by Bruce W. Jackson, PCI #239
So here’s the deal. I’m coming up on the 22nd anniversary of my 21st birthday. For those of you who still record age the old-fashioned way, I’m chronologically getting ready to turn 43. With the progression of age, I have started to suffer from HDD (Horizontal Displacement Disease). This is a condition where you stop growing up and start growing out. Hell, in my case I think I may be shrinking. So why am I saying all this? Bear with me for a moment.
I have been teaching for quite a few years now, and I have always been an advocate for getting the things on your duty belt off of your back. I have endo’d one too many times on my handcuff case, and it isn’t a pleasant feeling. The problem is that pushing everything forward, coupled with the HDD mentioned earlier, can result in various pieces of duty gear being pushed into the top of the leg or the groin on each pedal stroke. The biggest culprit for me has been the magazine pouch. Dominant side or non-dominant side, it simply has to be in the front, accessible to both hands. I think we can all agree to that. I have tried placing it vertically and horizontally, and it doesn’t matter. Every pedal stroke and it gets a little dig in. I figured I would just have to SIUPO (Suck It Up and Press On), but then along comes Safariland with their new Slimline model of magazine pouches.
This is one of those ideas that you wished you had thought of so you could be rich. All it involved was taking the magazines and turning them so the bullets face out, which narrows the width of the magazine pouch. How much narrower, you may ask? Safariland says it will allow for three magazines to be carried in the same space as a traditional two-magazine pouch and two in a space much less than what you may be used to.
Now I thought this was slick as snot, so I had to get my hands on one. It just so happened that while attending a class, I ran into Patrick Popek with Safariland. Patrick is one of those guys who will listen to what you have to say and try and figure out the best answer. Recently I e-mailed him and it wasn’t twenty minutes later that he was calling me with an answer to my question.
I asked Pat to give me a little more info on the Slimline series as well as if I could procure one for a little product evaluation. He sent me two of the model 78, one in leather and one in the STX finish. The model 78 and the model 79 are nearly identical, except that the model 78 uses retaining straps and the 79 is an “open top” design.
It’s been six months, two qualifications, three bike schools, the conference and a whole lot of miles since this went on my belt and I can say that this mag pouch is and does exactly what Safariland says it will do. The pouch is only a little wider than a traditional duty belt when worn in the horizontal configuration, it safely retains the magazines and it doesn’t dig into the leg on each pedal stroke. It uses the SafariLaminate construction and can be had in just about every traditional style, plain black, basketweave, STX, high gloss, silver snap, black snap or brass snap.
So what is the bad, you may ask? Well, it does require some range time. I carried my magazines bullets-down for many, many years, and switching to a bullets-out configuration does take a little getting used to. It’s not slower; it is just different, and once you get used to the new placement it is just as fast. The retaining straps are also narrower, but they are stiff enough that you can just hook them with your hand and the pouch will pop open.
So would I recommend them? Four words: Ab – so – freakin’ – lutely. A lot of the time people come up with answers or solutions to non-existent problems, but not in this case. This has been a problem for me for a number of years and thankfully that problem has finally been solved.
Safariland is an IPMBA Corporate Member, and we appreciate their support.
Until next time, stay safe, ride often and keep the rubber side down.
Bruce Jackson has been a police officer for 21 years and co-founded his department’s bike patrol in 1991. He was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 1994 and became an IPMBA instructor in 1997. He is currently assigned to his department’s training division.
© 2011 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of IPMBA News.