Tools. As an amateur woodworker you should see some of the tools in my basement!! How many of them are necessary and how many are 'nice to have?' Sure, I can cut a decent dado with a saw and chisel, but the one cut with the router is more perfect and easier.
Like any other profession law enforcement requires that we keep an assortment of tools essential for the performance of our job. Some are absolutes like a handgun, body armor, handcuffs, flashlight, note pad and pencil, etc. Other tools might be considered enhanced options or accessories or nice to have: night sights, laser sights, lightweight body bunkers, or weapon mounted lights to mention a few.
I've had an opportunity to use and evaluate the Laser Max Laser Sight. As I mentioned earlier a laser sight is an option. It is not a replacement for standard sights or good shooting technique. Try cutting a dado with a router without electricity. You had better know the basics of the skill and have an acceptable level of proficiency in that skill if you want to get the job done.
Installation of the Laser Max sight was a simple drop-in process, at least that's what I had heard. I heard right. Following the instructions for my Glock 17 the slide lock dropped from the receiver and the slide lock spring was easily removed. These were replaced with the Laser Max slide lock/switch spring and slide lock/switch. The original recoil spring and spring guide were stored away (I still can't find them).
Batteries were inserted into the sight. The recoil spring was slipped over the Laser Max sight/recoil spring guide and the markings on the battery cap and flattened end of the recoil spring were aligned.
The next step is simple but important. The sight must be installed in the weapon so that the small 'keel' on the battery cap is perpendicular to the horizontal plane of the slide. If this isn't done correctly fired bullets may not impact exactly where the laser dot is placed. The weapon is reassembled and ready for action.
The slide lock/switch is ambidextrous. When centered the switch is 'off'. Turn the sight on by pushing it either to the right or left. A bright red pulsating dot is immediately visible. Put the dot where the fired bullet is to impact.
I had never fired a handgun laser sight before. The first target I fired was on an indoor fifty foot range and the results were impressive. I focused on my sight picture and trigger press and fired a ten round group. Nine of the ten rounds stayed in a group under 1 3/4 inches!! The one flyer that I jerked widened the group to just under 3 inches.
The advantage of an indoor range is that the lighting can be immediately controlled. The range lights were turned down so that the silhouette target was barely visible. The ten round group measured 3 1/4 inches and stayed inside the 'kill zone' of the head.
Over the next few months I experimented with the sight in all types of natural and artificial lighting situations and on all types and color of targets. The sight was exceptional in all but bright sunlight and on black colors.
This sight has a lot of potential in SWAT. Foremost is the intimidation factor. Although my team hasn't had to use the sight on an incident Laser Max gave me a number of real-life accounts where suspects complied with commands immediately when they focused their attention on the red pulsating dot on their body. I don't think anybody would question the sighting ability that would be gained by the bunker man. Any shot placement would be accurate and the gun hand would be in a position that would prevent the weapon being grabbed by a suspect. Limited penetration with this sight would provide unquestionable room control.
There aren't many disadvantages to the use of this sight. The sight can't be used on the Glock 17T, the training gun that fires the Simunition 9mm round. Scenarios using the Simunition FX marking round would provide some important training with the Laser Max sight. The method of carry for the gun is a concern when the Laser Max sight is installed. Most holsters will turn the sight off if it is accidentally holstered with the switch on. I carry my weapon in a Bianchi Top Secret fanny pack. The stuff in the pack and my movement have inadvertently turned the sight on while it's secured in the pack. The result is a dead battery pack. I put a piece of cardboard behind the stuff I carry and that helped correct the problem.
I like the Laser Max over other laser sights. Because the Laser Max is contained inside the weapon there is nothing to bang around or break off. Special holsters aren't required to house the appendage of some sights that mount on the trigger guard or receiver of the weapon. My hands are large. When I index my trigger finger next to the slide of a weapon with a grip mounted laser sight I usually cover the sight. Batteries last quite awhile and cost under ten dollars. I'd suggest that you purchase several battery packs when you first buy the sight. You'll go through batteries showing your compatriots, experimenting, and training with the sight.
