View Full Version : The heavy Sam Browne Belt on LEOs

Spade Cooley
December 3, 2007, 06:37 PM
I'm a retired LEO and I can remember the trend started many years ago to load up the gun belt with extra handcuffs and such. Last night on one of the reality cop shows I saw a Femal Police Officer with the entire belt loaded. She had double ammo pouches that held four magazines, extra cuffs, a big radio and some other tactical stuff. The belt was entirely covered up. I'm all for having what you need on the street but I think there are diminishing returns when you load up with gear so you can no longer move fast or run. I can remember when one officer was loaded up on the belt so much that when he jumped out of a van his pants along with the belt hit the pavement. Why would anyone need more that two mags or one set of cuffs. Extra plaxtic cuffs and mags could be carried in a tactical kit inside the car.

Tim R
December 3, 2007, 07:25 PM

I used to carry 4 mags when I was using a 1911 on duty. I'm down to 2 spare mags but they hold 15 rounds ea. (I now use a Glock 35, same size as a 1911.) I also have spare mags in the car but if I needed them I would hope I could get back to my car.

If I think I'm going to a gun fight, I'll grab the AR as well.

I carry 2 sets of cuffs on my belt all the time with 2 seperate single cases and have flex cuffs in my car. The single cases use more space than a double case but I can spread then around a little better. I use the 2 sets of cuffs about 1/3 of the time with more than 1 bad guy being arrested at a time.

I got rid of the ASP when I found I used it so little.

I got rid of OC when I was issued a Tazer.

My belt is still full as I have a couple of other items as well. Over all the vest and belt together run about 35 pounds in weight.

December 3, 2007, 09:57 PM
My belt has my duty gun, two mags, radio, one set of cuffs (down from two now that I am a worthless folded-arms sergeant), OC, ASP, & a Surefire Z2.

Soon I will have a taser, and it will be mandatory along with the ASP and OC. I don't know how I'll carry all this crap, I'll look like some batman wannabe. Bad thing is I have a 33" waist, and there's not a whole lot of room to spare as it is.

The only thing I carry that is not mandatory at the time, beleive it or not, is the Surefire. Oddly enough, this is one of the last things I would ditch of I could cull out some of the stuff I already carry (ASP, OC - taser will replace these undoubtedly).

December 4, 2007, 01:44 AM
What is really hilarious is when this discussion is applied to non-sworn LEOs. I have left the sworn field and opened a gun shop. In order to get insurance I took a job at the local hospital doing security. I carry rubber gloves, a radio, keys, and a Surefire. The young bucks show up wearing two glove holders, cuffs (1 guy carries 2 sets), pager cases, cell phone cases, large flashlights, plastic cuffs, and anything else they can think of. I put my foot down and made some of them lose the extras because they were getting carried away. We are prohibited from carrying weapons, but I suspect there are a few lurking under pantlegs around our office. The trend with my guys suggests that "more gear = more power." I think that may apply to our sworn brothers. I always tell them "more gear = more back problems." The best weapon an officer can have is an educated mouth. Never mind the crap around your waist. Plus, if you aren't trained, that crap will just get taken away from you and used against you. It's comical - especially since we've only needed to use cuffs twice in 3 years!

December 4, 2007, 03:35 AM
In my "skinny days" I had a 34" waist and it was sometimes a challenge. Carrying 2 sets of cuffs started in the mid-70's or so when groups/gangs started becoming "militant" (to use the popular phrase then). At least then you could buy a C-cell Kel-Lite that was 24" long and fit into your baton ring.

One thing some of us did when carrying single-stack magazines was buy dual mag pouches for double-stacks and load 4 magazines. Saved lots of space.

Left rear to right rear it was;
Spare cuff case w/cover
Mace holder
Baton Ring w/nightstick or long Kel-lite.
Dual mag pouch
Belt buckle
Open top cuff carrier
3-Round shotgun shell holder

Some guys carried 2-3 jiffy cuffs across the back of their belts underneath the keepers.

Figure all that, plus jump boots, a kevlar vest, thermal underwear in winter and a jacket, versus some 19 year old in sneakers, jeans, t-shirt and windbreaker. It's like a Wildebeest trying to chase a Gazelle! :D

Billy Sparks
December 4, 2007, 07:14 AM
Same thing happened in EMS when we started getting pants with all those nifty pockets. I knew one guy that carried a full IV setup complete with 1000ml bag of fluid, tubing, etc in a pocket. We looked more like we were getting ready to jump in to a battlefield as opposed to taking grandma to the hospital.

December 4, 2007, 07:47 AM
I went to the Don Hume River Belt at the first opportunity, and never looked back. I still have one but it sees little use these days.... been in Investigations for about 11 years now, after five as a 'worthless, folded arms Sergeant'- boy did I get a kick out of that;)

We had bat-belt mania going on 27 years ago. All I carried was the gun, speedloader case, cuff-case, and a baton ring that doubled as a flashlight carrier. I guess it was enough, 'cause I'm still here.

Jeff #111
December 4, 2007, 09:51 AM
Two spare magazines (Glock 17), OC spray, Surefire light, radio, baton ring for my 3 cell maglight (which spends most of it's time in the car in it's holder), two cuff cases, and a Glock 19. My Taser is carried in a drop holster. My pocket recorder is carried in a shirt pocket and the rubber gloves in my back pocket.

December 4, 2007, 10:02 AM
2 spare mags, weapon, 2 cuffs (on a college campus, multiple cuffs is a necessity) radio, Stinger light and a keyring. All the rest of the crap lives in the car...

