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Police1 readers share gear investments worth every penny for SWAT officers

Discover the gear readers swear by — from gadgets to indispensable personal items

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By Police1 Staff

In the ever-evolving field of law enforcement, SWAT officers are at the forefront, facing unique challenges that demand exceptional gear. Building on the foundational advice from Warren Wilson’s insightful article on essential investments for SWAT personnel, we’re taking a step further.

This spin-off piece, enriched with real-world suggestions from Police1 readers, explores additional gear that complements the SWAT toolkit. From gadgets to simple yet crucial items, uncover what Police1 readers recommend to enhance readiness, safety and efficiency in operations.

What would you add to the list? Email editor@police1.com.

  • Training magazines. This is one of the items that sets professionals apart. Magazines are much less expensive today than they were in recent years, $20-50 a year and before long you will have a complete set of training mags for the range. While everyone else is frantically stripping duty ammo out of their magazines, you can pull out your dedicated training mags and give them some grief for acting like a bunch of recruits.
  • Warm waterproof socks and Under Armour cold gear.
  • Painter’s tape in bright colors to mark doors or other paths you want to be marked visibly. It is cheaper and better than tossing a lot of lightsticks everywhere and also can be used to tape a door jamb to prevent a door from locking behind you. Someone already mentioned electrical tape, which can also be used but isn’t as versatile due to colors and reapplying it will be harder due to the different adhesives used.
  • Chem lights to mark places cleared, markers to mark places cleared, warm weather socks, extra batteries for lights, NVGs, comms. etc., PVC pipe for diameters of breaching tools, and breaching shotguns for quick stowing and deployment.
  • A roll of electrical tape kept on your kit or in a BDU pocket works wonders when straps break, or you need to secure something. I have used it for everything from taping up a finger that I cut to securing a light on a shield that broke loose.
  • Paracord and/or small bungee cords for breachers can be used to tie off a screen/storm door.
  • A couple of large sandwich bags that are 1/4 full of cat litter and a small pack of baby wipes. You roll up the zipper to help keep open the bag to catch the contents of your field-expedient fecal deployment.
  • Extra pair(s) of prescription glasses, tactical running shoes and/or extra pair of boots, Mechanix gloves, knee and elbow pads, extra gas mask filters, Polaroid camera, sports mouthpiece, protein/granola bars, contractor trash bags, battery chargers, batteries, power banks, Ziploc bags and a tool kit.
  • No fog from the scuba shop. Phone charger as a plan B com device.
  • Advil, TUMS, cough drops and toilet paper.
  • Not expensive and not fancy: A Ziploc bag with a sponge or the guts of a baby diaper. If you need to urinate, you have a place to go. Money well spent.
  • Gloves that are warm and waterproof for winter and wet ops, rugged and flexible for other times. I have seen officers pull off their extra socks and put on their hands when crawling through hot sand. Knee and elbow pads for pretty much the same reason. I have worn the skin off my knees in only about four hours before. Sealed bottles of sports drinks keep a long time in packs without turning green like canteen/hydration bag water. Rotate every training or call out. And 24 hrs of food and meds, 72 if you’re a sniper.
  • Small zip ties, rubber bands and landscape fabric or burlap for hasty sniper hides and hand warmers for winter when the barricaded gunman takes longer than expected!
  • Gortex pants! My agency supplied a Goretex jacket but I learned during a call out in a blizzard the need for the pants. A Dom Vio turned into an armed barricade that lasted about 7 hours. I was on the back perimeter, and the guy kept pacing by the rear slider, so my position was vital. I had great cover with a tree that had a “V” for a nice brace, but I had to kneel. I was toasty with my thermals – too toasty, my body heat melted the snow and I was soaked from the waist down – 1 hour of warmth and 6 of being cold and wet. Got Gortex pants the next day!
  • Personal fitness. More officers die from sudden cardiac arrest than anything else. Not only that but you have to be fit to fight.
  • Flight helmet bag. I’ve had one for over 25 years. I can keep my ballistic helmet, rhino mounts for NVGs, extra shooting glasses, gloves and rappelling gear all in one easy-to-carry bag. Not to mention extra batteries and a power pack for recharging my cell phone.
  • A shemagh.

NEXT: IACP exhibit hall showcases essential tools for patrol

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