January 16, 2011 at 5:42 am #32881
Ok, so I am trying to get as much input on this system as possible before I put in a purchase order for it. I am talking about the Tony Blauer HIGH Gear suit that just got transferred to London Bridge Trading Co.
This is my take on it so far. If anyone has anything to add, please do.
My unit has been using (storing) the Redman suits for years, and they are in very ill repair. Having used them at FLETC in Charleston during my Boarding Officer course, their limitations are quickly realized.
The need for the facilitator to tell the role player to react to a ‘good strike’ because the strike isn’t felt by the role-player seems to be the first issue. The role-players seem to turn into supermen when they have the suits on, especially when the guy in the suit is on an ego trip already. This leads to an officer beatdown that kills confidence in ability. The HIGH Gear system says it transfers force to the wearer, so that they can’t necessarily just brush off a good knee or baton strike to the thigh.
I don’t, however, want our role-players being hurt to the point that they don’t want to go active, or worse, causing their shipmates to go easy on technique to avoid causing pain.
So, if someone has insight on the amount of ‘force’ that is transferred to the subject, it would be helpful
The other big issue, is whether all parties involved need to be wearing the suits, or just the role-players. At FLETC, the role-players have worn the Redman suit, and students wore just the headgear to avoid head injury. Would this be sufficient with the HIGH Gear as well?
Last, from different pictures that I have seen, it seems as though the arms are a little more exposed than on the Redman suits. How is coverage for baton strikes to the arms? We use the ASP foam batons, but they’ll still hurt like crazy on unprotected skin when used at 100%.
Thanks for reading the wall of text, and for any insight that you provide.January 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm #81376resqr1Member
Re: HIGH Gear
I have one. I will tell you that if role players are going to be allowed to go 100% then ALL need to be in the suit. That is how it is designed. If only the bad guy wears the suit, you will go through A LOT of bad guys. It will NOT absorb a good hit from a grown man. In my opinion the helmet sucks. I have ditched mine for a much more affordable piece from Combat Sports. No fogging problem and a much wider field of vision. I really do not use the High Gear anymore. We just wear gloves, head gear, and shinguards.
My honest opinion (especially if you are going to be using batons) is to stick with the red man suit. The transfer of energy is too much for the High Gear. The High gear is a HUGE investment. I think they are $1400 each now. If you go with High Gear, you better get some padded batons, too.
If you want simple, get some caged headgear from Combat Sports (most inexpensive but good quality), shinguards, a Taekwondo-type chest protector and some gloves (boxing or MMA whichever you prefer). You will save an astronomical amount of money and get the same use.January 20, 2011 at 5:25 am #81377
Re: HIGH Gear
We always use the ASP training batons when doing force on force drills, even in the Redman suit. As far as piecing together my own system, I don’t think my command would be jumping on board that one.
My biggest concern is that if we hold LE training (since LE is only one of our missions) in the HIGH Gear suits, while it will give a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and will allow a more dynamic role-play scenario, it may also scare/dissuade people from wanting to attend future training if excessive pain (some don’t even like doing pressure point control techniques) is involved.
If officers and subjects are both in the suits, is the impact still going to be enough to really rattle someone? I want our guys to feel it, because there needs to be some stress inoculation, and they need to know what a real fight feels like. As I said before though, I don’t want to rattle someone so much that they refuse to participate in training.
In the end, it will be up to my command when I present these pros and cons, so I’m just trying to gather as much info as possible. Heck, I’m only here for another year. I don’t want our station to drop 6+ grand on suits that won’t get used after I leave.January 20, 2011 at 5:34 am #81378
Re: HIGH Gear
I’ve used Redman, FIST, Monadnock, and Blauer padded suit type gear. What I prefer to wear will depend upon what kind of activity/contact there will be during training. All else being equal, the more protected you want to be, the more cumbersome/bulky the suit will need to be.
The High Gear suits are good for what they do but they are not all that protective. They are not designed for impact weapon training and will not fully absorb impacts from crisp strikers and/or larger persons. Some MMA training camps use them but they already have a lot of experience with combat and the suits are just basically taking the edge off.
