Here are some examples of my favourite bonus items to add to a duty rig or duty bag.
If you’re looking for a protective case for your equipment, Nanuk cases are made in Canada and military tough. They come in a wide variety of configurations for all your needs. From storing a cell phone, protecting sensitive evidence or equipment, or carriage of firearms, Nanuk has you covered. I personally rely on my Nanuk 935 (a wheeled case made from strong, impact-resistant, lightweight NK-7 resin) to protect my training equipment on the go. They also offer discounts for law enforcement and military members.
Lock pick/lockout kit
Having the ability to lawfully and effectively enter premises or bypass a lock without damaging the hardware can come in handy. Just imagine: welfare checks without smashing windows and doors, gate padlocks open-ing without the key. Lock picks and lockout kits are also good for vehicles. Be sure to get trained and then use your new-found powers for good.
It’s an unpredictable world out there. In addition to having a first aid kit in your vehicle and station, your per-sonal first aid kit should reside on your person/duty belt/vest/ankle and ensure you have a quality tourni-quet and the training to use it. It can greatly enhance your ability to save a life, including your own. I stock the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) in my car and home first aid kits and I sometimes revert to the RATS Tourniquet when a lighter option is needed. There is a lot of banter about which one is “better,” but I’d sug-gest that anything is better than nothing. They range in price and design, so you can select one that best suits your needs, but I’d suggest having multiple kinds of tourniquets on hand and in your car.
This is a small, lightweight, go-anywhere force multiplier. It is ideal to add to your everyday keychain, but is also perfect for when you’re working lower-profile operations in less-permissive environments. It functions as a handle for a regular house key (compatible with Kwikset) but provides an ergonomic grip to both use the key as it was intended and as a striking weapon while protecting your hand and enhancing a supported grip. It comes in a variety of colours, has a lanyard/key ring hole and is injection moulded from high-strength pol-ymers.
Counter-custody escape kit
Always have an escape plan. Learn how to escape unlawful confinement or custody should your handcuffs be used against you. Depending on the particular setup, it can include various tools (saw, shim, key, pick and glass breaker, light) to aid in defeating a variety of restraints and affect escape from unlawful confinement while maintaining a low profile. Be sure to attend training and learn how to use these tools — available through www.truenorthtradecraft.ca and www.oscardelta.co.uk.
One of the most indispensable tools you can take with you every day is a sharp, strong and dependable knife. Everyone has their own opinion on knives. My advice is to find the best fit for you. Take into consideration ergonomics, quality materials, ease of maintenance and dependability. Buy the best one you can afford.
Nice-to-have features include a window punch, partially-serrated blade and thumb hole — think about cutting seatbelts quickly to save lives or as a last-ditch defensive weapon. This should all be factored in to your decision-making process.
I carry the RAT-2 by Ontario Knife Company (amzn.to/2QQKUg6) and sometimes the Ka-Bar TDI on a cross-draw. Spyderco (amzn.to/2zm8xGl), Cold Steel and Ka-Bar (amzn.to/2xvba7m) all make high-quality, folding knives. You can augment your kit with a small box cutter in your vest pocket as well.
Non-tactical-looking tactical pen
You’re used to carrying a few reliable pens... In fact you’re usually always holding one. This can come in handy — given it’s the right kind of pen — if something drastic happens too quickly and you are too short on time to grab your equipment. Enter the Zebra 701, an all-stainless-steel construction clicker pen with a clip. It is less expensive than marketed “tactical pens” yet it is as equally effective, in my opinion, as an improvised weapon without the “tactical” look. It will even do extra duty as a glass breaker for car windows in a pinch. It’s built tough and is very affordable.
Back-up restraints – the Hand Cop
Having back-up restraints, augmenting your issued handcuffs, can help you in a jam. Either disposable “zip tie” styles or reusable styles, such as the Hand Cop, can be used for not only aiding in restraint of additional suspects, but are unobtrusive, non-metallic, heat-, abrasion- and fatigue-resistant. They can be carried any-where and used to secure commercial doors in an active shooter scenario as well. The Hand Cop is available through www.oscardelta.co.uk and www.truenorthtradecraft.ca.
“The Mark” (an S-shaped polymer hook tool) doubles as a hook-hanger for duty gear, clothing, bags, etc., but also as a non-metallic, impact-striking tool. It is surprisingly strong and can hold over 20 lbs. It weighs next to nothing, lies flat and takes up almost no space. The Mark can also be used to prop doors behind you allowing back-up entry into a building. The Mark comes in several colours and is made in Canada by Delta 2 Alpha Design.
You never know when you’ll need to clean yourself up after all, and you may not have a chance to get back to the station. Too often these are the types of things we forget to pack in order to remove the dirt and grime of the streets, spilled coffee, etc. They always come in handy so keep a pack in your duty bag and one in your cargo pocket. You can pick them up at drug stores all over.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to having the best kit as a law enforcement officer, but knowing exactly what extra add-ons are available — beyond what’s in your issued kit — can lead to closing a gap you didn’t even know you had. Customize your kit and be prepared for unforeseen eventualities with some extras. Plus, don’t forget, stocking-stuffing season is right around the corner — get started on your wish list now!
Stay safe and stay crafty.
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Boris Milinkovich, CD, has served 20 years in federal public service. He has served with Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada in Marine & Aviation Security and Training & Liaison. He is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserve) and has served in Infantry, Intelligence and Military Police (current) capacities since 1998. He is currently the owner and training director at True North Tradecraft, teaching specialized courses in covert meth-ods of entry, counter-custody and more.