Industry News: January 1999

By Robert M Hausman

The inventive genius of American industry was shown to be alive and well at the fifteenth annual Tactical Resources Exposition (TREXPO) held in mid-August in Northern Virginia. The meeting was divided into three segments, namely a conference, a product exhibition and a live fire demonstration.

The conference presentations led off with The Media and S.W.A.T. during which Larry Glick of the National Tactical Officers Association took a look at the media’s perception of Special Weapons and Tactics units’ role in current community policing concepts. Guidelines for dealing with the media were given for S.W.A.T. members and/or police administrators in attendance. Lt. Jim McGinty of the Philadelphia, PA Police Department detailed Crisis Management During Explosive Incidents. McGinty’s presentation was designed to install confidence and safety measures for first responding law enforcement personnel when dealing with violent offenders who use explosives and booby traps.

The FBI’s Domestic Terrorism unit provided the latest information on domestic terrorist groups and their methods of operation. Similarly, Brock Simon, formerly of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, provided an overview of contemporary policing tactics and techniques when dealing with domestic terrorism groups. Dr. James A. King of the International Association of Personal Protection Specialists detailed how to establish effective security for an executive’s residence and office.

Other seminars included: non-deadly force training; the use of robots in high-risk incidents; aviation support for low and high risk corporate operations; and, an analysis of ways to protect executives in the U.S. and abroad.

The tactical equipment demonstrations and live-fire sessions were held at the Fairfax County Police Department firearms training range in Chantilly, VA. A variety of firms gave seminars and demonstrations on the use of their equipment. The most widely attended presentation was that put on by Heckler & Koch in which the officers’ in attendance lined up for their chance to fire a magazine or two in the full and semi-auto modes from the array of firearms produced by this innovative gunmaker.

Equipment Exhibition

Upgrading of the Personal Armor System Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet to provide threat level II ballistic protection is offered by Aetco, Inc. (P.O. Box 458, San Dimas, CA 91773). Manufactured using a proprietary process, the ballistic shell exceeds military requirements and has the ability to stop the penetration of the helmet from bullets such as the .357 Magnum.

The PASGT helmet’s retention system is also improved for tactical operations with an adjustable, integrated chin/nape strap with left and right side quick release buckles and a leather lined plastic chin cup. Manufactured of tubular nylon webbing, the retention system combines with a neoprene impact pad in the rear of the helmet to improve stability during tactical and emergency response operations.

Aetco also showed its riot face shield available in kit form for assembly to any U.S. military PASGT ballistic helmet manufactured to military specifications. The high strength .187-inch thick polycarbonate material is designed to protect the eyes from thrown objects. Two wing nuts (one on each side) allow the face shield to be quickly attached to, or removed from the helmet as required. The wing nuts also adjust the attached face shield for tension as the shield is raised or lowered.

The booth set up by Heckler & Koch (21480 Pacific Blvd., Sterling, VA 20166) attracted a lot of attention as the firm had a briefcase mounted MP5K submachine gun on display. The specially designed briefcase allows the MP5K to be fired from inside the case with trigger and safety buttons mounted on the briefcase’s carry handle.

The Wilcox Industries Corp. Night Stalker “So Smart™” modular special operations laser sighting system that maintains laser boresight when moved among weapon platforms, was shown by DeMilt Associates (P.O. Box 731, Olney, MD 20832). The factory calibrated laser sight is furnished in a modular mounting bracket unit to fit a variety of commonly used military and police handguns, rifles and shotguns. The bright red laser is coupled with both an infra red illuminator lamp unit as well as an incandescent flashlight. The unit has both blink rate and power indicators and contains a selector switch to set its mode of operation. The sight is waterproof to 66 feet below sea level and is corrosion resistant to facilitate use in salt water applications.

Image Stabilizer binoculars were shown by Canon, U.S.A., Inc. (One Canon Plaza, Lake Success, N.Y. 11042). Available in configurations of 15x45, 12x36, and 10x30, the image stabilizing technology has already been proven highly effective in Canon video camcorders and professional lenses. The system employs a novel vari-angle prism that instantly and continuously makes adjustments to maintain a steady image.

The eyepiece lenses on Canon’s Image Stabilizer binoculars employ a Doublet Field Flattener, working to dramatically reduce curvature of field so there is none of the image distortion and blurring at the periphery typical of high-magnification binoculars. The design also provides long eye relief, which enables eyeglass wearers to view the entire field without vignetting. The binoculars work without the aid of a tripod and can even be used from within moving vehicles.

