Today’s soldier or security professional is carrying more high-tech gear than ever before, as communications, vision aids and information systems become more vital to what we do. When you want to operate continuously day and night, coordinate complex operations over long distances and share intelligence instantly between surveillance platforms and the shooters on the ground, you need more than a map, compass and Prick-77. That means data-capable radios, thermal imagers, smartphones, even tablet and laptop computers are becoming commonplace items – and all that stuff is too easy to break.
Electronics are a lot more vulnerable to shock or impacts than traditional infantry gear, and they can also suffer badly from water, dust and other environmental hazards. Your equipment will stay in working order a lot longer if you choose the right protective case to put between it and the world. Luckily, case technology has improved a lot too, and there’s a good selection of tough containers that give excellent protection for the lowest possible weight and bulk.
Pretty much anything that’s being shipped by military movers really needs a solid case; those guys are professionals but they’re moving a lot of heavy loads and often working very fast, so things get bumped. To safeguard radios, computers and night vision gear in transit, it’s very hard to beat Pelican boxes. These have to be the ultimate flight cases, available in a huge variety of sizes – there are even laptop versions and a document case – with great shock proofing and fully waterproof seals. They have equalization valves to prevent any issues in unpressurized transport airplanes and secure fasteners that can take any decent padlock.
Weapons can also use some protection while you’re traveling, both to save them from unnecessary bumps and to present a less overt appearance if you’re transiting civilian airports. Blackhawk and 5.11 have some very tough and flexible weapons cases that suit the full range of firearms, from handguns to DMRs and sniping rifles. Don’t forget your accessories either; if you’re carrying your weapon but don’t expect to use it anytime soon, a good cover can add to the life of your optics.
You should also have cases to protect the gear you take out on operations, and those will have some different requirements. You still need something tough enough to protect the contents, but it needs to allow for fast, easy use as well. Good examples are the Magpul iPhone case – styled after their famous PMAG magazines – and the 5.11 Tactical battery case. That’s right – soaked, damaged spare batteries won’t do you any good.
New equipment brings new threats, and the last thing you want is a potential adversary to turn your own tools against you. Many smartphones and tablets emit location signals even when powered down, and can even be vulnerable to a skilled hacker. Eliminate that risk with the Blackhawk Under the Radar series of electromagnetically shielded cases. They’ll even stop unauthorized RFOD scanners stealing data from your credit cards and passport.
Good performance needs good gear, but even the best gear won’t survive long if you don’t look after it. Good cases are one of the most cost-effective investments you can make. A Pelican case might cost a few hundred dollars, but compare that to finding that your laptop full of essential files has fallen victim to the loadmaster’s leaking Big Gulp, and you’ll see it makes sense.