Fieldcraft Police Marksman - Body Armor?

OneLunG

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I'm curious to see from my fellow Police Snipers out there, how many of you wear body armor while on operations?

I've toyed with the idea - But not sure if I want to or not.

If you do, please tell me what your using!

Thanks!
 

hpic55

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Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

If anything just soft body armor under my BDU's with tac vest.
 

Graham

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Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

In many departments, policy requires that you do.

For a DM role I could make the argument that it is not necessary, and could even be counterproductive, but I would want to first make sure that the command staff was willing to listen.
 

KeithR41

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    It's policy, all 3 of us on my team wear armor. Also, why would you not wear it? It's not like wearing an entry vest.

    We wear our patrol Xtreme duty armor.

    Wear it. You'll wish you had if you need it. If you're not wearing it when you need it you won't wish for anything, you'll probably be dead.

    KeithR41
     

    sinister

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Mission and situation should dictate.

    Why add a physiological stressor for policy compliance? The shooter and team should have some say in what they employ and deploy.

    Temperatures and humidity in the American south and southwest may affect a department or team's policy.

    RISK = PROBABILITY X CONSEQUENCE.
     

    Lt. Arclight

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Not all departments have the resources/or desire to provide rifle defeating body armor.

    It has been my experience, in an urban department with 2 officer killed line of duty, within the last 10 years-there are MANY officers that do not wear ANY body armor.

    Stupid, IMHO. Department policy does not require it.
     

    Graham

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sinister</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Mission and situation should dictate.

    Why add a physiological stressor for policy compliance? The shooter and team should have some say in what they employ and deploy.</div></div>Agreed. As a commander, if you trust your people to manage risk to others, then why not trust them to properly manage personal risk as well?!
     

    Insayn

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    I agree with sinister, though anytime we are at work we "should" wear it. Some of us have started wearing a modified heavy vest while depolying and dependent on where we deploy to, we would remove it and lay it in front of us for cover in our hide. Depending on the season soft armor may add a layer of warmth, but it may also be the cause of heat exhaustion.
     

    rkgsmith

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    We always wear soft body armor. Never know when the house your in belongs to a relative of the dirty your after, if you get my drift.
     

    flatbilly

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    I always wear at minimum my soft patrol vest. If I have the time, I'll bring my plate carrier and lay it out in front of myself as a barricade.
     

    maxx

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    My dept. does not require but they do furnish it for us. I wear my soft vest for general duty and keep my heavy armor ready. I have it set up so I just pull it over and I'm ready. Here in Missouri it gets down right hot and humid.

    Maxx
     

    spswatip

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    We are required to wear our heavy vests at all times, but plates have been optional so far. But we are getting new vests and plates soon, and now <span style="text-decoration: underline">both</span> will be required at all times. In my opinion as long as every time you train you train while wearing your armor you will become accustomed to it and can tailor even heavy bulky armor to help (positions etc.) in certain ways.
     

    sinister

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> In my opinion as long as every time you train you train while wearing your armor you will become accustomed to it and can tailor even heavy bulky armor to help (positions etc.) in certain ways.</div></div>

    I hope that works for you -- please let us know.

    My experience as a student and trainer is to do sustainment training in crawl-walk-run stages. If you and your teams are always at run readiness then hats off to you.

    Most of my units were required to stay proficient in a lot of other things (even while on worldwide alert cycle), and of course had the routine "I gottas" that you owe chain of command and family.
     

    spswatip

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    I don't have the choice, so it has to work for me. We wear our vests anytime we deploy, because it's required. Perimeter on a warrant, marijuana grow in the mountains, supplementing entry on a clear, taking up positions in a hostage situation, and shooting in competitions; its all the same, we always have to wear our vests. We aren't super high speed military snipers, we are a swat team who trains 30-60 hours a month. But for 30-60 hours a month while we are training we are wearing...you guessed it...our vests.

    I'm not a military sniper, have never been in the military, and don't try to give advice on much at all, because I am here to learn. But when it comes to police marksmen I figured I would throw out our team's policy. Vests are viewed as a negative by some, but there are positives that can come from wearing them besides the fact they might save your life. I am no gazelle or body builder, but most of what others are talking about are soft vests, and if soft vests are too much of a physiological stressor to handle as a police marksman during a deployment, in my humble opinion that is an issue.

