Top 10: Must-Have Police Gear That Your Department Won’t Buy You

must have police gear

Important for code browns and fingerprint dust.

Top 10: Must-Have Police Gear That Your Department Won’t Buy You

I’ve been combing through must-have police gear lists and I’m pretty sure most of them weren’t written by actual police officers. One of them suggested using chili powder to stop bleeding. What’s wrong with gauze, a band-aid, a rag, a t-shirt, a paper towel, tape, toilet paper, or a tourniquet?

The other lists that I found appear to be written by Captain Obvious himself. One list suggested I carry a Glock, baton, hand cuffs, and flashlight. Jeeze, I never thought of that.

After scouring the internet for hours in search of something useful, I decided you fine people deserved a real list. Of course I would love to have a super ultra tactical plate carrier, my own flying drone with HD camera, and a shotgun that shoots Taser rounds, but this is a no BS, must have police gear list.

Cheap pens

police gear

Don’t waste your good pens.

The most used, and most lost tool that officers use. No-one is using my Pilot Precise v7 RT, that’s my baby. Always keep a box of cheapo pens that you can throw out if needed.

I learned this my first week on patrol after responding to a domestic dispute. When I pulled up on scene, a man came out of the house covered in blood. The first thing he said was “I’m HIV positive”. Of course, I had to get a written statement. From then on out, I always had disposable pens on me and in my patrol car.

Our suggestion:

60 BiC pens for $4

Hand sanitizer

police gear

So you don’t bring all that crap home to your kids.

This goes along with my previous story. Go ahead and just buy sanitizer in bulk if your department doesn’t issue it. You’re going to use a ton of it. Sometimes you can’t get your gloves on quick enough and you end up touching something that you didn’t want to. I suggest the little bottles that you can carry everywhere and a nice big bottle to refill them. If you’re too cheap to buy your own, your local hose-draggers probably have some that they can give you if you ask nicely.

Our suggestion:

Small bottles that will go on a key chain. I like hanging one on my spotlight handle.

Huge refill bottle of hand sanitizer

Good jumper cables

police gear

You’ll need them.

Someone’s car is going to die. Your patrol car is going to die after you pull up on a hot call, turn the car off, and jump out while leaving your lights on to kill the battery. The little old lady’s car is going to die on the side of the road in the middle of winter. Your buddy’s car is going to die because the Sgt. doesn’t like him, so he was issued the crappiest car in the pool.

Go ahead and get a decent pair, because you will use them the rest of your policing career. Make sure they are durable and long because you will be parking in some awkward spots to use them. If you are willing to spend more, or your department policy doesn’t allow for vehicle-to-vehicle jumps, a jumper box can be a great investment.

Our suggestion:

Well priced 20ft jumper cable

Or if you want to spend the extra cash, a jump box can come in handy


police gear

Things that help you not die.

Not tourniquet, tourniquets. Plural. Always carry at least one tourniquet on your person. I know that not every department issues them. Even if you have to spend your own money, buy two or more. There are two different types of tourniquets: RATS and CAT. Both work very, very well to stop blood flow. I personally prefer RATS because they are easier to put on with one hand and are a bit more durable. If you go with a CAT tourniquet, Great American Rescue has the highest quality. According to Jeff Kirkham, the creator of RATS and 28 year Green Beret veteran, CAT tourniquets have a 10% failure rate. I’m not trusting my life to those odds if I’m bleeding to death.

My suggestion is that everyone you patrol with should keep their tourniquet in the same place, preferably on your weak hand side. Never use your tourniquet on another officer unless you absolutely have to, always use their tourniquet to ensure everyone has one just in case things get worse than they already are. Practice with whatever tourniquet you use. Practice with your eyes closed and practice using only one hand. Make sure you absolutely know how to use your tourniquet. (Protip: Tourniquets don’t go on necks for head wounds).

Stay tuned for a full video review of both tourniquets from Blue Lives Matter and how to use them.

Our suggestion:

North American CAT Tourniquet

RATS Tourniquet

CAT tourniquet holster

Baby wipes

must have police gear

Important for code browns and fingerprint dust.

Let’s face it, we all go out for Taco Tuesday sometimes. Baby wipes work wonders for those code browns that sneak up on you. A 12 hour shift absolutely sucks when you’re having stomach problems, do yourself a favor and always have baby wipes handy.

Baby wipes are an essential piece of police equipment also because they work wonders at removing finger print dust. If you’ve ever dealt with that crap, you know that water only makes it worse.

Our suggestion:

750 baby wipes

Simple First Aid Kit

police gear

For all the boo boos.

Tourniquets are extremely important to carry, but you also want to have a basic first aid kit for those little injuries. You’re going to get cuts jumping a fence or running through the woods. Some kid is going to fall off of his bike and you’re going to be the hero with some bandages (hell yeah, go police!). Your rookie is going to get a booboo and cry until daddy gives them a band aid.

Our suggestion:

$24 basic first aid kit

Key ring holder for your belt

police gear

Prevent angry sergeants by using this.

Because you will lock your keys in your car at some point. I always kept my key fob on one of these key ring holders to make sure that didn’t happen. I started doing this of course after I locked my keys in my car several times. These little guys will prevent the “Uhhhh… Sergeant I did it again” talks from happening.

Our suggestion::

Key Ring holder that will last you forever

If you are short on belt space, you can have one take the place of your belt-keeper.

Window punch / seat belt cutter combo

police gear

Cuts seat belts, breaks windows, and fits on a keychain.

Pretty self explanatory why you would need one of these. Punches are way easier to get through a window than your baton. You will probably use the seat belt cutter one day.

Our suggestion:

$10 window punch / seat-belt cutter combo

Multi tool

police gear

Great for pretty much anything.

I kept my toolbox in the trunk of my patrol car and it came in handy hundreds of times. If you don’t want to go through the trouble or spend the money on an entire toolbox, you can never go wrong with a decent multi-tool.

Our suggestion:

The classic silver leatherman

The black multi tool costs a little bit more

Car Seat Organizer

police gear

Great for organizing all your paperwork and the million other things you are required to keep up with.

Nothing worse than not being able to find the right tool when you need it. If you’re a solo cop, a car seat organizer in the passenger seat will make life so much easier.

Our suggestion:

Uncle Mikes offers one that hangs over your passenger head rest

If you need more room than that, Uncle Mikes also has an organizer that just sits in the passenger seat


This is all that I could come up with off of the top of my head right now. I do realize that I didn’t mention a knife, that will require a separate post entirely. We’ll be tackling the fixed blade vs. folder argument in the near future.

Do you think that we forgot to mention something? Go ahead and leave us feedback in the Facebook comments and we’ll add them to the next one.