Advanced Baton Technology and how it Benefits Officers
The classic friction lock baton is simple and incredibly reliable—that’s why so many officers have depended on it for so many years. But its main drawback is that not all situations or environments provide suitable opportunities to execute the dynamic techniques required to open or close the baton. You might run into situations—crowded scenes, small homes/trailers, etc.—where it isn’t safe or ideal to swing your arm to open your Friction Baton, or you might just want to be a little more subtle about it. Conversely, you might not have the environment or opportunity to impact-close the weapon when it’s no longer needed. If you’re like me and live near lakes, oceans, marsh lands and/or swamps, it can be especially challenging to find an unforgiving hard service on which to perform the “combat close.” Perhaps you can relate to this experience: you’re running after a subject, and during the foot chase he stops, places his hands behind his back, compliant and ready to be cuffed. But your Friction Baton is still open, and you have nowhere to close it. Yes, it can be safely holstered while extended (what we call the “open mode”) in a SideBreak Scabbard, but it’s a temporary storage solution… and your department may not even issue that scabbard.
All other things being equal, most would agree it’s more efficient and desirable to have the option to extend the baton by simply pulling it open, and close it without having to kneel down and perform the impact close. Enter the ASP Talon Baton.
In terms of fundamentals, tactics and techniques, the Talon is used in exactly the same way as the Friction Baton. However, the Talon Baton can be opened either dynamically (“to the sky” or “to the ground”), or with a simple fingertip extension. And it can be closed into your hand—or directly into the scabbard—just by pushing a button (or cap) and compressing the shafts (Talon Batons are never impact-closed). This gives you the ability to easily, efficiently and safely transition to another tool on your duty belt, or quickly free your hands for handcuffing or other priorities. It brings more versatility and options to the table, and having more options is a good thing in most encounters on the street.
If you’re a die-hard Friction Baton user—or your agency requires it—that’s fine, it’s a proven tool that works. But if you’ve never tried a Talon Baton, see if you can get your hands on one; ask your agency to get Test and Evaluation (T&E) samples, visit an equipment distributor or ask a buddy who has one. It’s really all upside—and again, all your experience and training in de-escalation, strikes and other tactics will carry right over. You’ll just have a baton that’s easier to open and close in most situations.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you always choose the right tool on your belt for a given situation. Now more than ever, the expandable baton is often the best and safest choice, so the easier it is to access, present, use and stow that tool, the better.
Lieutenant, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
ASP Trainer since 2015