A question for all the Armed Forces and law enforcement personnel about custom gear

bel_riose

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Mar 10, 2011
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Hi to all,

reading the forum, I was wondering why it is allowed for military personnel deployed like in Iraq, or even law enforcement operators, to buy and use their own gear. In this case, flashlights.

I thought that military equipment had to be approved and know by all members of an organization. If you use, say, a two-way radio, I'm able to use it because it's the same that I use. And it's built to specs approved and designed for a specific task.

If I bring my Kroma on active duty, and I'm the only one that uses it, isn't it unsafe? Or if I use a light that runs on particular batteries and I run out of them with no replacement?

Maybe I misunderstood and all the flashlight used by soldiers are used only off-duty, and there's specific gear for active roles.

Thanks for the answers!
 

regulatorrecovery

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Jan 20, 2010
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It really depends on the unit and/or department. We were all issued Innova x5 (green) which use cr123's, and the issue batteries were always the Panasonic 2-packs. That said, my squadron commander had no issues with outside sourced lighting equipment, so long as it couldn't be perceived as a hindrance to the squad. To keep it simple, the standing rule was to carry the issue equipment at least as a backup. My personal choice was/is a Quark 123/2, and this was a non-issue as it uses the same batteries is the x5. As a squad leader, my only concern with non-issue equipment was accidental usage in inappropriate conditions. There is a reason our issue lights have green LEDs only, combined with a twist on/off tail. I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain this...
That said, I wouldn't want a squad member to carry a civilian market x5 with the same UI. What if he mixed them up? White light at the wrong time could be deadly. My Quark (not a "tactical) with a recessed tail button could not be mistaken for the x5, even accidentally.
But all of this insight is/was me and my squad with the respect and approval of my command, and might not apply to you. My advice is follow command protocol - start with your squad leader and go from there. As far a LE goes, the departments that I've worked with allow personal carry, as long as they are not responsible for its replacement, even if duty related.
 

Ajax517

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Sep 3, 2009
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It really depends on the unit and/or department. We were all issued Innova x5 (green) which use cr123's, and the issue batteries were always the Panasonic 2-packs. That said, my squadron commander had no issues with outside sourced lighting equipment, so long as it couldn't be perceived as a hindrance to the squad. To keep it simple, the standing rule was to carry the issue equipment at least as a backup. My personal choice was/is a Quark 123/2, and this was a non-issue as it uses the same batteries is the x5. As a squad leader, my only concern with non-issue equipment was accidental usage in inappropriate conditions. There is a reason our issue lights have green LEDs only, combined with a twist on/off tail. I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain this...
That said, I wouldn't want a squad member to carry a civilian market x5 with the same UI. What if he mixed them up? White light at the wrong time could be deadly. My Quark (not a "tactical) with a recessed tail button could not be mistaken for the x5, even accidentally.
But all of this insight is/was me and my squad with the respect and approval of my command, and might not apply to you. My advice is follow command protocol - start with your squad leader and go from there. As far a LE goes, the departments that I've worked with allow personal carry, as long as they are not responsible for its replacement, even if duty related.

↑ This.

My truncated 2 cents was about the same.
Don't try to roll with something that is less than or wildly divergent from what is issued and don't try to cowboy it with something no one has or is familiar with. I imagine unfamiliar light beams might get shot at.

This is much less a factor for LEOs. My wife's dept issues incan Poly-Stingers which don't seem to function or last very well, so I got her a Fenix TK10 and now everyone wants one.
 

Av8tor

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Mar 13, 2011
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For my unit we carry whatever we want because even though it's mandated that we have a flashlight when we fly at night, our unit doesn't have the funds to issue them 90 percent of the time (at least not anything good). Most dudes carry surefires or standard incan maglights because they don't know what else is out there. Like the previous poster said there have been circumstances where we were ordered to carry at least our issued gear, but you can usually carry more if you're willing to deal with the extra weight. We also have to supply our own batteries if they're different from what we would normally be using (AA or cr123). On the occasions when my unit has bought stuff it's been at the whim of the acquisitions dude at the time to get us whatever he thinks is best from our stock system. Sometimes it's very good, sometimes not.

For stuff like radios and body armor I know the military is much more restrictive because they need to know that you have at least a certain standard. Also you're not allowed to take your own personal firearms, but you can generally bring your own knives if you like.
 

doktorziplok

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at the mall we use...

here is a story from slate.com that gives some better info. i ordered a knife from michael morris and it was pushed aside, mid production, to work on a rush order for a deploying marine recon squad. read (or watch) generation kill to get an idea of how much out of pocket there is. i'm sure each branch differs to a degree.
 

midget

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Boston, MA
AD here, yes, we are allowed to use our own gear, no it's not a danger. Armor, weapons, ammo, vehicles, radios.. that sort of thing is restricted. Lights, knives, eyepro, boots, gloves, w/e.. that's pretty much inconsequential. it really is. i can't think of any real situations where a guy needs to borrow his buddy's flashlight, doesn't know how to use it, and then everyone fails. circumstances aren't really like that.

plus, for flashlights in particular, batteries like 123a's are pretty commonplace, as are surefire lights (issued equipment). so, you could put be a flashaholic and lend your buddy some RCR123's and he'll fry his light, but that's about it.


but yea armor, bullets, weapons, and radios are restricted. radios because of communication security -- radio transmissions are encrypted. bullets and weapons are strictly regulated to comply with the laws of war (no hollow points, etc). armor b/c of liability. no commander wants to deal with a troop getting hurt b/c he was wearing his "personal" armor and it wasn't up to spec.
 

chanjyj

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Singapore
UNLESS you are in the Airforce. Then you have to make damned sure your light is IS certified (Intrinsically Safe).
 

jw2n

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Sep 26, 2009
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In addition to the above comments, your Kroma is an issued light in certain units.
 

Chrontius

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Oct 11, 2007
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Orlando, FL
I should point out that some units are (or were, I hear things are much more on the ball lately) lucky to get a light at all, with the possible exception of a Fulton anglehead.
 

bigguy02

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Mar 25, 2011
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At my department we can pretty much carry our own equipment, as long as it falls into the SOP's, the only exception I can think of is my Taser and OC spray.
 
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