Some of the issues mentioned in the first post are training/instructor issues. If you have instructors who can’t control themselves properly or find that the scenarios are not playing out as intended, it’s not going to matter what kinds of suits anyone is wearing. Escalation of Testosterone is a valid concern and there are some good guys who just aren’t cut out to be instructors, roleplayers, or monitors. Look at the recent police recruit death in Norfolk, VA – it Might turn out that Training/Instructors were to blame (still pending).
As far as who gets to wear suits, I guess that depends on what kind of scenarios you’re running and what kinds of contact/impacts your personnel (both sides) are expected to (or might on accident) give/take/encounter.
Our training staff primarily uses FIST and High Gear suits during dynamic scenario DT training. We’ve been using the FIST suits longer (and they sure do suffer a lot of rips/tears) and have only started using High Gear the last few years. I think the design of High Gear is less prone to damage (but there’s also less padding). Personally, I don’t like either company’s helmets. I prefer Redman closed cell foam helmets with the cage.
We used to use hard plastic training batons but those seemed to find gaps in the suits (ALL brands) like they had eyes. Nowadays, we’re using padded batons – not quite as “hard” as Monadnock or ASP brand padded batons. Personally, when I’m doing my “Dog Brothers Lite” training, I use ActionFlex or Smak-Stiks padded batons and, usually, I’m only wearing a cup, Redman caged helmet, and maybe some MMA style gloves. But then again, we’re not going all out on personal weapons (punches, kicks, elbows, knees, head butts, etc), maybe 50-60% or so – with the slightly softer sticks, we can go much harder on the stick contact/strikes.
If you’ve got enough gear to go around, I don’t think it hurts to have more people suit up than less. Safety is #1 and, with more protection, we can go a little harder/realistic, and still be saf(ER).January 20, 2011 at 5:45 am #81379
Re: HIGH Gearquote MDeaneUSCG:
Always nice to have equipment and not need it than the other way around. If you are able to get it and end up leaving, who knows, someone may pull that stuff out and play. See if you can leave the training program in some good hands before you move on to brighter/better things… ;):January 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm #81383
Re: HIGH Gear
Thank you for the input on this matter. Unfortunately, the USCG some bumps to work out in its unit level training program. We are told that we need to train, and told who can train people, but we are given little guidance on training practical exercises such as DT drills and scenarios. In fact the only official guidance I have been given on the subject was a 2 hour class tacked onto the end of my Boarding Officer class on how to facilitate UoF scenario training.
This lack of guidance, as well as the somewhat rare chance of needing to use anything learned in a real situation, cause complacency and the opinion that LE training isn’t needed. Since people perceive it as a non-necessity, then they also see the contact involved as being unnecessary. Those that are gung ho about getting in the suits are generally in it to have an excuse to hit someone. This is at least the environment I must deal with at my current unit, and I hope I can improve our training while I am here.
I did just get guidance on the suits though, in that policy currently states that we must use Redman gear. So at least that makes my decision easier.January 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm #81387
Re: HIGH Gear
Hey MD, that’s a tough situation to be in – wanting to improve your partners and give them tools to perhaps someday save themselves or their partners/family/friends but not getting much support or interest/participation can be frustrating. BTDT and still running into that. Keep trying though – the way I see it is if the opportunity to learn/experience improve is there and they don’t participate or take it seriously, that’s on them – they fail. If we, who know better and have something to offer them, stop trying and stop providing them the opportunity, then we fail them.
IMO, if you don’t have much policy/structure for your training, you run the risk of being hung out to dry if/when some freak accident happens.
Off the top of my head: Who is overall responsible for your PT/DT training? Who does the approving of training programs/regimens or lesson plans? Do you currently have lesson plans for what you teach? Training rosters? Copies of tests? Etc? Have you been officially certified to instruct PT/DT/UoF by the USCG? Does the USCG or your unit of assignment have an official manual or policy regarding UoF and instructing UoF? Do you have any policies on student/instructor ratios? Availability or designation of emergency medical response? Is there a requirement for personnel to have a certain amount of UoF/DT training (hours) per certain time period (year)? If so, what needs to be covered? Do you report to anyone or submit paperwork to anyone? Is this a full time job or collateral? ETC…
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