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Failure points

Understanding the Importance of Identifying Failure Points in Your Gear

Red dots, scopes, magazines, expensive guns, and High-Points—all your gear has one thing in common: a failure point somewhere. Some may be more severe than others; for example, a High-Point will have more failure points than a Shadow System. The key is to understand the failure points in your equipment and work to limit them.


In the world of police work, many officers spend a significant portion of their paychecks on gear each month. They constantly buy the latest handcuffs, pouches, or cool new flashlights. However, some officers don't consider how their equipment might fail them or what happens if it does. I've seen several examples of this throughout my time as a police officer.


I had a partner who was possibly the biggest gear enthusiast I've ever known. One day before our shift, he proudly showed me a new tourniquet (TQ) and a nifty new belt holster he had bought. While I was glad to see he invested in a quality TQ, I had one question: why wasn’t it mounted on his duty belt? He responded that it was uncomfortable, so he kept it in his driver-side door. I told him that after he bleeds to death, I would inform his mother that it was crazy because he had a TQ in his driver-side door. He didn't appreciate that response very much.


This officer had the best intentions when he bought a high-quality TQ and belt holster. However, he failed to recognize a critical failure point: if the TQ isn't with you, it’s useless. After our talk, he made room on his belt. I could tell countless stories about pointless gear purchases, but how do you prevent them? Before buying, ask yourself these questions: what problem is this solving? In what situation am I most likely to use this? What could cause the gear to fail?

Examples: Pistol Red Dots

  • Problem solved: Better shooting / faster target acquisition.

  • Situation: Any time the pistol is drawn.

  • Failure points:

  • Solar panels: If the panel cracks, will it allow moisture in that will kill the optic?

  • Open vs. closed emitter: Are you in an environment that may allow debris to block the emitter?

  • Temperature fluctuations: Are you using it in an environment that may cause the glass to fog, such as moving from a hot squad car to negative degree temperatures outside?

All of these failure points can be addressed, or potential issues mitigated, but they need to be considered before the gear is put into place.

By thoroughly evaluating your equipment and understanding its potential failure points, you can make more informed decisions and ensure that your gear will perform when you need it most.

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