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Essential Father’s Day gifts for 2024: Promoting officer wellness and family time

This Father’s Day, treat your dad to gifts that promote wellbeing and an active lifestyle

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Father’s Day is almost here. It is my hope that this gives our readers an opportunity to step back a little, breathe and enjoy the dad in their lives. My Father’s Day picks this year focus on officer wellness. For Father’s Day, it is my desire that dads invest in family time and healthy activities.

Here are my Father’s Day gift recommendations.

Garmin tactix 7 – AMOLED Edition

The tatix 7-AMOLED watch by Garmin is a smartwatch with a bright AMOLED display, full-color mapping multi-band GPS, a 31-day battery, stealth mode and pre-loaded Applied Ballistics software. It boast cool features like a variable-intensity flashlight and one of the most readable displays in the industry.

Every study on police science posits that the very nature of the business is not conducive to good mental health. Long-term exposure to stress and interrupted sleep are considered part of the job. Elevated hypervigilance produces high cortisol levels in the body, commonly known as the stress hormone. Research has found that 10%-17% of law enforcement officers exhibit PTSD symptoms. The tatix 7 may help by tracking several functions in real time.

Having tested several smartwatches over the past few years, I have gained considerable experience with them. First, you should know that I have damaged every watch I have owned except Garmin watches. No joke: I just gave an old Garmin Instinct to my daughter, and it still looks brand new, despite the number of mountain bike crashes it has endured. The Tactix 7 has the most rugged design of them all. This watch is also the most feature-rich on the market today.

Another reason to stick with Garmin is platform stability. My power cord and Garmin app work seamlessly with both my older and newer Garmin devices. In contrast, I have another “brand” watch that no longer connects to anything, and the manufacturer has stopped supporting that model. Garmin provides the best customer support, period.

The Tactix 7 can handle both your duty and off-duty abuse. It can go 31 days between charges. Even when I used the GPS for navigation all day and left the 1.4” display on the brightest setting, it lasted several days. It meets MIL-STD-810 standards for thermal, shock and water resistance.

The Tactix 7 boasts unprecedented navigation features, including preloaded maps that allow you to see your position on a color contour map, multi-band GPS, and a built-in compass. It is UTM and GMRS capable and can display a dual-position format. It can project a waypoint, and a satellite image can be integrated into the screen.

For those whose photos are edited with black rectangles over their eyes, it can calculate high-altitude release points and assist in navigating to the objective. It also has a kill switch, which completely erases all data, and an NVG mode. The Tactix 7 includes advanced features like applied ballistics, enabling precision shooters to make targeting calculations based on ambient conditions.

Among all these features, I found the most important is the watch’s ability to turn the information it gathers into actionable metrics. For example, it has a pulse oximeter and an ECG, both of which are simple to access and use. It can maintain comprehensive fitness training records, and I even used it for yoga and weight training. I also began using it to record stress and sleep habits, using the available information to make positive changes for my well-being.

The watch comes with both silicone and nylon bands. I wisely purchased a TPU protective case and a compatible screen protector from Amazon.

The AD20.5 by Demko Knives

As you know, I love torture testing knives. The AD20.5 by Demko Knives is one of the sturdiest and most ergonomic knives I have tested for EDC. This is a folding knife with textured G10 scales and steel liners. It uses both a thumb stud and an oval cut out for opening. Two things stand out right away when one handles this knife. First, it has a ball-bearing pivot, whose smoothness is the equivalent of the door hinges on a fine luxury car. Second, the pivot point of the blade, critical in smooth one-handed deployment, is precisely placed. That is, it is safely in the pocket until the user starts the blade with a subtle flick. Working the mechanism is addicting.

The most striking feature of the AD20.5 is the Shark-Lock, which is a locking mechanism on the spine that is also a natural thumb rest. It makes the knife look like a shark, with fine jimping for grip. The Shark-Lock secures the blade like a deadbolt when opened. If there are Andy Demko fans out there (you know who you are), tell me if you know where the Shark-Lock patent numbers reside on your knife. IYKYK.

I’m normally a drop point knife guy, simply because the cutting surface is longer than the spine. The Shark Foot blade is NOT a drop point, and it has an almost flat cutting surface with a bowed spine, placing a lot of reinforced S35VN behind the business part. Although it is perfect for fine work like fishing chores, it is really a pocket cleaver.

