Admit it. You’ve complained at least once in your life about having to carry, lift, push, or pull something heavy while at work. Right? Well, try this on for size…suppose your boss told you that from this day forward you’d be required to wear a bowling ball strapped to your waist for each of your entire 8-hour shifts. Pretty crazy, huh? But not so crazy for patrol officers, because that’s exactly the weight they carry around their waists each and every day throughout their career. And that’s not including the heavy and cumbersome bullet-resistant vest tucked neatly under those ever-so-stylish uniform shirts.
So what’s on those duty belts that weighs so much? For starters…
Pistols are loaded with (depending on make and model) up to 16 rounds, or so. That’s approximately 1/3 of a box of bullets. (15 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. Cops always carry a round in the chamber. That slide-racking thing you see on TV is exactly that…for TV only!)
Some magazines contain 15 rounds. Therefore, 2 extra magazines = 30 rounds. 30 + the 16 in the pistol = 46 rounds. A full box of bullets = 50 rounds.
Radio w/clip-on external mic and speaker
Radio w/out external mic and speaker
Rechargeable metal flashlight
Some officers carry two sets of handcuffs. Others opt for one.
Two types of cuffs. Most officers carry the chain-link cuffs because they’re easiest to apply during a scuffle. Hinged cuffs are normally used when transporting prisoners, because the hinge design limits hand and wrist movement.
Two handcuff cases. Handcuffs are normally worn at the center of the lower back to enable easy reach with either hand.
The thin leather straps with the shiny silver snaps (between the handcuff cases) are called belt keepers. They’re used to attach the gun belt to the officer’s regular belt (the one used to hold up their pants). Keepers loop around both the gun belt and the regular belt, and are then snapped into place to prevent the gun belt from falling down. No fun when your gun belt falls to your ankles while chasing a bad guy!
Handcuff keys are available in several designs. However, they’re universal and each work on all standard cuffs. The bottom key in the above photo is the factory default key that comes with each new set of cuffs. The others are purchased separately, if wanted/needed.
Most officers now carry expandable batons, meaning a quick flick of the wrist and hand extends a hidden, telescoping length of baton. The end of the baton features a solid tip that maximizes the power of the baton when used for striking.
Suddenly that briefcase feels a little lighter, huh?