    From day one when you make our team you wear the vest on everything. My point was that you just get used to it and try to use it to your advantage and try not to think of it as a disadvantage. Would I rather wear just BDU's when it comes to ease and comfort when shooting prone or trying to squeeze into a sitting position? Sure. But I don't ever question my team leaders for making us wear our vests. They are looking out for my safety, the departments liability, and trying to be proactive. I don't know how it is for other departments but if one of our perimeter teams were to deploy without vests and get shot what do you think the outcome would be? Besides every other negative of teammates getting shot everyone would be wearing vests from then on during any op. So why not be proactive and start it out that way.

    The whole point of my post was that a lot of teams out there including us are required to wear them, so if someone just starting out or considering wearing one on ops would just try always training with it on they will most likely get to the point where they don't think about it and can adapt to use it to help in other ways besides bodily protection.
     

    sinister

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    While I have worked and trained with many federal law enforcement agencies I have never been a civilian law enforcement officer so I cannot speak of municipal force policies.

    I served in many climes from Asia, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia, and I can tell you threat, climate, and humidity along with movement, equipment, mission, and duration should determine your protection and load/sustainment planning considerations. Not adjusting uniform and equipment for any mission set is deployment by rote.

    An inflexible policy may work for a unit that does not actually shoot lots of people daily and can get routine resupply by just getting on the handheld to ask for another lunch, bottle of Gatorade, and handheld battery, or if you're not concerned with the bad guys seeing you directly or on television.

    A dictated uniform or policy is one thing, but METT-T (Mission, Equipment, Time, Troops, and Threat) should take priority.

    Your mileage and policy may vary.
     

    spswatip

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Yep. As civilian law enforcement we don't shoot lots of people. In the military climate I completely understand the ability of tailoring equipment to the mission, and it makes perfect sense. We try to do that as much as possible as well.

    My answer was based on the question asked, which was if police snipers wear body armor. For us we have our vests, guns, and equipment packed into our patrol car trunks with everything else we have, and drive around on patrol until we are presented with the mission. That comes in the form of a page giving a vague situation, like hostage barricade, etc. and we respond. When we arrive you throw on your vest and grab your gun/pack and run up to the CP to get briefed. Most of the time we won't know what it will be until it happens. Also, depending on when you arrive and how many we have on scene, you could be thrown into a rescue team or placed into another role if something happens fast, and the vests are definitely needed in those scenarios. We try to tailor what we have to what we think we might need or what will be most probable situation, and most of the time it is up close and they know we are there already, so the vest is an asset. If I remember right the average police sniper engagement is under 60 yards. But we do try to train for all kinds of scenarios, including stalks (or as much of a stalk as we can manage) and guys on our team who have military experience with stalking find out what it's like stalking with a heavy vest on...it sucks. But stalking makes up a very very small part of what we do. That is just the difference between LE and military.

    And we do have, to some degree, the ability to radio for resources if needed, but obviously we try never to get to that point. There are some pieces of equipment that are dictated, vests being one of them, the rest of what you pack is up to you. Like I said, I'm not a military guy. My opinion is that if departments or team leaders dictate vests for their civilian LE snipers it is not unreasonable, thats all.
     

    Zebra644

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    All of our entry guys obviously wear Level 4 with ceramic plates. When it comes to the D.M. its optional. Depending on the circumstance we will wear our soft body armor under our BDU's or none at all but all of us were issued the Level 4 so its ready at hand.
     

    leprechaun

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    Soft body armor is the way to go.Don't leave home without it.
     

    Blueprinted

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    We just made it policy. I argued with guys before the policy about wearing it. I do not even go to court in uniform with out it. It is issued gear and you get wacked the agency and workers comp is gonna wash there hands of the financail responsiblity. As far as wearing it it really depends. We just got the ultra light plates. I use a Blackhawk plate carrier. Sat my job was to conduct surveilence on a house while the team was getting together and the warrant was being signed. I watched from 05 to 0800hrs. The heads were sleeping. It was in the city. I was parked in covert vehicle a block away. No armor, regular duty vest. Truck came plates went on. Assisted with the entry. Secondary sweep called house cleared dropped my plates but left soft body armor on. I alway got it. If my FFP FOP is in a prone position plates get pulled of or if I am in a structure and or have hard cover. Other wise plates over my vest I wear everyday on patrol.
     

    jb326

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    We do not. Though we as the M/O (Marksman/ Observer) Team are part of the tac team, we operate and train independently. We are not dual purpose sniper/entry and we do not wear armor (but we are issued it just in case). Our duties usually consist of being on the ground 3-4 hours before entry gets there so that we can provide intel, verify information,etc., so concealment is always our top priority.
     

