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5 investments worth every penny for female officers

From undershirts to handgun grip modifications, there are some simple ways to improve comfort and safety on patrol

Female officer police car


When Police1 asked me about some suggestions for great gear investments for female officers, I wanted to ask if I could write a mini-book instead of an article. As I started to compile my list, I thought about what would have saved me frustration, time and money early on in my police career.

I know the year is 2021 and we all understand that male and female officers perform the same equal tasks every day, but this list targets a few specific product suggestions for women in law enforcement. Here are five items that should be helpful straight out of the lot.

1. Body armor

Many female cops wear a “male cut” of body armor. Some wear it by choice, while others are not given the option.

If you are purchasing your own body armor, make sure to ask many questions when being fitted. Ask about the pros and cons. Take time to determine how you want and need the vest to fit your body. If your department does supply your body armor and you decide you want a “female fit” but they do not give you the option, educate them on the benefits of the vest you need and also on basic anatomical differences.

Females, in general, tend to have different shaped torsos than males. While the inventor of Kevlar was female (thank you, Stephanie Louis Kwolek) we did not always have body armor that would best fit most female torsos, but now we do (and have for a while). What about uniform pants? Now that is a completely different story…

2. Handgun grip modifications

Yes, it is an additional cost for your firearm, but worth it. Females, in general, tend to have a smaller grip of the hand than males, hence the reason for inclusion here.

During one of my first sessions at the police firearms range, the female recruits were told they must pay extra money to have a special grip put on their weapon. I remember thinking to myself “Well that sucks,” but after shooting a non-modified weapon and then shooting my modified weapon, I was thankful for it.

Later in the academy, two of my smaller-statured male classmates asked to have the same grip.

Police1 resource: How to equip and train female officers for shooting success

3. Boot inserts

Good shoe/boot inserts go a long way to help maintain a healthy posture and provide arch support. When you are on your feet a lot, as is the case in law enforcement, that has negative effects on your entire body, even many years into the future. Females, in general, tend to have thinner and smaller bones than males, so extra cushioning is important. For those of you who plan to have kids or already have, maintaining lower back health is critical and it starts with the feet.

Police1 resource: 4 police boot buying considerations

4. Undershirts

Chafing on the chest is a thing, especially when you have a sports bra rubbing against the skin from the pressure of the vest and/or plates for extended periods and in extreme heat. Females, in general, tend to chafe more in the chest area than males. Purchasing and wearing an undershirt made of good quality abrasion-resistant fabric will help to reduce chafing in the boob area. (Thanks Officer G.E. for making sure I added this one!)

5. Go-Bag

This is a good thing to have for anyone you might meet who needs it, but for this article, I’ll talk about it for human trafficking victims, prostitutes and runaways. Many victims from these groups feel more comfortable talking with female officers than male officers. Of course, this is not always the case, but in general, it tends to be that way. Never pass on the opportunity to make a difference here. Put together some simple drawstring bags that have a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a bottle of water, feminine pads and tampons, shampoo and conditioner, body wash and crackers. You can use these bags as you begin to build relationships in your patrol area and let some of these victims know that you are in tune with the basic items they might need.

You have read in general a lot in this article because I mean it. We all know some people are the opposite of “in general” statements, which helps to make this world awesome. There are so many more tips I could share and will save those for another time. Train on!

Angeleic Huth currently teaches law enforcement/police science at a career center in the Kansas City metro area and was recently named the 2023 National New Teacher of the Year for the Association of Career and Technical Education Trade Industrial Skills Division. She is retired from the KCMO/PD where she served as a police officer, spending her last three years as the lead Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Instructor at the police academy. With over 25 years in law enforcement and the court system, she continues to train first responders and civilian groups in various programs, writes curricula for police training, and is a safety, security and policy consultant.