According to company literature Safariland has been around since 1964. My own experiences go back to 1980 or thereabouts when I first purchased one of their duty belts using (at that time) the advanced technology of Velcro. With the acquisition of the Bill Roger's holster company in 1985, Safariland incorporated Roger's use of plastics in holsters. This culminated in the production of the SSIII holster (Safariland model 070 today) and the three levels of security holsters as designated by Rogers. Safari-laminate (sandwiched plastic between layers of leather) allowed an up to then unknown level of molding and durability.
Several years ago Armor Holdings began acquiring other companies such as Federal Labs, Break Free, Defense Technology, Monadnock and many more. BAE Systems purchased Armor Holdings in 2007 and became BAE Systems Products Group. Last year BAE became Safariland and now markets 19 of law enforcement's most well known brands under the Safariland name. Confused? Don't be, the products you've all come to know and love are still there under the Safariland name.
New for 2010
I took some time to spend with the fine folks at Safariland at their booth. I planned to spend some time because they were offering so many new products. Safariland's Tom Campbell showed me some new and interesting designs for this year.
Designed to work with the military's Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE), the Quick Locking System (QLS) uses polymer "forks" on the Molle Locking System (MLS) to lock equipment to either the MOLLE vest or onto the MLS17 which can be affixed to MOLLE or screwed down to a thigh platform, belt, vehicle or anything else. This allows an officer to remove his duty holster from the MLS on his duty belt and transition it to a thigh platform for SWAT duties.
The equipment version of this system is known as the Equipment Locking System (ELS) and will allow you to add and remove equipment from your belt without taking everything off to do so. A belt will be available from Safariland with holes in it for various pieces of MLS hardware attached equipment to be custom fitted or removed depending on your mission. Rolling on a man with gun call? Grab a thirty round M16 mag from your patrol unit and snap it into place on your belt using ELS. Going to court and don't need all your equipment? Remove those items you don't need easily with the ELS system.
The new Slimline magazine carriers position your spare mags facing out away from the belt which reduces the width of the carrier. The Slimline design is available for two or three mags and either open or with a flap.
Protech Patroller FR (First Responder) Ballistic Shield
With the promulgation of first responder tactics for active shooters, Safariland has developed the Protech Patroller FR shield with the patrol officer in mind. At 8.5 lbs. this 18" X 24", IIIA ballistic shield offers responding officers more ballistic protection than their standard concealable vest while advancing down a hallway or through an open area. Shields are not just for SWAT teams and the Patroller design makes affordable ballistic technology available to uniformed officers.
Safariland also has a First Responder Kit to deal with active shooters. The kit includes: Level IIIA shield, helmet, 10" X 12" hard plate designed to stop 7.62 X 39mm AP rounds (AK47 caliber) which fits in a plate harness that has MOLLE tabs affixed to allow you to mount additional pouches or magazine carriers. The kit comes complete with a carry duffle bag.
Another Protech product unveiled by Safariland in Vegas was the expansion of their IMPAC hard plate line. The hard plates are available in a variety of different threat levels - from high velocity handgun, edged weapons or spiked weapons to high power rifles. The plates come in a variety of different sizes: 5"x8", 7"x9" and 10"x12" and can be slid into a concealable vest when responding officers are rolling on a high risk call or rifle armed suspect.
Sarariland changed a lot after my first purchase back in the day, grew by leaps and bounds with the BAE Systems Products Group purchase and now the overall name change to Safariland. But fear not, regardless of the name, the quality and innovation has not changed - interesting times and designs from Safariland.