I picked the model with G10 scales, which give me the best durability and weight advantage in a pocket knife. It comes in other configurations, including Gray Grivory and carbon fiber. The texturing on the scales and the contouring will give the user a grip, even on their very worst day on patrol. The AD20.5 comes standard with a right-handed pocket clip, and also includes a left-handed one. The cutting edge on the Shark Foot model is 2.875”. On the clip-style blade, it is 3”.

MSRP is $250. Amazon lists it for less.

Hoist Hydration

Hoist IV Level hydration offers a special blend of carbs, electrolytes and fluids designed to match your body’s natural balance. It has all of the electrolytes for athletic performance, with half the sugar, and none of the garbage you can find in other sports drinks. I have tried all the flavors. My favorite is Peach Mango, but I like them all. Hoist absorbs readily into the system. It’s not too sweet, nor does it cause stomach distress. For me, it is the stuff for long runs. Hoist comes in liquid pouches, mixable powder and pre-mixed drink bottles. Amazon sells them in all three forms.

Hoist is an incredible pick-me-up and a better alternative to energy drinks. In addition, Hoist has partnered with Team Red, White and Blue, which exists to assist veterans through their wellness journey.

Kahr P9

If you’re looking to get Dad a gun for Father’s Day, my choice is a Kahr P9. This is a 15 oz, 7+1, polymer-framed, 9mm, with a premium barrel with polygonal rifling. I carry a Kahr CW-9 regularly, which is a similar configuration without the premium barrel. It is the only concealed carry gun I shoot for fun.

The P9 is an EDC gun with a Trigger Cocking DAO system, which gives it a consistent trigger pull, and easy maintenance. As an armorer and a firearms instructor, I like simple. The P9 is more user-serviceable than all of the popular guns.

Although Kahr makes much smaller guns, the P9 sits right in the sweet spot between a pocket-sized gun and an easy-to-shoot gun. It is a single-stack, so it is flat. It allows a person with big hands a full grip, yet fits small hands very well. I shoot hundreds of rounds through my Kahr and sometimes practice shooting from 25-50 yards. To keep the package lightweight, I carry 100 grain Black Hills Ammunition Honey Badger 9mm, which does remarkably well in ballistic tests.

Danner Striker Bolt 4.5” GTX

The Danner Striker Bolt series features the TFX (Terra Force Next) platform, which incorporates Vibram SPE midsole technology, an internal and external shank platform, and lightweight construction for all-day wear. I prefer this series because Danner uses hiking boot technology rather than work boot technology for this design. It is specifically engineered for mobility and fatigue resistance. The Striker Boot has a full-grain upper leather and a Gore-Tex liner.

Full Forge Gear Feather Weight Level 4 Armor Plate

Full Forge Gear has a 5.7 lb. 9.85" x 11.8", NIJ Level plate made of composite and ceramic. This is a lightweight plate that offers protection against high-velocity threats.

Casting Forward by Steve Ramirez

I was watching “Mending the Line,” a movie that puts PTSD recovery in the spotlight. In one scene, Lucy, played by Perry Mattfeld, reads from a book about fly fishing to Colter, a recovering veteran played by Sinqua Walls. I assumed the book was Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River,” but it wasn’t. It was “Casting Forward” by Steve Ramirez. Both the movie and the book focus on fly fishing and healing. After watching the movie, I felt an irresistible urge to read the book.

Why do I recommend “Casting Forward”? As a mediocre fly fisherman, I recognize that there is something spiritually revitalizing about fly fishing that I cannot fully explain. Steve Ramirez is vocal about being a naturalist and educator, passionate about protecting our natural environment. What is less evident is his time in law enforcement and military service. This book is a recommended read for everyone, even if they do not pick up a fly rod.

Shield616

As you know, I’m always looking for worthy causes that are worth our attention. Shield616 is one of them. Based out of Colorado Springs, Shield616 has protected 7,783 first responders in 34 states at this time.

Shield 616 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide rifle protection to first responders. The mechanics are very simple. They accept donations and purchase armor with these donations. They deliver the armor to first responders. When I contacted them, founder Jake Skifstad was headed for Sandy, Utah to deliver armor to another agency.

Shield616 is a 501c3 tax-exempt charity, and an opportunity to give back for Father’s Day.

Dad’s day

Fathers know that the work-family balance is challenging in 2024, but you should know that the statistics don’t lie. One of the most common factors in poverty and criminal participation is the lack of a father figure. Having a mom and dad present increases the success of all family members, in many ways. The dad’s role is crucial. Let’s make this year’s Dad’s day, the best day ever.

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.