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American COP Jan/Feb 2011 Digital Edition - Page 26
REALITY CHECK II COUNsEl, WIsdOM, GUIdANCE ANd tEACHING. ClINt sMItH Bottom Front To Rear The Top t’s been some time since I was in SWAT or in law enforcement for that matter. And over the past 30 years I’ve been teaching, it was an oddity if there wasn’t at least one cop in the fout to five firearms classes I taught each month. Often the whole class is made up of law enforcement officers. We hold firearms and tactical training blocks with our resident city, county, state and federal officers quarterly, so even though I’m not in law enforcement as a day job, I still hold close ties to law enforcement on an almost daily basis. My county is 8,000 square miles in size and is protected by only six officers — to say they’re spread pretty thin is an understatement. So, wife Heidi is a newly minted EMT and recently signed on as a reserve deputy. She’s there to help in “bad spots I Ops-Core Ballistic Helmet with a SureFire X300 light — for the “operating room” in the field. Top To V P 26 and times” as a tactical medic. I staunchly support her volunteerism … so long as she’s got the correct gear to do the work. When it came time to “gear up” I was amazed and happy for her at all the new really good gear available. I didn’t say it was cheap, I said it was good. Like a couple of teenage girls, we started shopping to get her gear. ery badass stuff here, and her new Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet is a tough piece of gear to protect her pumpkin. Heidi’s has the VAS shroud to hold PVS14 NVDs, and the really tricky part is the side rail systems to which she attached two SureFire X300 lights creating her own miniature illuminated space for her EMT work. The helmet holds stable and is adjustable for an over-the-head communications headset. I’ve worn and seen helmets over the years; this is the best impact and ballistic helmet I’ve ever seen. It — and life — ain’t cheap. The whole kit and caboodle. And most of it can be kept together in a United Shield gear bag. Shield from United Shield, aid bag from North American Rescue, armor from Armor Express and plates from Diamondback Tactical. rotecting the top half was an easy choice. I use Armor Express soft armor for the school and at home, so when Heidi signed up for her gig her soft armor and plates came from AE. We put the plates into a Diamondback Fast Attack Gen II Plate Carrier for the quick and dirty “be there now” mode. She also has a juggernaut-like, heavyweight full set of AE Level-IIIA soft and Level-IV hard armor combined inside a Tactical Tailor TTRAC Vest for use where less movement and more protection might be a good thing. Armor Express plates and soft armor are available in different levels of protection. If solid gear is a requirement you should Continued on page 54 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011