Most specialty units within the law enforcement community have one common problem. There just isn’t enough funding to get people equipped with the best gear out there. Whether it’s a budget issue or maybe the supervisors don’t see the need for these high-ticket items. Needless to say, some of us end up purchasing our own gear to use at work. If you’re anything like me, I’m into the newest and shiniest things out there. Some work great and some end up not being too useful. Either way, if you need something, purchasing it yourself could save you a ton of headaches.
I have been working a dual-purpose police K9 for quite some time now. During the course of my K9 career, I’ve used many different leads, harnesses, muzzles, and collars. There are so many companies out there that tout their equipment to be the best. I try not to buy into that. What really matters is the practical application of the equipment. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that if it works for you and your dog, stick with it.
I have been using a Combat K9 Cobra Harness by Fighter Design for approximately 6 months now. I came across the harness from another handler who gave it to me on loan until I was actually issued one that fit my dog. My first impression is how well the construction is when comparing to other brands.
There are several locations to integrate an IR beacon or other accessories. The four 1” Cobra buckle system is a great design addition. Since I don’t always keep a harness on my dog, I like how the buckles are quick and easy to attach prior to a tactical usage or search. One of the issues I’ve come across is how the ‘big box’ K9 harnesses tend to roll over on your dog when casting out during a search. The Cobra Harness doesn’t have that issue. Once it’s on, it remains very secure with the yolk system under the front two buckles. For me, the grab/carry handle is what really impressed me with this design. I know, I know, there are other harnesses that have an option to add one. I’ve used those but feel the Cobra Harness to be a better fit for me.
One of the hardest searches I’ve conducted was approximately 5 months ago. The terrain was pretty difficult to negotiate without injuring yourself or your dog. There were a series of small cliffs and drop offs that required me to ‘Aussie’ rappel my dog down and hoist him up. The Cobra Harness held up to everything I threw at it. Since my dog was in ‘odor’ of the suspect, he wanted to cut his own path by diving off the little cliffs. I was easily able to obtain optimal positive control. I really like grab/carry handle’s low profile design and how it’s easy to get to in the dark. I never had to fish for the handle because there was no noticeable movement in the harness during the search. Making a long story short, the suspect was eventually apprehended when he was located at the bottom of 10-foot drop off. I was able to give my dog enough lead to be nearly vertical over the bad guy; which had an awesome cool factor.
If you were in the market for a good piece of K9 kit, I would recommend the Cobra Harness. The company is based out of Austin, TX and all of their K9 products are made in the USA. I hear there are some additions coming soon. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of that top tier equipment. The Combat K9 Cobra Harness by Fighter Design is offered at http://www.fighterdesignusa.com for $420 MSRP.
The author of this article is full time law enforcement. His name is being withheld for security.
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