What Does It Weigh? – 25lbs to 30lbs. This is one of the most common questions we get asked during the community academy and when we are out and about. “What does all that gear weigh?” An average fully loaded duty belt with the minimum required gear is approximately 25lbs to 30lbs. Pictured today is the exact same gear worn two different ways.
Just about anyone who has been a police officer for awhile will tell you that their backs, hips and knees hurt as a result of the gear over time. During each shift, an officer will get in and out of their vehicle approximately 50+ times putting pressure on their knees (especially the left one) under the weight. While seated in the vehicle for a large portion of the shift, the gear will dig into their thighs, hips and back causing pinched nerves, discomfort and other issues. Many officers suffer from chronic back, hip and knee pain as a result. Others have had surgery to repair damage caused over the years by the gear they must wear daily.
In recent years, you may have seen officers locally and nationwide transitioning to wearing load-bearing outer vest carriers with a lot of the gear on the vest rather than on the belt. While these may have a “tactical” appearance, their function is to remove the pressure from the hips and back and evenly distribute it across the shoulders and chest. It also relocates to the vest the majority of the gear from the duty belt that causes pinched nerves and pressure when seated in the vehicle. Officers who have switched to the vests have reported significantly less back and hip pain as a result and a huge increase in comfort when seated in their vehicles. They are also much more breathable and cooler during the hotter months of the year. This reduces the risk of long-term back, hip and knee injuries.
For officers who do not wear outer carriers, suspenders and duty belt support pads are authorized for wear to help alleviate chronic back and hip pain. Daily stretching and maintaining a high level of physical fitness is also encouraged and practiced by most officers.
Below is a breakdown of what uniformed officers carry on their person each day.
-Pistol with attached light
-2 spare pistol magazines
-2 pairs of handcuffs
-Radio & radio mic
-1 to 2 flashlights
-1to 2 tourniquets
-Knife with seatbelt cutter
-Body Worn Camera