Everything Needed, When Needed

Law enforcement officers may soon be able to wear their rifle bag as a source of body armor.

Consider a plain-clothes detective on surveillance, an officer on patrol, or the first responder to a heavily armed threat situation. Discretion and quick response are key to their mission's success and safety.

Often, a detective or first responder would wear a standard concealable Level IIIA vest under their clothes but keep rifle protection in an external carrier or leave a plate carrier in a vehicle — away from reach. The opportunity to provide this secondary source of ballistic protection with access to a rifle/long gun weapon system in one reach would be beneficial.

A multi-purpose rifle/armor bag, the Rapid Deployment Armor Bag (RDAB), was designed by Ken Blakeley, CEO of Rapid Deployment Protection Systems Inc. in Bowie, Maryland. This patent-pending system provides law enforcement with a quick ballistic protection solution against pistol and rifle caliber ammunition, along with long gun weapon system access.

Recently, Rapid Deployment Protection Systems teamed with Point Blank Body Armor, a Pompano Beach, Florida, manufacturer of personal ballistic armor, to manufacture, market and sell the RDAB.

When needed, the RDAB transforms from a rifle/long gun weapon system carrier bag to a wearable secondary source of ballistic protection.

"Over the course of the last 10 years, law enforcement has seen bigger and better rifles, but not protection against those rifles," says Blakeley. "The key concept of the RDAB is that it's a discrete carrying case that converts to tactical body armor within a short period of time."

"It provides another layer of additional protection to the standard vest," says an undercover federal law enforcement officer. The RDAB is rated to protect against all pistol caliber ammunition and has the ability to provide the wearer rifle-caliber ammunition protection at a moment's notice.

In addition to the RDAB's natural ballistic protection, "Universal Plate Carrier Technology" allows the wearer to utilize any standard 12-inch by 10-inch flat or curved 1-inch-thick or smaller ceramic or steel ballistic plates. Plates are sold separately.

Everything in seconds
Donning the RDAB entails a few quick, simple and logical steps:

Step 1: Remove the rifle or long gun weapon system.
The RDAB is not designed to serve as a duffle bag for an officer's gym socks or basketball shoes.

"It is large enough to be used as a tactical bag with room for a rain jacket, backup weapon or spray" adds an undercover federal law enforcement officer.

Different versions of the RDAB can incorporate multiple sizes of rifles and weapons.

The original RDAB accommodates short-barreled rifles, sub-machine guns, or short-barreled shotguns with collapsible stocks. Newer designs incorporate a U-shaped zippered sleeve — allowing longer weapons to fit within the bag. Ballistic panel dimensions and vest sizes are universal in all versions.

"For example," adds Blakeley, "the most common patrol rifle — the M4 with a 16-inch barrel and a collapsible stock — would fit the third version."

The RDAB's weapon accommodation includes:

Version 1 — 24-inch weapon;

Version 2 — 28-inch weapon;

Version 3 — 32-inch weapon;

Version 4 — 39-inch weapon; and

Version 5 — 45 inch weapon.

Before full deployment, the RDAB converts to a backpack through two hidden straps. A zipper holds the bag shut until deployed into a vest.

Step 2: Fully unzip; opening the bag into a vest.
As a vest, the RDAB provides storage for extra rifle and pistol magazines, a flashlight, flex-cuffs and attachment points for a gas mask or medical kit.

"It is like going from having next to nothing to everything at once," says Blakeley.

The front and back panels are equipped with ballistic protective material and provide hidden VELCRO flaps for clear white-lettered "POLICE" markings.

Step 3: Swing the rear panel over head.
The two panels become the front and back of the vest.

Two straps inside unfold and are positioned upon the shoulders for weight support.

The "Universal Plate Carrier Technology" pouches are located in the upper chest, back and lower abdomen. The upper chest and back hold a 10-inch by 12-inch plate while the lower abdomen holds an 8-inch by 10-inch plate. With the insertion of ceramic or steel ballistic plates the bag's ballistic resistance increases. The plates provide Level III or IV protection for 10 hits from an M-16, six from an AK-47 or three hits from a .308 rifle. The standard vest typically runs to an officer's waist or gun belt while the RDAB protects a few inches further. "Basically, rifle protection runs from collar bone to groin," says Blakeley.

Step 4: Connect the straps, securing vest to body.
Side straps on the outside secure the panels to the torso and back. However, these straps provide no ballistic protection. The front/back panels protect when going head-to-head or face-to-face. With this issue, the RDAB should be used in conjunction of the regular or standard vest.

The RDAB's protective insertion plates can range from 3 to 5 pounds. It and two plates range from 14 to 17 pounds not including the weight of the gun, ammunition or any additional attached equipment.

The RDAB is available in OD green and black. .

The RDAB is an all-in-one bag combines the officer's rifle or long-gun weapon system with an additional layer of ballistic protection. The ability to unite two vital pieces of equipment into a single device creates an important convenience for law enforcement.

Consider the time required for a patrol officer to return to his vehicle to obtain a needed ballistic plate. Think about the impact on an officer's safety if he lacks a quick source of ballistic protection. Now consider the potential impact to an officer's response and safety when he has additional ballistic protection and his rifle/long gun weapon available in one reach.

The RDAB is both a tactical rifle bag and provides ballistic protection law enforcement officers require, bridging the gap between tactical SWAT and tactical officer equipment.