    Phylodog

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    It is not required for our guys and is up to them when deployed behind a bolt gun.
     

    fullscope

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Our policy is also dictated by situation. Working the road we have to wear our soft panels. Making entry we have to wear our hard panels. Working the long rifle it depends. I have taken a soft panel with me in my pack, have worn my soft panels and then have also not taken any. Our team leader looks at what our op is and then makes a decision. You can always decide to bring more than he says just not less.
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    He vast majority of Police Sniper engagements are under 100 yards. This is well within the lethal range of a small caliber hand gun.

    Why would you NOT wear your soft armor? I understand not wearing a full entry rig. We usually do no have to worry about frag from RPG or indirect fire, but a direct fire threat is a possibility. If you can shoot him, he can shoot you. Walls ain't cover.
     

    KATOOM37

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: LoneWolfUSMC</div><div class="ubbcode-body">He vast majority of Police Sniper engagements are under 100 yards. This is well within the lethal range of a small caliber hand gun.

    </div></div>

    The average is actually 57 yards
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: KATOOM37</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    The average is actually 57 yards </div></div>

    And where, might I inquire, did you come up with this number? I ask because while close, it is not the statistically correct answer.

    I always find it interesting to discover where misinformation comes from. This is especially troublesome when the poster of the incorrect info simple posts a number and no source for cross-checking.
     

    spswatip

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: scout_T-28</div><div class="ubbcode-body">56 yards is the statistics from the ASA. They have a stat book called the Police Sniper Utilization Report which I bought that uses recorded sniper info from all over the country. Good manual to have.
    </div></div>

    +1

    Our team bought a few last year and we each got a chance to look them over. That is where I referenced under 60 yards for average engagement (couldn't remember exact distance.) Lots and lots of stats, stats broken down by regions, distances, etc. Plus some individual stories/engagements/examples. It's been a while since I looked at it, I need to see if I can get it back to review it again.
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: scout_T-28</div><div class="ubbcode-body">56 yards is the statistics from the ASA. They have a stat book called the Police Sniper Utilization Report which I bought that uses recorded sniper info from all over the country. Good manual to have.</div></div>

    I actually have the 2009 Police Sniper Utilization Report sitting right here on my desk.

    From 297 sniper engagements over 27 years the average is 55.8 yards. This is a small increase over the previous average from 2007 of 54 yards.

    Neither of which is the 57 yards quoted above although it's much better than the much quoted phantom "FBI Statistic" of 70 yards.

    Any LE Sniper who is not a member of the ASA needs to be beaten with a stick.
     

    Ken Darnell

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Here is something to get you thinking. Mr. Murphy strikes again, warrant hit and have a runner out the back of the house. For what ever reason the inner perimeter can't get him. The only person that can is the sniper, deployed by himself. Lucky the BG wanted no part of the bush rushing towards him pointing a 308 at his brain housing group. Good thing because the sniper had decided it was too hot for a vest that day. That will never happen again!

    Ken
     

    TOP PREDATOR

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    besides, usually being in the prone position facing the hostile, the only good the body armor is going to do is stop a shot to the shoulder.

    the noggin is exposed for the most part, that is if they can see the noggin i the first place.
     

    Andrew Blubaugh

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Been reading through this and can not fathom why body armor is such an option for any LE sniper.

    I agree there is always a possibility you may need to dump armor but we are talking about a small percentage of situations where armor needs to be tossed aside.

    LE and Mil work in a 360 degree enviroment. We have worked situations where the suspect(s) had friends or family living near by as we hit a house. In one instance we had a barricaded subject that was being fed intel via cell phone from his friend who was out side of the perimeter. Luckily we came out on top but what if________________.

    Don't think it ever happens? Bucky Philips ambushed NY Troopers Baker and Longobardo killing both of them as they conducted surveillance on a location. I don't think body armor was an issue but the 360 awarness hits home.

    The "average distance" doesnt mean anything. The two numbers that mean something to me are the shortest and longest shots.

    Bottom line is wear body armor and train with it. It is cheap insurance.
     

    fullscope

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    For the reason of none other than I like to debate and engage in discourse I will continue this thread with some of my own inane ramblings.

