Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pro-Tec Ace Helmet- Military Version, US Navy SEALS, US Navy EOD

The other day while checking the local Goodwill store over in Silverdale, WA., I spotted a very unique piece of US Special Ops equipment............ A military version of the Pro-Tec Ace Wake helmet!  These are the non-ballistic "bump" helmets that are worn by the US Navy SEALS, EOD and some Special Forces for tactical operations when lightweight head protection is needed, without the weight and bulk of a full ballistic helmet.  Silverdale is a great spot to look for US Navy treasures since it is right in the middle of some of the Puget Sound's numerous Navy installations.

The thing that sets this helmet apart from it's civilian siblings, is the fact that this model is produced without shell vents.  These vent-less Pro-Tec Ace helmets are a mil-spec produced helmet for military and special ops use, specifically the US Navy SEAL's and EOD.  The Pro-Tec helmets are used by most of the world's Special Forces troops as well.  For a great discussion about the use of Pro-Tec helmets, of all models, and tons of photos of them in use, check out this forum thread over at

The US Navy EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) teams also use these helmets and you can check out some great info and photos in another thread over at that talk about and shop these teams in action.  Keep browsing through the entries and you'll see some great examples of Pro-Tec's in use by the EOD guys:

With all of that said...... here are some of the particulars about my helmet.  When I originally picked it up, it was a stock, gloss black.  I gave it a ultra-flat green paint job to get it ready for my own tactical use.  The plastic shell is lined with a dense, closed cell foam (like a rubber type of neoprene) with a bonded "fuzzy" fabric.  The pads are attached with two sided hook Velcro that allows the pads to be moved and arranged in any way you  want.  I am currently using two types of Pro-Tec pads in my helmet.  The helmet also has detachable ear flaps that are made of heavy ballistic nylon and lined with padding.  On the rear of the helmet is a rubber retaining strap for keeping your goggle in place.  All-in-all, it is a fantastic, lightweight, tactical helmet...... perfect for water-ops, building entry, or confined area, not to mention general operations where you want to move fast and light without the weight and mobility problems of heavy body armor.  In fact here is a page that shows another example of my version of the Pro-Tec............second helmet down on the page, click on the picture to enlarge:

Here's the photo album of my new Pro-Tec helmet...... first off, here is how the helmet looks being worn with goggles and a pair of ballistic glasses:

And now on with some shots of the helmet in detail:

Here are some great shots of US Navy SEAL's using this same style of helmet in our current Middle Eastern wars.......

And here are some US Navy EOD shots:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reno 911 Badge, Original Movie Prop

While cruising eBay a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across an amazing little piece of television law enforcement history.............  An original badge used in the Comedy Central television show RENO 911.  RENO 911 was an improvisational comedy show that ran from 2003 to 2009 on the Comedy Central Network.  The show was filmed with hand-held cameras in a documentary style that mirrored the old COPS reality TV show.

I found the badge listed in the wrong category (Men's Clothing Accessories), and I picked it up at a price that put a very big smile on my face!  I exchanged a few email messages with the Seller and he said that he had picked up several of the badges that had actually been used on the set during the filming of the TV series....... he skirted around the question of how he obtained them, but none-the-less, he did, and now I have one!

After searching the internet for photo stills from the show, and inspecting them closely, It appears that the badge I have matches the badges worn by the TV actors perfectly!  Comedy Central sells a souvenir badge that looks the same, but has the Comedy Central logo in the center instead of the state seal used in the actual TV show.  As far as I can tell, there are no commercial sources for a reproduction badge like the one I now have.

The actual RENO 911 badge is very unique in that it looks like a real department badge, but it is actually a conglomeration of bits and pieces of various department badges that do not correctly fit together....... First off, the actual sheriff's department with jurisdiction in Reno, Nevada is the Washoe County Sheriff's Department.  There is also a Reno, Nevada Police Department.......... the logo on the badge is a mix of the two.  

The state seal in the center of the badge is not from Nevada. It is actually the California state seal.  The show was filmed in Los Angeles County, California, and parts of Oregon, with some opening shots in Reno, Nevada.  This may be why the badge has the California state seal on it................ The Los Angeles County Sheriff's office in Carson, California was used as the set for the TV show's department office.

My RENO 911 badge has a very interesting marking on the back......... it is engraved with " MOVIE PROP ".  I don't think that a replica or novelty badge would have this marking.  In fact, I have never seen this marking on any of the replica TV and movie badges that can be commercially bought.

