What to consider when buying duty gear

This is a discussion on What to consider when buying duty gear within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I will be starting Police Academy in April and upon graduation will need to purchase my duty gear; belt, radio holder, holster, handcuffs, cuff holder, ...

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Thread: What to consider when buying duty gear

  1. #1
    Member Array pfcslr's Avatar
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    What to consider when buying duty gear

    I will be starting Police Academy in April and upon graduation will need to purchase my duty gear; belt, radio holder, holster, handcuffs, cuff holder, expandable baton, double mag holder, etc... . Is there any benefit to leather over the synthetic leather, I think it is Accumold? Is there any expandable baton that is better than the rest, or that should be avoided? What are the pros and cons of the various handcuffs our SD has no restrictions other than NIJ approved. I am thinking that a double cuff case with one pair of chain cuffs and one pair of hinged cuffs, but I am open to advice. I have had two officers mention the Safariland 070 holster as the best available.

    I will be a reserve deputy and plan to take advantage of the longer time frame of the night academy to spread out the expense and get the best gear the first time around. I already have a holster drawer, I want to avoid filling my closet shelves with bad choices in gear.

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.




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  3. #2
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    I have a bunch of advice, but a few questions first;

    Are you allowed to wear your choice of belt stuff?

    How are you with upkeep of your gear?

    And are you fat? yes, that is a serious question, it it does matter in gear selection.

    I agree the Safariland makes the best duty holsters, Bianchi makes the best molded nylon duty belt stuff.
    I prefer the nylon for two reasons. First, its washable. It can be sterilized. Blood and other stuff soaks into leather.

    Its lighter.

    But, I'll be the first to admit leather looks better. A lot better.

    If you do go with nylon, buy molded. Accumold is made by Bianchi and is good stuff. Don't buy the cheap junk that is not molded. It won't last and will be nothing but a headache.

    ASP and Monadnock make the best batons, they both have some strengths and weaknesses. Don't even consider the rest.

    Cuffs, I like the Peerless. There are a few others decent ones out there, S&W seems to be the common standard, I have a few sets of those too. I'd buy chained cuffs at first, until you get really good at cuffing. While hinged are a little more secure, they do present some problems with large people.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array ecorrigan's Avatar
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    Sixto said it perfectly. I personally prefer leather because of the look of it. As he said, it looks so much better. Nylon is awesome too but it's all about personal preference. I'm surprised, my department told us we had to use leather!! Whatever you buy, make sure it's got some kind of return/exchange policy on it in case it turns out to be something that you don't like or is uncomfortable.
    I prefer to carry two handcuff cases rather than just one. It's easier for me that way. I use S&W handcuffs because that's what I was 'raised' on in the department. As you mentioned, the Safariland 070 Holster is very good. No complaints from me on that. It's what I carried my 4006 in when I first got into this line of work.
    You'll find that it's difficult (if you use leather) to stick with one single brand of duty gear when you start buying stuff. I have Triple K handcuff cases, Stallion Leather Mk 4 OC case, A.E. Nelson Leather Flashlight Holder, Safariland Holster for my S&W M&P, Bianchi Dual Mag Holder and an unknown brand of belt that is of the Border Patrol River Belt model. I love it all. It's comfortable for me and I know where everything is and can access it quickly!!
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    Member Array pfcslr's Avatar
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    Sixto

    Yes I am allowed to wear my choice of gear as long as it is Basket weave leather/pleather.

    I don't ignore my gear and expect to keep a clean and profesional appearance, although not necearily spit shined and parade ready.

    The basic must haves are belt, hand cuffs and case, radio holder, gun and holster, and two magazine holder.

    I am 5' 9" and weigh 240 lbs but the weight is falling, I am aiming for 200 lbs. What will I need to consider since I am not slim and trim?

