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March 22, 2012
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Dennis Haworth Firearms Training & Equipment
with Dennis Haworth

The Scopecoat optics cover solves several problems

Scopecoat has been around since 1994 and over the years has earned a good reputation in the shooting world

“New equipment is not going to solve a training issue.” This simple phrase was pounded into my head by my early range master instructors. The concept is that by simply replacing a tool, you as the instructor, are not solving the user’s failure to perform a task. The same goes for eliminating training in a certain area because your students cannot grasp the concept or fail at the physical act. It just means that you have to find new ways to approach the issue until you provide what the student needs to succeed. As Law Enforcement firearms instructors it is not our job to hire them, we must train them.

As much as I believe in this mantra, I am not blind to the fact that new tools or modified tools can serve to overcome difficulties in training or enhance a student’s ability to perform. A simple example is teaching reloading techniques for the revolver vs. the semi-auto handgun. Sure Jerry Miculek can reload a revolver faster than 99 percent of the cops on the street can reload their auto pistols, but he is the exception not the norm. Most shooters find that they can reload the auto pistol much faster and easier than a revolver simply because they are lining up one large object, the magazine, with its proper channel versus six small bullets with their six corresponding chambers.

So if your only goal is to increase reload times, the semi-auto pistol will assist the majority of you shooters. The use of a weapon mounted light is another example. Having a weapon mounted light versus using the weapon in conjunction with a handheld light is simply easier, making the task of searching and getting rounds on target easier to accomplish.

This brings me to my most recent conundrum. My agency has issued the Aimpoint T1 red dot optic for the last five years. To say that my officers love them would be a gross understatement. One training issue that I have been dealing with since the day we got the Aimpoints has been the lens covers. The T1 is supplied with an effective black rubber “bikini” lens cover to protect the front and rear lenses from damage and debris. On the range, some of my officers — and it’s never the same ones — will forget to remove the lens cover when they step up to the line to qualify.

In the past, I had reminded them in an effort to drive the training point, but for the last year I have just let them index on the target to find the optic obstructed by the cover. They understand the issue, but when distracted or under stress, this continues to be an ongoing and consistently inconsistent problem. During this same time, some of our lens cover straps have broken from use and exposure from sitting in the patrol cars for hours on end. Without replacements in stock some have had to go without.

Enough had broken that it was apparent I needed to order replacement covers. When it comes to equipment, I try to not just order what we’ve had in the past, but to take the time to see what is available now or to learn from our past experiences and move to a better solution if one exists.

I attended this year’s SHOT show with the intention of finding out what products were available that would work just as well if not better than, the supplied lens covers. I met with representatives of Scopecoat to see what they could offer. Scopecoat has been around since 1994 and over the years has earned a good reputation in the shooting world. The company started out making a product that would provide complete protection for rifle scopes, not just the lenses, that was practical, inexpensive, and adjustable.

Their products are constructed using high-quality Neoprene cores of various thicknesses then laminated with Nylon. The Neoprene draws moisture and condensation away from the scope to help protect it from the elements as well as providing a protective cushion. They claim that this simple yet effective design safeguards your scope against dings, scuffs, scratches, dust, dirt, and moisture. Over the years I had noticed that they had added various colors to the product line. This gave me an idea of how to kill two birds with one stone.

I sat down with the reps and explained my need for a better, more durable lens cover and asked if they thought their product could meet my expectations. We talked at length about the quality of their product and the fact that by using the Scopecoat, not only would the lenses of our T1’s be protected, but the entire optic would be surrounded by a Neoprene protective layer. I explained to them how some of my officers have lost their issued lens covers due to their small size and black color and how officers were forgetting to remove the covers during training. I asked if they could make the cover in bright red to aid in locating a removed cover but more importantly to provide a visual cue to the officer that the cover was in place and needed to be removed. Their response was to show me products already made in bright red and explained that this is a “standard” custom color they offer. I was provided with a T&E sample cover for the T1 so that we could evaluate the product before purchasing.

When I returned to work I placed the sample cover on my duty rifle and used it and abused it for several weeks. I had not broken or damaged it and it still was just as tight as the day I put it on. We ended up ordering red Scopecoat T1 covers for every officer plus a few extra. My officers like the new covers very much and have found them to be easier to remove than the original rubber “bikini” covers. They like the fact that the entire optic is covered and protected. What they really like is the red color. One remarked to me that it reminded them of the red safety and warning tags used on parked aircraft. Our new red Scopecoat’s function quite the same. Maybe we should have had Scopecoat custom print “Remove Before Flight Firing” on top of them.

So did I find an equipment solution to a training issue? Well, yes and no. I found a piece of equipment that will assist my officers in remembering to complete the task of removing the lens cover before deploying their rifles. They still have to remove the cover to employ the optic — I just found a way to make that easier to accomplish.

About the author

Dennis Haworth is a police officer with a California state law enforcement agency. He has been a law enforcement range master and armorer for more than a decade. Haworth has served as a police academy instructor and has taught specialized courses on several subject matters. He has been involved in product testing for professional associations, manufacturers and law enforcement agencies. He has a BS in Criminology and an MPA with a specialization in human resources management. Much of his free time is spent as an advisor to the Shooting Sports Club at his local University of California campus.

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