The 2006 SHOT Show offered a feast for anyone with an appetite for firearms or outdoor sports equipment. But also hidden within the 1,870 booths covering 650,000 square feet of floor space at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, January 11-14, was a regular smorgasbord of items that could be applied by a technical investigator.
How's the weather?
Recording environmental conditions is becoming more important to an investigator. At interior scenes, temperature and humidity measurements, and accurate control, may be essential. Outdoors, temperature, humidity and wind conditions are of value to the investigator; tactical operators need wind, temperature and humidity details for snipers, and wind information for grenadiers.
To help investigators with these needs, Speedtech Instruments of Great Falls, Virginia, introduces its Windmate Series of handheld weather meters. The very affordable Windmate 350 incorporates an amazing number of features. First, the handle is a jackknife style, which keeps the hand from interfering with the sensors and also serves as a fold-out, convenient cover. In addition, the unit has a tripod fitting and attachment point for a lanyard. This device measures current, average and maximum wind with a variety of measurement systems. It also incorporates a digital compass, allowing the unit to determine wind direction, cross, tail, and head wind information. Its barometer supplies altimeter readings as well. The meter's humidity sensor provides relative humidity, wet bulb, dew point, and delta T measurements. Its temperature sensor records in both Fahrenheit and Celcius, and will calculate wind chill. The unit, which maintains a 48-hour history, will alarm if it senses barometric changes of a preset value, notifying the user of dangerous conditions.
The unit is built to military specifications, and is in use with the military. As such, it is available with a black handle/blue body or in coyote brown for military use.
If you only need wind information, look to the Windmate 100. The 200 adds temperature, the 300 humidity. If you are looking for a portable weather station to augment your crime scene, tactical or hazmat tool box, Speedtech's Windmate Series deserves a serious look.
Innovations in folding knives
Times change. For years, a folding, lock-back knife performed yeoman's duty for crime scene investigators (CSIs) and others involved with technical investigations. Today, cross contamination concerns require CSIs to constantly clean the blade, or carry a scalpel and swap out blades. Now a folding knife is available with a quickly swapped blade.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Havalon produces Piranta and Piranta-Z knives, which use a modified scalpel blade. The blade, a stainless-steel No. 60XT, snaps onto the mounting stud like any scalpel blade. It then becomes part of a folding knife, opening with a thumbstud, and safely locking open with a liner lock.
The original Piranta features a stainless-steel handle with inlaid G-10 grip panels. The Piranta-Z uses a black Zytel handle with inlaid rubber grip pads. Both knives feature an open-back design providing a clean tool, and a pocket clip for convenient carry.
A black nylon belt holster is available to carry the knife and a supply of blades. Spare blades are available at a very reasonable price, ensuring the investigator has ready access to clean, sharp blades.
Havalon is a division of Havel's Inc., which has been manufacturing surgical blades since 1981. Havalon has introduced a convenient, sharp and practical knife design of tremendous utility to any CSI, criminalist, bomb technician, or other technical specialist in the criminal justice field.
Toting gun evidence
Often, simple answers to problems have tremendous application. In Colorado, a hunter, tired of long hikes while trying to balance a rifle, looked at the carry handle on an AR-15. He thought: Why not on any long gun? He then invented the Guntrol Gun Carrier, a handle that is designed to snap onto any long gun at its balance point, without interfering with firearm function or sighting.