Less Lethal Devices

Several firms displayed devices intended for use in ending confrontations without killing the perpetrators. It should be noted there is always the chance that such “less than lethal” devices can produce a lethal result depending on their method of employment and the physical condition of the subject. Mace Security International (MSI) of 160 Benmont Ave., Bennington, VT 05201) showed its new 37/38mm Thunder-Bolt™ diversionary device shell that can be launched to a distance of 50 yards. The shells produce a brilliant flash and loud report with very little smoke. At 5 feet the sound level is rated at 175db while the flash level is measured at 2,500,000 Candela. The shells are intended for outdoor use only as they may cause fires if directed into buildings.

MSI also showed its rubber ball cartridges that are available in a variety of configurations. Rounds containing either one rubber ball or nine balls are available for use in 12 gauge shotguns. Rounds containing either 120 or 200 rubber balls are available for 37mm launchers. The rounds are designed to be skip-fired in a ricochet fashion to strike subjects. These progressive munitions can be used for a variety of police, tactical, and correctional response team applications including crowd control, hostile inmate clearing from yard areas, and in riot control.

MSI’s 37mm Baton rounds are loaded with the purchaser’s choice of one to five wooden or rubber batons. The Han-Ball™
pyrotechnic grenade loaded with CN or CS gas, is configured to ‘skitter’ along the ground when thrown, minimizing the possibility of being thrown back. Its spherical shape makes it easy to grasp and throw, and is activated by pulling a ring with a 0.7-2.9 seconds fuze delay time.

A rubber ball gun with the capability of firing 70 rounds per minute was found at the booth of Royal Arms International (P.O. Box 6083, Woodland Hills, CA 91365). These lightweight (at 3 lbs.) units fire 69mm balls from a 140 shot magazine hopper and are powered by a rechargeable CO2 tank. Target grade accuracy can be achieved up to 35 yards and the balls (which travel at 350 fps) can cause severe pain to the struck subject and thus end the encounter without deadly force.

“The master key for every door,” was shown by Fenrir Industries, Inc. (P.O. Box 2027, Stamford, CT 06906). The In-Forcer works to prevent busts from going bad because cops get shot and evidence gets destroyed. While successful raids rely on surprise, if the cops have to hit the door more than once they are, in effect, telling the unseen suspect on the other side two dangerous pieces of information: (1) where you are, and (2) you are not friendly! In the process, the suspect is thus handed two dangerous options: (1) flush and run, or (2) lock and load!

The In-Forcer ram system is designed to deliver 3 to 5 times the power of conventional door rams and with an optional power head, can boost its power up to 12 times the power of most other ram systems, according to company reps. Measuring just 30-inches in length allowing it to be used in narrow hallways, the unit weighs just 45 pounds. Its patented 16 pound internally sliding shuttle is powered by a 33 pound spring resulting in no recoil as the unit delivers all its power against the door. The unit’s delivered force can be boosted by the addition of an accessory unit powered by a .45 Win. Mag. shell.


The Sauvestre SHOCKWAVE shotgun slug, billed as the most advanced (and expensive) such projectile in the world was shown by its importer, Keng’s Firearms Specialty (875 Wharton Drive South West, Atlanta, GA 30336). The slug employs many of the same design principles used in modern tank munitions such as fin stabilization, a gas flow chamber to promote longer combustion, and use of aerospace-quality polymers. Shaped similarly to an aerodynamic flechette arrow, its narrow cross-section is designed to focus kinetic energy in a concentrated area, thereby creating deep and wide wound channels. With virtually all its weight oriented near the front, the slug is less sensitive to brush and other obstructions in its path and less susceptible to ricochet.

Keng’s also handles the Hirtenberger ammo line. Among the offerings is a 7.62 NATO-match load utilizing the 190gr. Sierra MatchKing HPBT bullet. A subsonic version for use with suppressor equipped rifles is also available. Hirtenberger 9mm rounds include the 124gr. Defender +P, developed for European police agencies. With its dual core construction, the Defender provides consistent tactical penetration in such materials as heavy clothing and angled automotive glass. The Hirtenberger 9mm EMB-MonoBlok +P round employs a 77gr. solid-copper alloy bullet with a radial cavity to deliver expansion with moderate penetration. Low mass and a ball-like ogive give the EMB unmatched cyclic reliability and accuracy and is ideal for use in compact 9mm autos, such as the Glock 26 and the Kahr MK9.

Thompson Emertac Vehicles (1245 Bridgestone Blvd., Lavergne, TN 37086) displayed its tactical civilian HUMMER chassis featuring the Thompson personnel body. A multi-purpose vehicle designed to transport and support an eight member SWAT team or emergency search and rescue unit and their gear, it is furnished with internal weapon-mounts and ammunition compartments.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N4 (January 1999)
and was posted online on September 2, 2016


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