How many teams out there have a K9 member?
Sweden’s SOE are a team apart. Rocking the ‘Polisim’ mindset, they care not for the current fashion of airsoft law enforcement load outs. For many members, it’s a way of life.
Normally I’d have explained what SOE stands for by now. But, in keeping with the special operations asset mindset, they don’t shout about the meaning and keep it close to their chests…
TRH: Tell me about SOE.
Most of the guys on the team are active duty military, medical or law enforcement personnel. We use airsoft weapons as training tools, to compliment the training we do at work. We started to train in SWAT equipment because it had a carry over to our working lives, but also because we didn’t want to do the exact same thing in our spare time as we do in our jobs. Recently we’ve started to develop a military loadout as well, based on Särskilda Opertationsgruppen (SOG).
We train the same way in SOE as we would with simunition or blanks in our real jobs. Because we come from different units and workplaces, we can learn from each other and further develop our individual skill sets. We are firm belivers in stress inoculation training. We also enjoy spending time together and we like what we do.
The abbreviation obviously come from milsim. While milsim often has a focus on role playing and the shooting side of things, we are more focused on the tactics, individual skill sets, threat assessment and proper use of force. We belive that if you have experienced a situation in a training scenario, you will have a faster OODA-loop (observe, orient, decide, and act) when you face a similar situation in reality.
Each scenario is designed to test or develop a specific aspect. Most of us train for the real deal. However, understanding the limitations and possibilities with airsoft weapons is key. Something that works in an airsoft environment isn’t always the same thing that works in reality. If it doesnt work in reality, it has to go!
Within the Polisim gear choices you have, where do you sit between picture perfect impression and performance optimisation?
We are inspired by Piketen and Ordningspolisens nationella insatsstyrka and we have a ‘full kit’ that everyone is supposed to have, but we can also customize loadouts; depending on what we train for and what we want to use. If it has been seen on the real operators we can wear it. If it’s highly likely that they wear it, we can also wear it. As Freddy from HADES said, within a set framework, we wear what works for us.
I prefer to set up my gear to my liking and use. I dont have unnecessary stuff just for looks (except for the B&T suppressor on my G36c). A lot of people run around with a tourniquet for the looks. We actually have a use for it when we train, or have to apply that in scenario situations. The same thing goes for the IFAK pouch and first aid kit that we use.
For Milsim, you rock the SOG impression. Aside from using a G36c, to me the SOG loadout looks very similar to other contemporary western Tier 1 special forces. Is it?
The SOG loadout is similar in many ways to modern SAS/SBS, Norwegian SF and Danish SF from what I have seen: Blue Force Gear, First Spear, Arcteryx LEAF, Tyr, Ops-Core, Crye, etc. There is undoubtedly a lot of cross-pollination and blending of ideas amongst the Tier 1 echelons who play together in the wild.
However, SOG themselves also use the combat uniform from a Swedish company called Taiga, in Sweden’s very own M90 camo. They also wear vests and plate carriers from another Swedish company called SnigelDesign – I guess in much the same way that some SAS/SBS guys use the UK’s C2R. Dependable, well made local products, built with direct input from the operators themselves.
Back to the G36c – would it be your choice of blaster, if it wasn’t loadout-specific?
I’ve always been a huge fan of the G36 platform. The only thing that can be improved on are the standard magazines. They’re too bulky for a 5.56 magazine in my opinion. G36 Pmags are great, though, as is the ability to use an M4 mag well adaptor.
But, the platform I would most likely adopt given the choice would be the Diemaco C8 SFW. There’s just something about it, and the way Danish and Canadian SF have it setup…MMMMMHHHH!
What’s working well in your SOG loadout right now?
Everything is working well, but if I had to choose something specific it’d be the Blue Force Gear PLATEminus V2. A really nice, comfortable PC that fits like a glove.
A lot of guys seem to be switching out Crye’s G3 combat pants for LEAF’s Assault Pant AR. I noticed you’d acquired the LEAF product recently – how do they compare to the G3?
LEAF’s fabric and stitching is better quality than Crye’s. Also, the way the side cargo pockets are constructed and their accessibility is an improvement over the G3. The pants come with soft knee pads, too, which is a nice touch.
Lastly: you mentioned Snigel. Are there any other domestic Swedish or European gear makers you want to give a shout out to?
Just to emphasise: we use A LOT of gear from SnigelDesign! They make a ton of great gear for both the police and armed forces. We also use clothing from NFM and Lundhags.
A massive thanks to SOE’s E7 for all the time and effort he put into this interview. Thanks also to other team members, who were able to flesh out a few areas. For reasons of consistency I’ve portrayed the team as speaking with one voice; which I don’t think is too far from the mark, because this certainly is a proper team which works as a single entity.