Blue Line

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Clothing and duty gear 2023

June 2, 2023  By Hilary Rodela and Brendan Rodela

Photo credit: 5.11, LA Police Gear, Streamlight

A review of gear for members of law enforcement

Having the right gear can make a difference in your work performance, your training and your overall day. We tried out some of the latest gear for law enforcement and are sharing our experiences.

This article is filled with a variety of items we were able to try and review. Each one was chosen specifically with purpose for both on and off duty occasions. We tried out our gear at work, on hikes and during training. Each item stood up well and endured each activity we subjected it to.

On duty gear and accessories

After a few years on duty, I (Brendan) found myself longing for the comfort and durability of my duty boots when I wasn’t in uniform. My plain old sneakers made me feel like I was barefoot and could slip at any moment. I also didn’t feel like wearing 8” tall shined boots to every social function. I found that the A/T Mid Boot from 5.11 kept the A.T.L.A.S. sole from the full size A/T boots, but fit it into a practical everyday shoe. The sole acts like all terrain tires for your feet, plus I don’t look like an out-of-work mercenary when wearing them in my day-to-day life.

Moving up from the shoes, I discovered that I like my tactical pants like I like my undergarments: with a little stretch and suitable for any occasion. LA Police Gear’s (LAPG) battle rattle stretch tactical pant met those requirements for me. Plus, it gave me my favourite thing in the world on a pair of pants: pockets and spare pockets in case you need more. A total of 12 pockets for all my every day carry items and the additional gear I need for range days, training days, a hike or just working around the house. I wore these pants during a winter hike through fresh fallen snow and never felt the chill.


When choosing a polo for my Class B work uniform, I tried out LAPG’s long sleeve operator tactical performance polo. I found the polo to be extremely comfortable under an outer vest, plus it kept a professional appearance, which made it applicable to a training uniform as well.

Having the right equipment can make your whole experience better, on and off duty.

If you’re like us, you probably want to carry every gadget and piece of gear you might need with you, and to do that, you need a place to put it all. We tried out the Rush72 2.0 backpack from 5.11 to see if it could hold everything we needed. It quickly impressed us with the amount of space it had. It could be used to hold all necessary gear on duty, and it could be a bug out bag for emergencies, hiking and camping bag. Slap on a moral patch or name badge on the hook and loop panels, slide a sidearm or backup weapon into the CCW pouch, use the MOLLE to attach first-aid kits, holsters and pouches for a complete set up. In our bag, we carry water bottles, a knife, pens, a spare flashlight, wet wipes and tactical fuel sticks (beef jerky and granola bars), in case we get peckish in the field.

Another item I had the opportunity to try out was the LAPG Terrain Stealth Messenger Bag. This bag was definitely put to the test. I stuffed it to the max with everything I could think of and anything I could ever need for work. The result? It not only held up, but it maintained its shape. Though I had a lot of items in the bag, it did not make the bag feel or look bulky. Not only that, but every item big or small was organized and remained that way in transit. I found this bag to be good for everyday use or travel.

Training days and hiking trips

For training and conditioning, it is important to have the most comfortable and durable clothing. We tried out a few new items that really held up their end.

When I need to wear sneakers, the Ranger 2.0 sneakers from 5.11 are my new favourites. Think of an athletic shoe and a duty boot combined, and that is exactly what these are. I lived in these for a while and whether it was a sunny day, a rainy or even a snowy one, this sneaker was exactly what I needed. I enjoyed that the soul of the shoe replicates a durable duty boot, and just like a good boot, it offers support and comfort simultaneously. Having support and durability in one, makes a difference in the day.

When testing out the LAPG Bail Out Bag, I discovered a compartment for just about everything, including a hidden firearm pocket. I have used it specifically for work, but I believe it would be great for use on a camping trip as well. Most of the pockets are deep and has either a Velcro or a zipper closure. The pockets can hold a radio, notebook, camera, backup gun, ammo and any other gear you may need to secure. There are even compartments for water bottles on the ends of the bag. For as much as I have used it, I’ve never lost or dropped anything, or had any item shift around.

When out hiking, I would have to say that the Thermees Insulator Jacket from 5.11 is by far the warmest jacket I have ever worn. Though it’s warm, it doesn’t have the bulk of a large, thick jacket. The outer material is similar to a wind breaker, which make it ideal for me to wear in inclement weather. I also liked the variety of pockets in the jacket, all with a zipper closure and one that was hidden on the chest. There was also a hood that covered my head perfectly.


We also had the chance to try out a couple of new lights. We were impressed with the Syclone Jr. from Streamlight—it is tiny but powerful. It resembles their large, BearTrap light but is tiny enough to sit the hood, trunk or dashboard of a vehicle. It has a magnetic bottom, with a stand that swivels so light may be directed where you need it most. I tried it outside one night in an area with absolutely no streetlights. It gave me all of the light I needed without blinding me. The light thankfully rechargeable, so you don’t need to search for new batteries, and it weighs only two ounces.

The other light we tested out was the Protac 2.0 Rail Mount Long Gun Light from Streamlight. The 2,000 lumen light was capable of illuminating just about any size room and even some small houses just from the doorway. We found that the high and low settings, as well as the strobe function, would make this a good choice for building searches, high risk stops and anywhere else light is needed on a long gun.

Closing thoughts

Having the right equipment can make your whole experience better, on and off duty. We hope our review helps to guide you to whatever you may need.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article of that of the authors, and do not necessarily represent those of Blue Line Magazine.

Hilary Rodela and Brendan Rodela are a married couple. Hilary is a public safety writer, a curriculum developer for the National Investigative Training Academy and a crime analyst. Brendan has been an active-duty law enforcement officer for eight years and is a published writer.

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