How to Buy: Duty Gear

By The Staff of Corrections 1

Duty gear has come a long way since the Sam Brownes of generations past. Manufacturers have begun investing substantial time and money into improvements that more effectively accommodate officers’ evolving safety needs and level of comfort. From medical studies that evaluate the physical impact of their products, to the development of gender-specific materials, companies are putting more emphasis on providing safe, comfortable and reliable equipment.
Though there are several factors to think about when researching for your duty gear purchases, below are five of the most common considerations:

1. Durability: Climate, storage, frequency of use, and the types of duties you perform will all have an impact on the durability of your gear. Though most manufacturers will not offer anything other than a product defect warrantee for normal wear and tear, you should expect your gear to last between 3-5 years. Kevlar or ballistic nylon provide more durability, while leather may be more comfortable and provide a professional appearance.

2. Functionality and Training: Every piece of duty gear is manufactured to function for specific purposes and it’s worth assessing each piece of gear on its capabilities. If you’ve learned skills on specific equipment provided to you in a training session, consider buying that same equipment.

3. Maintenance and Serviceability: Cleaning should take no more than non-oil base soap, water and a soft bristle brush. Constantly inspect your gear for rips, tears and any cracks in the plastic or metal. Remember to remove all equipment from your duty gear and hang it up when you’re not using it. Although everything eventually wears out — you will end up paying to replace gear at some point — repairing gear will always be an attractive option to extend the life of your purchase.

4. Appearance: Keep your agency dress code in mind and make sure you’re up-to-date on your agency’s standards before you go shopping.

5. Security: This refers not to the concept of keeping you safe (though that is always paramount) but ensuring you that your gear won’t fall off when you’re in the field. Though Velcro options might seem more convenient and cheaper, snaps not only have a longer operational life but have proven themselves to be the most secure option.

Do you have any other suggestions for officers purchasing and evaluating handguns? Please leave a comment below or email with your feedback.

PoliceOne Product Editor Kevin L. Jones contributed to this report.

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