A few months ago I was approached by a number of people specifically wanting advice on what they should do if they were out in public, legally carrying a firearm, and present when an "active shooter" event took place. Their actual actions and the morality / values that drove them were never in much debate. OF COURSE they were going to do all they could to protect their families and neutralize the shooter. The bigger challenge was how to identify themselves safely to responding law enforcement. Enter DSM Products Safety banners.
Now, to demonstrate, via photographs, the potential value of DSM Safety Banners I wanted to compare and contrast the difference with nothing truly identifiable versus having a banner I.D. So, pictured to the right, is my ugly mug in casual dress attire. (Bottom half of the comparison photo) Normally I'd have something on to cover the holstered pistol and the spare magazine pouch on my left side. But, setting aside the lack of an outer garment, if I were to come upon or suddenly find myself in the middle of a mass violence attack - such as an active shooter in a park or mall - this might be what you see if you're the arriving officer. A middle-aged white guy, crew cut, facial hair, weapon out and possibly engaging targets. Am I a good guy or bad guy? If I don't see you and take action to identify myself then there's a fair chance you may engage me with gun fire. What other choice do you really have? Sure, you can shout commands that I may or may not hear. You can NOT engage me because you're still assessing the situation, but if you can't tell bad guys from good guys and NO ONE is obeying your commands to drop a gun, then what choice do you have? Sad state of affairs: potential blue-on-blue shooting.
Now, setting aside the poor lighting conditions (which may well exist no matter where you go), the top half of that image shows me dressed the same way but wearing the DSM CCW Banner. Given the lighting in these photos you may not immediately recognize the "CCW" identifier sewn onto the reflective safety-yellow material, but would you at least slow down a shade before shooting me? I mean... what active shooter puts on a blaze-yellow banner?
Although not real easy to see in the pictures, the DSM Banner is carried on my left side, worn on my belt in a nylon pouch with double-secure closure (hook-n-loop and snap buckle). If I find myself in a situation as described above, I simply open the pouch with my off hand, grab the plastic "handle" that wraps around the banner, and pull the whole thing up and over my head. With a proper motion, in about two seconds, I have a reflective identifying banner crossing my body - front and back - from my gunside shoulder to my offside hip.
When I first saw this at TREXPO I thought, This HAS to be better than no ID at all and is certainly more visible even than a badge wallet held up. Think about it...
The whole thing is packaged in a nylon hip pouch that is about the same size as your typical magazine pouch or folding knife sheath. The banner has plenty of extra room in it when I pull it on and has an elastic section at the bottom to allow for even more growth. (I'm 5-10 and about 195 pounds and there is PLENTY of room in it). That extra size / length means you can also pull it on over a jacket or coat provided you can get to the pouch under that side.
As you can see in the first picture at the top right of this review, DSM Safety Products makes banners for POLICE, SECURITY, and CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) permit holders. According to the DSM Safety Products website you can also order such banners with other terms or words. I expect that SHERIFF and FBI (or other federal agency) will be on their "to do" list.
MSRP on a single unit is $30. To me, that is a more than reasonable price when you consider the potential value (ready identification and not getting shot). For buying in bulk or multiple unit counts, simply contact DSM Safety Products and they'll get you a price quote together.
I have to admit, I think this is a great idea. Having such ready identification solves some potential friendly fire / mistaken identity problems.