    What is the difference in the various length batons





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    If you have a large waist, you can get away with two single cuff cases. I dont have room for them, so I must use a double. Doubles hang out way for far and are a bit bulky. Also, things are going to dig into you a lot more so nylon tends to be a lot thinner, giving you a little more room.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    I have always liked the Peerless cuffs...due to the location of the double lock. I have never had to have a full duty rig...As I am plainclothes. But i agree with Sixto Safariland makes the beter LE Holsters in IMO. Start there then find a good belt to hang it on and the other stuff will work itself out.
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    Member Array Deuce130's Avatar
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    Do you really have to buy your own gear? I always assumed that the Dept you worked for would "issue" you your own stuff - along the lines of the military. Is this not the case?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce130 View Post
    Do you really have to buy your own gear? I always assumed that the Dept you worked for would "issue" you your own stuff - along the lines of the military. Is this not the case?
    It depends. Most agencies provide that stuff, some do not. Some will provide an allowance, and its up to you to pick out what you want, and others have a stock room of their standard issue to hand you when you walk in the door.
    A lot of the part time/volunteer types do have to provide their own equipment, as it is very costly to outfit somebody who may only work a few days a year, or might be gone all together after a few weeks.

    Oh yeah, if you must go basket weave, buy the real leather. Pleather looks like pleather and that just isn't good.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array kbox's Avatar
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    My department requires basketweave leather or synthetic leather. The pleather as it is sometimes called is lighter. I like it as far as holsters and accessories go. I prefer a leather belt though. They give us a $600.00 dollar allowance for the purchase of uniforms and accessories. Believe me it does not go very far.

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    As far as "issue", that all depends on department. Some around here issue and require you to use the issued gear. Some issue, but let you use whatever you're comfortable with as long as it meets certain criteria. Others don't issue, but will reimburse you for the gear you choose, and others require you to foot the bill for what you want.

    My department issues gear, but sadly, due to budget issues, it's not great stuff. Thankfully, they will let us use what we want.

    I prefer nylon gear, MUCH easier to keep clean. I also don't like the look of the basket weave.

    Bianchi does make the best molded nylon gear, and nearly all of my duty gear is from Bianchi.

    I like the peerless cuffs, and much prefer the location of the double lock to the S&W cuffs. Also, chained cuffs are better to start out with, like SIXTO said, hinged cuffs are difficult to use on larger people.

    ASP is my choice of batons, but Monadnock are good as well, stick with those two and you will be good.

    My other advice is: Put your gear where you think you want it, but don't be unwilling to move it around for better access, and comfort. Fractions of an inch can make a big difference.

    Good luck in the academy, and your work.


    Stay safe, Sigmanluke
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    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
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    Since you need basket weave try to get all your gear from one manufacturer that way the pattern matches. Safariland and Bianchi are two of the best makers out there. Don Hume makes good gear as well. Check out Police Gear - Police Equipment - Police Uniforms - Public Safety Equipment: Galls. They are one of the largest police and emergency equipment dealers in the country. They are good people to deal with as well. I have been getting gear from them for more than 20 years and have had no problems with in all that time. Choose gear that is top quality you won't regret the expense. The three makers of handcuffs that I would recommend are Peerless, S&W, and Hyatts. Each have their good and bad points. I purchased Peerless when I did security work, my agency issues S&W hinged cuffs, and some on the force carry their own Hyatts. There are many cops here and each of us have a bit to contribute. We have made mistakes where gear is concerned and want to help others from making the same mistakes. Not only does the gear need to look sharp, carry the gear we need for the job, it also needs to be comfortable. Duty gear that is uncomfortable won't be worn or will make your shift nearly unbearable.

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    our dept issues everything except pistol, cuffs, flashlights, and boots; belt & pouches/etc are Don Hume leather

    we have the Safariland Raptor holsters and they are nice looking and rugged
    I have 2 single cuff pouches since I have room for them (6'4" 210), not much to spare though with pistol, cuffs, baton, OC, taser, mic, spare mags, radio on the belt
    I have a pair of chain Hyatt and a pair of hinged S&W, I've found that when I have to cuff people with smaller arms the chained are smaller and work better, I also have a spare pair of S&W chained in the car and I'm about to get a set of leg irons

    we get issued ASP brand 21 or 26" batons, with your body size/shape I'd suggest the 21", the difference between the two when closed isn't huge but you'll notice it with your size and the 21" will fit you better

    as Sigman said, put your stuff where you think you'll want it, then when you use stuff a few times you'll most likely find some things you want to change, I did 4 or 5 times and like my setup now very much
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    Thanks!

    Ya'll have really helped me narrow down my selections. Thank you very much for the help. I am sure that I will have more as I go.





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    Check out the latest ASP Cuffs. Click the link.
    ASP Catalog Pages

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    Another good source for the equipment you need is Police Equipment from CopQuest.com - (800) 728-0974

    I have found their prices to be better than most, and they are fast and have good CS.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
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