I strongly recommend the purchase of this sight to any SWAT cop and any peace officer that intends to stay in this profession for any length of time. The Laser Max sight can be purchased through Mr. Tom Reiter of LifeLink Technologies, Woodbury, MN, 612-735-9516.
Once in a great while I run into a tool that turns out to be indispensable. Indispensable describes the Gerber Multi-Plier.
I was first introduced to the tool while attending an Advanced SWAT course at Camp Ripley. The TV antennae in my room was flopping loose and constantly in my way. I asked one of my classmates if he had a Leatherman or phillips screwdriver I could use. He loaned me his Gerber Multi-Plier.
I was immediately impressed. There was no need to use two hands to bend joints or twist handles in different directions to prepare the tool for use. A simple flick of the wrist puts the tool into action.
The word rugged is defined by this tool. My son, Matt, is in the Army Mechanized Infantry. When he graduated from Basic Training a year ago I bought a Gerber Multi-Plier for his graduation. (I tried to have it engraved with his name but the metal was too hard and the engraver could barely scratch the surface of the metal.) Matt uses the tool every day. His Gerber Multi-Plier has been run over by a Bradley fighting vehicle, inadvertently closed in the personnel ramp of the vehicle and used to repair hundreds of minor problems on the vehicle. The only problems he has had are chipping the tip of the sheepsfoot blade and a broken small screwdriver while turning a screw on the Bradley's 25mm cannon.
The components of the tool make it extremely versatile. There is no "fluff" on this tool: tweezers, scissors, corkscrew, etc. Should any part break it is easily replaced with a 1/16th allen wrench.
The pliers nests in the handles of the tool keeping them together. A quick snap of the wrist and the pliers slides to the end of the handles and is locked in place by two spring loaded buttons. Gerber markets two styles of Multi-Plier. One is a robust needle nose and the other is a heavy duty thick- jawed model.
I prefer the needle nose because it's strong enough to turn small nuts yet fine enough to work with small wire and small objects. The wire cutter is fine enough to cut 22 gauge copper wire and rugged enough to sever 9 gauge galvanized wire. The handles are offset a couple of degrees to prevent pinching parts of your hand should the pliers slip. Has anyone ever gotten a blood blister using a Leatherman tool?
The file doesn't show any wear after touching-up the edge on my ax several times and removing burrs from cut pipe and conduit.
While not designed for precision work the flat head and phillips head screwdrivers get the job done.
Keeping an edge on the drop point and sheepsfoot knife blades is no problem. The serrated sheepsfoot blade literally glides through nylon webbing and seatbelt material.
Anyone that was in the military is familiar with the utility of the P-38 can opener. The Gerber can opener is comparable. The bottle opener is handy for opening a real man's brew like Guinness Extra Stout.
Hanging the tool on a cord from the lanyard ring will prevent its loss when working on an outboard in the middle of a lake or prevent it from "walking" too far away if it's borrowed by a comrade.
There are even measuring scales in inches and centimeters.
The tool comes in two finishes, stainless steel and black. Weighing only eight ounces the tool is light and takes little room on a belt. A loaded magazine for my Glock 17 weighs 3 ounces more than the Gerber Multi-Plier. A black cordura Velcro belt pouch is supplied with the Gerber Multi-Plier.
The only improvement I'd like to see is on the carrying case. The belt loop should be altered so the case will ride either horizontally or vertically on the belt. This configuration will make it easy to attach the tool to a web belt or tac vest with an ALICE clip. Optional colors of camouflage or olive drab would be useful.
Depending on the retailer and model the tool may cost from $30.00 - $50.00. Whether it's cutting heavy gauge wire, splicing telephone cable to a negotiations phone or minor equipment repairs it's worth the investment.