    LoneWolf got us into a side discussion about distance, CowboyBravo, which I decided to continue. That is how average came up. Really no bearing when you figure getting shot from any distance sucks.

    I tend to think the op does make the load out. I am not at all saying that anyone here who says wear body armor for every deployment is wrong. I am saying it just isn't what I do.

    LW says you see them and they see you and walls are not cover.

    I hope they don't see me LW. If they did I think I failed way before this. We have an ongoing challenge with the entry guys if you spot me, dinner is on me. I haven't bought dinner yet. The only time this has not been is when we have been bullet magnets for VIP details where we are standing in plain site looking for potential threats hoping we will draw fire. Soft panels would not do me much good for the rifle fire I am looking at.
    I do worry more about getting hit by bullets penetrating through the walls and inadvertently finding me from the team shooting the bad guy. They are shooting 223 which may or may not stop at my soft panel due to deflection and velocity at that point. Different from your thoughts, I understand that.

    Ken says BG runs at me... what ya going to do.

    I don't have cuffs on my belt or in my vest. I do have a pair of zip cuffs in my bag. I do not practice take downs from my sniper gear. We have always operated under the BG keeps running and you direct the massive amount of patrol people and support units. We don't jump up and start chasing. We don't even leave our hides until everyone else is secure and bad guy is gone. We also do not deploy alone

    CowboyBravo says 360 awareness.

    Correct. A valuable thing no matter where you are. I looked up your example of Bucky Phillips and it looks like he shot them with a high powered rifle at distance. I may have bad intel, the internet being what it is.

    Sitting in my hide and BG creeping up on me or me actually stalking to my hide and BG jumping out on me are probably two good concerns for wearing my body armor at all times. I do know those and acknowledge them. I just still don't do it all the time.

    The best answer I can give is comfort once I am set up. They hold in heat, which I make alot of, with all the other gear and they tend to make unusual positions that much more unusual because they don't flex well enough like your body. Laying flat they are not a problem but then they are also not really protecting me unless someone is able to get above me and shoot me in the back.

    I am not trying to fight to change anyones mind to not wear their armor. If you are able and choose to wear it. The beginning post was asking what people are doing and this is what we do.

    I know that none of the "you are crazy" for not wearing body armor arguments were directed at me specifically but I thought I would chime back anyway. Thanks for the discussion.
     

    Tactical

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Sinister said Mission Dictates. I believe he is correct. Now while he said he has worked with Feds and not locals his brother is ( he retire yet?) a SWAT Cop/Sniper in a major bad place in USA.

    In most cases I would recommend body armor but in some cases, hidden under a bush 300 yards out, in desert I can see a reason to not be a heat casualty.

    I would leave up to officer. One of the best Officers/Team Leaders, I ever had work for me, had messed up his back real good and body armor pressing against it caused extreme pain. He quit wearing body armor after wearing for twenty years. He then did another ten years of fine work before retiring. His choice, not what I did as I wore my soft armor at all times but it worked for him.
     

    jwaj

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Scout, very good summary. Given the variety of call outs (Urban vs Rural and type of incident) the best decision is to be flexible. Train with any equipment you may have to deploy with (i.e. your soft and Entry vests).
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    "Situation Dictates" as always.

    In response to Scout above: Ideally I can setup in a position that offers cover and concealment, however I have numerous issues that sometimes prevent that. There is also the time factor. If all goes well, then it's nice to be sneaky. It is doesn't.....well I still have a job to do.

    I recommend that officers wear their soft armor unless they have a no-shit, real live reason they can't. And "it's hot or uncomfortable" is bullshit. You don't wear armor because of what you expect to happen. You wear it because of what you didn't expect to happen.
     

    Andrew Blubaugh

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Correct. A valuable thing no matter where you are. I looked up your example of Bucky Phillips and it looks like he shot them with a high powered rifle at distance. I may have bad intel, the internet being what it is.</div></div>

    That is bad intel. The first shots fired from Bucky were reported to be under 40 yards. The trooper that told me the story was pretty choked up about it so I did not press the issue and ask details.

    The situation always dictates a lot of things but I fail to see a standard when you want to drop armor. Soft armor still offers protection and the reason of soft armor not stopping rifle rounds is a poor excuse. What about my hard plates? They won't stop a 300 win mag so should I not wear them? I am not trying to argue here but look at the excuses why not to wear armor. Think of the worst case scenarios out there that have happened or could happen and prepare for them. I bet each of those scenarios you would opt to wear armor.