This RENO 911 badge is heavy and finely finished, exactly like a "real badge".  It is definitely not a cheap novelty knock-off!  Here a few more shots of the badge:

Now let's finish up with a look at a few photos of the RENO 911 television actor-officers:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Condor Tactical , OPS Chest Rig and Shotgun Reload Pouches

 After doing quite a bit of research, internet browsing, and head scratching....... I finally decided on the tactical MOLLE rig that I wanted to run with my new shotgun set-up.  The gear from Condor Tactical fit the bill perfectly and their price to quality ratio can't be beat.  

I picked up the Condor MCR4 OPS Chest Rig, and three of the MA61 Shotgun Reload  Pouches from Their prices were the best I could find anywhere, and they had a 20% off deal running through the month.  I placed the order on Saturday, it shipped on Monday, and I received it on Wednesday.  Now that is fast service!!!!  I highly recommend this company and I will be returning to pick up a few more pouches and a holster from them later this week.

I am really impressed with the quality, fit and design of this new Condor gear.  The chest rig and pouches are made in China out of a heavy Cordura nylon canvas, with heavy stitching and quality hardware.  The MOLLE webbing is sized and sewn perfectly so you won't have any problem weaving on your various pouches.  I chose the Coyote Tan color for my set up so that it would blend with just about any wooded or desert terrain and would also go with all of my camo gear.  After seeing the color in person, I am sure I made the right choice.

Let's take a little closer look at the OPS Chest Rig...........  This vest is designed to fit anyone from a size medium through a size XXL.  Since I am on the thinner end of the sizing range, I had to adjust the rear waist strap close to its shortest length.  This actually works great for me, as it allows the MOLLE "cumber-bun" portion of the vest to wrap around my belly and sides. All of the straps have a velcrow securing straps sewn to the bitter ends so you can roll up the excess and then secure it to the main strap.  A quality detail and feature that you will really appreciate.

The main MOLLE portion of the vest is double thick with three built in pouches between the layers.  There is a large 7x11 inch map pocket in the center lined with velcrow (soft "fur" side of the velcrow)  on one side with a velcrow strip along the top edge to close it.  On both sides of the map pocket is a narrower magazine pouch with bungee retainers on the top edge, and grommeted drain holes on the backside.

On the back side of the vest, there is an additional mesh pocket.  

The shoulder straps are well padded , but not too thick.  They fit quite well and are very comfortable.  There is MOLLE webbing over the shoulders to allow the the attachment of a knife or other small pouch.  All in all, the straps are low profile and do not interfere with shouldering a gun.  The straps cross in the back and there is a velcrow securing band at the junction to keep them here they need to be..... another great little detail.  The shoulder straps are attached with side release buckles in the front and button release, swivel buckles in the back.  The buckles are not the cheap grade often seen on lower end gear, but are actually the heavy duty type seen on rigs at a much higher price-point.  

I wanted to be able top carry a "significant" amount of shotgun ammo on my rig and the Condor Shotgun Reload Pouches fit the bill perfectly.  Each pouch will hold 25 rounds of 12 gauge or 20 gauge ammo.  With the three pouches I will be running on my rig, this will let me have one pouch for slugs and specialty rounds, one pouch for 00 Buckshot and one pouch for something like #4 Buckshot or target rounds.  That is a pretty good selection at your fingertips!  With the 7 rounds I can carry in the shotgun, this gives me a field load of 82 rounds!  If you can't take care of things with that many rounds, you're in BIG trouble!!!!

The pouches are a "break-away" design that can be accessed in stages, or just torn open.  The flaps are secured with heavy velcrow, and snaps.  You can use the velcrow alone for quick, tactical access, or use the addtional security of the snaps and velcrow, if you really need to button things up tight. 

The pouches can be accessed in "phases"......... first, the flap is lifted and the first, outer row of shells falls open.  This gives you access to two rows of 4 shells and one horizontal shell.

You can then "tear open" the pouch the access the rest of the rounds, or move over to the next pouch and access the next "top phase" of shells.  This gives you a faster, tactical reload option.  When the initial engagement is over, you can then move on the the second "tear open" phase of the pouches.  I will have to experiment with these concepts at the range to see how they play out in a "run-and-gun" scenario.

Here are a few more shots of the pouches to show you how they look all buttoned up and then expanded into their "torn open" configuration:

That about wraps up my review for today.......... I am sure I will have more to report after giving this new rig a workout at the range.  For now I'm running the three pouches evenly across the front, but I may end up shifting them over a bit to one side after I add a holster for the Colt .45 .

If the rest of Condor's tactical gear is as well designed and constructed as these pieces, I will definitely be longtime customer and user!!!!