December 4, 2007, 10:29 AM
Extra cuffs: Necessary. There are too many times a working LEO needs more than one.

December 4, 2007, 12:59 PM
I'm curious why Officers still carry metal cuffs instead of several of the plastic zip-tie cuffs? Are they more difficult to use on someone who's resisting?

December 4, 2007, 03:25 PM
Here's a question...

How many of you guys still have a 6 round single or double dump pouch laying around somewhere? Nope. I ain't spillin my age.:rolleyes:

December 4, 2007, 04:10 PM
One double dump left and about all it functions for now is to hold extra rounds in the glove box in the truck. It still looks good next to the K-38 in a clam shell holster...........

Line Rider
December 5, 2007, 09:27 AM
I'm now a SGT at my dept and I still carry a lot of stuff on my belt

GL 22 with 2 extra mags in a vert. mag pouch
Monadnock Auto Lock Baton ( I still prefer a PR-24 STS:D)
Stringer flashlight
3 set of hinged handcuffs
TASER my department started issusing they the first of this month

I started carrying 3 set of handcuff back when I work for a Sheriff's Office in a rural county here in AL. Many nights you were by yourself, and MAYBE on a Friday or Saturday night you had a reserve with you. Generally, if I stopped a car on FR or SA night after 23:00 I would have at between two and three subjects to deal with. A few times I had four and they were all drunk or stoned. :rolleyes: I learn a long time ago extra cuff in the car are about as good as if they were in the officer.

December 5, 2007, 04:55 PM
How many of you guys still have a 6 round single or double dump pouch laying around somewhere? Nope. I ain't spillin my age.

I resemble that remark! :D
I think mine is in a box somewhere with a couple of old Kel-Lites. ;)

Johnny Guest
December 24, 2007, 02:20 PM
When I started out on the street, individual radios were only beginning to be issued to the largest (and richest) departments. I never worked for one of those, so the heavy little two-way was something seldon seen.

I got used to carrying minimal gear on my belt. My first rig held an S&W Highway Patrolman .357 (before they were marked Model 28 :p) and six extra cartridges, plus a snap strap holding one pair of cuffs. That's all. Flashlight went into hip pocket or was thrust under the belt. Night sticks or batons were optional, but most guys carried a "slapjack" in the hip pocket.

Extra ammo and cuffs usually went into a brief case or patrol bag. A couple of years later, Mace chemical weapon was issued and could be carried on belt or in pocket. Whenever I had the option to add extra gear, it was usually more ammo.

On my first plainclothes job, I carried a Colt National Match .45, two spare magazines in a double pouch, and a pair of handcuffs. As the years rolled by, I got to be a bit more practical. The .45 became a lightweight Commander, I carried only one spare magazine, and the cuffs stayed in the car most of the time. I stuck with this every day arrangement right up until my retirement.

It's a bit amusing - - By the time I had a hand held two-way assigned for my use, I was NOT in uniform, and the belt was much narrower. :rolleyes:

Sure, I have a couple of old dump pouches for revolver ammo laying about. I still have the one I made in about 1970, when I acquired an S&W 1955 Target cut to four inches. I had a six-loop slide to hold .45 Auto Rim cartridges, and the pouch held two half-moon clips with .45 ACP ammo.

I do sympathize with the modern uniformed cops who have so much more gear to carry. :)


December 24, 2007, 07:14 PM
I posted above, and did so as a modern day LEO. I started my career in 1992, and have not seen too much change other than the addition of less-lethal weaponry (kinetic & conductive energy weapons). Sure mace changed to OC, and the PR-24 changed to the ASP, but all in all, they still represent the same thing.

Where the difference did come however, was in the generation change between my father and myself. My dad started in the early 70's and always represented the old school of law enforcement. Sam Browne belt, 6" model 19, two dump pouches, single cuff case and that was it. He did add a radio with time, and the sap / blackjack changed to a straight stick then PR-24, but he essentially stayed the same over time. To his credit, he survived two combat shootings and did so without a kevlar vest, weapon mounted light, tacticool gizmo-ized weapon, etc. Not to mention, he was tough as grit and could flat kick butt without any weapons at all.

I have come into almost all of his equipment, and the only thing I would personally take is the Sap. Having used the PR-24 and the ASP (and I do mean USED), there is nothing that could make the same impact as that little CQB lead thumper. I've seen far too many baton strikes fail, but it does not seem like the sap wore the same badge as far as effectiveness goes.

What's the point of my ramble? Nothing actually. Just reflecting on the generational differences in law enforcement. Both ways were effective, but both had their place and time. I would not switch to my Dad's ways, and I am sure he would not switch to mine - well, actually, he didn't. He just retired in lieu of!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go don my 200 pounds of crap and hit the streets. :D

December 24, 2007, 09:27 PM
I had a slapper (sap) back in the day. It was far and away more effective than the PR's. The straight hickory baton was good but the slapper could be deployed in close, with one hand and with total surprise. I was always afraid I was going to hit somebody too hard with the dang things, and saved it as a last resort.

On the OT I still have a few dump pouches which have been stretched to hold a half dozen 44/45 Colt hunting loads.

Jeff #111
December 24, 2007, 10:25 PM
I have a Taser and Pepper Spray. However my father was a cop from 1970 to 1994. He still has his blackjack and his Sap Gloves. He stopped using those in the late seventies. I love those Sap gloves. Whenever I visit him I like to put those gloves on and daydream. The Oldtimers had it soooo much easier then we do. ;)LOL. I'm kidding.