Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Prudent Prepping: the SFD Responder 2.0

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

I returned early Monday from a three-day seminar only to hear the all news radio station doing non-stop reporting on the shooting in Gilroy. 

Where I had been had very similar security: fencing to wall off attendees from the public, metal detectors, wanding and pat downs, bag screening and a very visible police/private security presence. I felt reasonably safe -- or as safe as anyone can be in a crowd of 15,000 people, in a basketball arena, in a major city. 

I did pack as much stuff as I reasonably could into my computer bag, including some first aid gear, but I carried it a little differently. 

Oh, by the way, I made it back with my Kershaw Leek in my luggage and not in a mailer!

SFD Responder 2.0
The initials SFD stand for Safer Faster Defense, the name of the company which produces the Responder. A friend of the blog wrote about his personal experience with it with enough of a glowing endorsement that I bought one a year ago.

Yes, I've had this for a year and haven't done a real test on it. Until now.

From the SFD website:
  • Pockets are made of 2 layers of tough elastic cloth, lightweight and breathable. It conforms to the contents inserted allowing for secure and discreet carry of the equipment when walking, running or jumping.
  • We added 2 vertical 1/2″ silicone strips in each pocket to further improve the retention of the equipment.
  • Open bottom pocket design helps to “stuff” equipment in and keep it there securely.
  • Bottom of the pockets is reinforced with MIL-W-17337, class II nylon webbing and won’t fray from rubbing on shoes/boots like the elastic cloth would.
  • Two PALS MOLLE laser cut in LAHYCO®, a proprietary blend of Hypalon® and Cordura® 500D, offer more storage options if you need it. Using Shock Cord, Velcro or small pockets.
  • The female Velcro cloth is sewn on 3D Air Mesh helping tremendously with comfort, fit and breathability.
  • We use the new Velcro Ultra-Mate® for the closing tab. This wide Velcro tab is more rigid and has smaller “teeth” than regular Velcro. It adheres better and stays put even when saturated with sweat or water.
  • Long enough to fit over most tall boots, duty, tactical or hiking.
  • Weight: 3.8 oz.
  • Dimensions: 20” L x 4” W. With the load in the pictures the SFD Responder is 1 ¼ inch thick max.
  • *Items shown are for size and NOT INCLUDED in the SFD Responder!

NOTE: I am not a medical professional and what I carry is not to be used as a first aid recommendation.

I've worn the Responder 2.0 several different times, but until last weekend I hadn't worn it long enough to get a feel for how it would be to wear it every day, several days in a row. I usually wear a belt kit containing the things talked about in this post; what made me change to the ankle kit at the conference was having to sit all day for three days listening to speakers. As mentioned, wearing my belt pouch while sitting or driving pushes the pouch into my hip with no way to find a comfortable position.

I've been asked why I don't wear the ankle band at work, and it boils down to fit. I can't get the Responder 2.0 to stay down when I'm wearing my work pants: they're regular cut and fit Levi's jeans, and the legs are a bit too narrow, which causes the pants leg to snag on the Responder and either pull the band up or cause the pants to ride up over the band. I didn't have this problem at the conference since the dress code was Business Casual and denim pants were not recommended. My slacks were wide enough to not ride up or pull the band up.

Getting it through security was very simple: I kept the band in my bag and put it on when I made it through the metal detector! I believe the big concern was obvious weapons, unsealed bottles and outside food. I wore it from 7 in the morning until 10 at night all three days with only one very minor problem: when wearing the Responder, it rubbed me very slightly above my socks. Now this was not enough to be a deal breaker, but from now on I will be wearing socks that are tall enough to extend above the Responder. In its defense I have to say that there were no lumps or rough edges that rubbed me raw; I just didn't like the feel of it against my skin.

One other point I'd like to make is the SFD Responder 2.0 is not cheap, and by that I mean it is both "not inexpensive" and also "made well". The quality and finish are obvious when you pick the band up and feel it, so there is definitely value here.

The Takeaway
  • Making compromises doesn't necessarily mean doing without.
  • I still need to be prepared, no matter the social situation.

The Recap
  • One SFD Responder 2.0 in black: $68.95 from their website, currently on back-order.
* * *

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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