For this week’s Friday Focus, we’re taking a look at a collaborative product of FirstSpear and K2 Solutions: the ECV or Ergonomic Canine Vest.
After two years of internal research and development, K2 and FirstSpear are pleased to roll out the first product in their joint tactical canine line. The K2-FirstSpear Ergonomic Canine Vest was designed by K2’s military working dog Veterinarian to allow for uninhibited stride and shoulder movement. Within the working dog industry, canine vests are used to carry communication devices, GPS and surveillance systems, medical kits, battery packs, and more. Current vest and harness designs tend to be heavy and only focus on load bearing capacity and equipment requirements. However, the handler must account for the payload’s impact on the working dog’s musculoskeletal system, mental and physical health, and performance longevity to maximize mission success.
Current vests and harnesses mimic human backpacks, where the main stabilization elements place majority of the load burden on the shoulders and scapulae of the canine. However, the canine skeletal system lacks a collar bone, contrary to humans, making shoulder-bearing loads prohibitive for performance. A canine’s forearms are connected to their body by a girdle of muscle, soft tissue, and skin. Vests designed to place the load on the canine’s shoulders and scapulae are inherently flawed for canine use and drastically impede the full range of motion of the canine forelimb. This severely impacts performance, muscle and joint health, and can result in injury or premature degradation of the canine musculoskeletal system. Moreover, effective equipment weight distribution must account for the canine’s stride and weight shifting in multiple directions simultaneously during patrol.
The Ergonomic Canine Vest is equipped with FirstSpear’s proven patent pending ultra-light 6/12 technology that drastically reduces weight when compared to standard MOLLE style vests and is fully compatible with FirstSpear’s lightweight 6/12 pockets as well as legacy MOLLE style pockets. The 6/12 field extends the entire height and length of the lateral midline, providing you with maximum position options for custom integration of your mission-specific equipment and sensors. The incorporated “Y” strap on the chest also places the main stabilizing anchor of the vest mid-sternum, as opposed to on the forelimbs seen with competing vests. The firm but cushioned ventral padding rests securely on the thorax and the dorsal region is equipped with loop on the upper and lower surfaces to allow for integration of custom K2-FirstSpear tactical canine accessories.
The ECV is the first of many revolutionary new products FirstSpear and K2 have developed to better serve the warfighter and law enforcement officer. Look out for more professional canine and handler products in the coming months. Pre-order now with Summer 2016 delivery.