    It almost sounds to me that you want someone to say it is ok not to wear armor so you can pick and choose when you want to wear it. This reminds me of practicing entries. After several hours people start using their pistols because the long gun is getting too heavy. The truth is they are just getting lazy and slacking off.
     

    sierra2

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Our department requires all road officers to wear body armor when on road duty. I strongly encourage my snipers to at least wear duty armor on callouts. There's too many things that can happen, and we're not always laying prone behind a rifle. I have a MOLLE carrier that carries my duty vest panels, and while it's lighter than our entry vests, its still hot and uncomfortable. I always figure it's better than the alternative though.

    It's been said many times here...I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.


    Eric
     

    fullscope

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    LoneWolf, if I hadn't met you I would think you were mad at me.

    CowboyBravo, On the intel- that's the internet for you. On your words you don't want to argue- I think argue has a negative connotation. An argument is a debate between people that can be positive or negative. I take nothing from you that is negative. On me trying to get someone to say it is ok for me to pick and choose- I don't need the ok because we already do it. I can always bring more than the team leader suggests I just cant bring less.

    I would never try and get you or anyone else to change your mind on wearing them. I said it twice "I am not at all saying that anyone here who says wear body armor for every deployment is wrong. I am saying it just isn't what I do." " I am not trying to fight to change anyones mind to not wear their armor. If you are able and choose to wear it. The beginning post was asking what people are doing and this is what we do."
     

    LoneWolfUSMC

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: scout_T-28</div><div class="ubbcode-body">LoneWolf, if I hadn't met you I would think you were mad at me.</div></div>

    Nah.
     

    Andrew Blubaugh

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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Scout,

    I get heartburn about this topic because it is dangerous. Too many people will take one agency's practice and allow it to open a door to start doing things that are dangerous. I run into people all the time who will use the argument of it is ok to do a technique, tactic or procedure because someone else is doing it.

    I'd like someone to explain to me how not wearing armor allows one to be more efficient in their duties as a LE Sniper.
     

    marduk185

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    Feb 3, 2009
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    tantric thrust
    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    well when my 3 man team make things 5x5 at the mall, we make sure and double up on the plates, cuz have you seen the .338's the neo nazis are packin? stay frosty out there fellas.
     

    dirtyboots

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    Aug 5, 2010
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    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    In the police world there is no reason not to wear soft armor when performing LE duties. I have worked in LE across the country, in the humidity back east, and now in the extreme oven heat of the southwest desert.

    I do execute for days at a time and have come accustomed to wearing soft armor no matter what.

    In the military we would tailor our kit to specific missions, and the level of armor would always vary. For LE IMO there are always items you have, no matter what on your body. Soft armor, flashlights, knives, and a back up gun are a must.

    The duration of execution and excertion rarely exceed the need to compromise those necessities. I hike all over the desert in the summer with soft body armor on with a pack. If you are frequently operating in the realm where soft body armor is a liability I would suggest rethinking the way you are deploying and conditioning. Based on my experience I have not had body armor affect marksmanship either.
     

    gunnut284

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    Jun 13, 2008
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    Orlando, FL
    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Soft armor under BDU. Depending on the situation I might bring my plate carrier as well. When I practice I wear the soft armor as well, better get use to it.
     

    hocko

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    Apr 19, 2010
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    Australia
    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Body armour is a must for us as the cordon may end up as part of the entry team/s. I think it just makes sense in an urban environment to wear armour of some description because you just never know. As for a rural environment I suspect if the offender had a firearm or was known for booby trapping then it would be a must...
    Dont know about you guys but i'd rather sweat my ass off and know I have protection than not...
     

    ace31

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    Jul 27, 2009
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    Va Beach, Va/Orange County, Ca
    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Hocko</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Dont know about you guys but i'd rather sweat my ass off and know I have protection than not... </div></div>

    Better to sweat than bleed. This comming from someone who has absolutley no operational experience behind a long range weapon. Just my .02
     

    OneLunG

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    Jan 26, 2007
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    Juneau, Alaska
    Re: Police Marksman - Body Armor?

    Has anyone ever used the Diamondback Tactical Predator Armor?

    I like this external carrier, and was thinking of picking it up because it could double duty for stuff when we do hasty warrant service and things of that nature.