carrier can be configured to carry magazines, gear and even a holster. It’s not a full SWAT or even patrol vest, but for detectives or plain-clothes officers. They can don it in under five seconds and have a Level III vest with spare ammo, flashlight, first aid kit, etc. They can go solve the problem with more than just a Hawaiian shirt and some cool sunglasses on to protect them. The carrier is cut to accept hard plates measuring 10x12" if you desire more protection. I spent some time at the range getting into the vest as quickly as I could — it only took a few reps to get it down. My vest was simple with three 30-round AR mag pouches and an extra pouch for a double-stack magazine or flashlight. I easily tucked tourniquets and quick clot into the admin pouches. Remember, this is for those “oh shit” moments where you have to go into those bad places to earn the big bucks. If the Level III vest isn’t enough for you and you’re in good enough shape to hump it, the ASp-C is one serious piece of protective gear capable of stopping 7.62x51 Ap (armor pierc18 T The ASP-C has enough MOLLE attachment points so you can customize it any way you’d like. Everything on this rig is heavy duty. ing) rounds. Without anything hanging on it, the carrier and two Type IV plates weigh 17.4 lbs. If that doesn’t sound like much, try it on and go for a short run before you talk smack. The MOLLE system allows you to hang any combination of pouches on it. Remember the more “stuff” you hang on it, the heavier it gets. The shoulder straps are padded and inside the front and rear panels are comfort pads. The ASp-C is available in several colors and lists for $399 MSRp. For a vest that stops 7.62x51 Ap rounds, I say it’s worth every penny. Times are financially tough for all of us. Agencies are cutting budgets and in some cities they’re cutting officers pay. It sucks, but the fact still remains the same — you chose to become a cop and your family is depending on you to get home. If your agency won’t buy you the gear you need, sell the jet ski you can’t afford to use and buy the gear you need to get you home safe. * For more info: WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • JULY/AUGUST 2011

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