Patrol Ready: The Police Carbine

A short recent stint back on night-shift patrol had me reexamining the uniforms, hardware, equipment and tools of the uniform police trade. This month we'll examine the police carbine on patrol.

My previous time in uniform first in night-shift patrol then as a member of a uniform street narcotics enforcement detail was more than ten years ago. Sure I'd worked as a plainclothes narcotics detective and SWAT Team member since then but my uniform patrol days were a while ago. Recently based on labor contract impasse being declared by the city and a union vote not to accept concessions presented - a lay-off was initiated which put yours truly back in blue and back on the street at night. This gave me (as a trainer and police equipment specialist) the chance to get the gear together for my patrol duties.

The Patrol Rifle

The long-gun myself and my partners carried locked in a rack on the passenger side of the transmission hump (never comfortable legroom for someone 6'2" by the way) was a Remington 870 - 18 inch barrel bead sighted pump shotgun. Since those days my agency has transitioned to the Mossberg and the shotguns are now carried in racks mounted on the front of the prisoner cages. Also, since that time we've embraced Eugene Stoner's brainchild the M16, AR15 or M4 family of 5.56 carbines. Although there are more than a few surplus M16s in service, we are permitted to carry privately owned but departmentally approved rifles as well. Since I have several and the interest in outfitting one for police duty, I'll walk you through my choice, accessories and related accoutrements (fancy word for equipment).

Carbine

The base model chosen was the DoubleStar Star-15 carbine. This M-4 style carbine features a 16 inch chromemoly steel lightweight barrel with a 1/9 inch twist; YHM quad-rail forearm; Phantom flash hider; GG&G flip-up back-up iron rear sight; DSC (DoubleStar Corporation) adjustable butt-stock. This is a flat-top carbine which allows me the ability to easily mount an aftermarket sight. This rifle has been shot extensively by me and others and when properly lubed with Slip 2000 weapons lube has never had a hiccup in several thousand rounds. According to my Lyman trigger gauge the trigger broke crisply at seven pounds which is a good weight for a patrol rifle in my opinion.

Red-dot Sight

I chose to mount Aimpoint's Micro T-1 mini-red dot sight atop the DoubleStar. Aimpoint's products have proven themselves the world over in the hands of our nation's armed forces. The T-1weighs in at only 3 ounces and yet provides the shooter with a four minute of angle dot with 12 brightness settings. One CR2032 - 3 volt battery powers the sight with a battery life of five years! Small on size at only 2.4" X 1.6" the T-1 is long on performance.

Weapon Light

I've been using Surefire brand flashlights since the days they were called Laser Products. I've used their handheld flashlights as well as integral lights mounted on H&K MP-5 submachine guns and Mossberg shotguns. For this project I selected their excellent Scout Light which has a 200 lumen LED bulb and an integral rail mount which I elected to affix at the three o'clock position on my quad rail. The momentary pressure switch is at the nine o'clock position and is held in place by a military rubber band.

Sling

I affixed a BLACKHAWK! single point adapter at the rear stock plate and then attached a BLACKHAWK! Storm single point sling. I've played around with a lot of different sling configurations but for a quick donning system I chose the Storm. The sling attaches to the sling swivel by way of an interlocking ring the Storm sling does what a tactical sling should do without the complication of a three point system. BLACKHAWK! slings like the rest of their designs are strong and dependable.

Weapon Case

On the subject of BLACKHAWK! the best case I've run with is the Homeland Security Discreet Weapons Carry Case. This weapons case which I ordered in Coyote Tan easily carries my DoubleStar carbine in its main heavily padded main compartment and can carry cleaning equipment as well as six spare magazines in its zippered secondary compartment. Bar none, this BLACKHAWK! case is the best I've ever owned.

Accoutrement

I've been playing around with vertical fore-grips for a while. Although I don't grasp them with my support hand, I use the grip as a reference point for the edge of my support hand. That said, full-size fore-grips can get in the way sometimes especially when shooting over cover. Command Arms and Accessories (CAA) makes a nifty little fore-grip called the Front Arm Short Vertical Grip which attached easily to the bottom rail on the Star-15 and retails for something like 20 bucks.

I wanted the ability to carry spare magazine, battlefield dressings and other first-aid supplies to respond to any type of active shooter call-out. I chose a 5.11 Bail Out Bag which is a shoulder bag that includes exterior magazine pockets and an interior zippered compartment that I put my medic supplies and a bottle of water. Yes, I carried six spare magazines. Some might scoff at the idea but reality has a way of hitting you upside the head and once gunfire erupts I've never heard anyone complain about having too many bullets.

The magazines I selected were the excellent Magpul PMAG magazines. The PMAG design has proven itself to my satisfaction on the range and on the street by serious operators. With anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower the PMAG design incorporates space age polymer design to prevent corrosion while still being tough as steel mags.

Conclusion

Part of the cop business is going where they send you. In this case that meant to uniform patrol, night shift and to wherever else dispatch sent me or situations that proactive patrolling placed me in. Times have changed since I last worked a radio car with improvements in computer equipment and the like. So too, weaponry has improved. I wanted these advancements to work for me as I suppose you would like them to work for you. That meant a quality carbine with quality accessories and equipment to let me do my job. I didn't need it during my short return stint to the road but I had it and that's comforting in and of itself.



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