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How to buy police batons

Batons are more important than most officers give them credit for. The baton is the only tool on an officer’s duty belt that provides less lethal to lethal force options, without hesitating or having to transition to another tool beforehand.

Batons should be a mandatory carry for all detectives and patrol, and, on that note, here are the most important factors to consider when purchasing a baton:

1. Size and Weight: A trainer should never standardize a certain length of baton anymore than standardizing a type of firearm to be used. Police officers are all different physically, and have different physical capabilities and wrist strengths. Therefore, each officer should be individually tested by their trainer before exiting the academy as to what they can adequately handle- no exceptions!

Target placement is everything when it comes to a firearm and the same is true with baton target placement-and this can only occur through control.

A baton that’s too long has some built in concerns (i.e. difficult to wield in close quarters or crowd control and difficult to control leverage wise if the suspect grabs it). And a baton that’s too short has some built in concerns also (i.e. having to get too close to the suspect and the inability to strike the lower extremities).

Selecting the proper weight is also extremely important. I call it “The Three Bears Theory:” not too big or heavy, not too small or light, but just right!

A baton that is moderately sized and controllable is the deciding factor.

2. Control: Control is paramount! Officers should consider length, weight, and tactical advantages built directly into the baton’s technology, but ultimately the officer’s ability to control the baton adequately is of the most importance, especially when considering multiple strikes on one suspect or multiple strikes on multiple suspects.

If it’s too heavy it will slow you down and wear you out quickly. If it’s too light it won’t have the desired muscle penetration affect.

3. Deployment: But most important is the deployment method. What does it matter if you have the best baton if you can’t access it and deploy it efficiently enough, with lightning speed -with either hand?

If you can’t access it, you can’t deploy it.
If you can’t deploy it, you can’t use it.
If you can’t use it, you’re going to have a problem.

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

Robert “Bob” Hindi, a 22 year veteran police officer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan police department, contributed to this report. Hindi is the developer of two revolutionary life-saving developments recognized around the world- The Hindi Baton (retention) Cap and the Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System. Watch for officer Hindi’s book spring 2010 with noted trainers Robert Willis and Dave Grossi. A DVD explaining the system is available now.

The Police1 Buying Guide column features how-to-buy guides for top police products and articles from our columnists as well as industry analysts, educators, and other noted specialists in their fields. Send product suggestions and feedback to