Modifying a Harness Socket

DrillMaster Color Guard/Color Team, Instructional Leave a Comment

Some of my Certified US Ceremonial Guardsmen in Pennsylvania decided to get to work and modify their sockets. This modification is necessary, in my view, if you cannot obtain a better (metal cup) socket.

Why this Type of Socket Was Created

Law enforcement officers wear a duty belt usually made of leather, it’s part of their duty and dress uniforms. Even when taking part in ceremonies where one might think a weapon is not needed, they wear their duty belt. Many officers have two belts, one for daily wear and one for ceremonial-type wear often made of Clarino, a type of shiny patent leather.

The Better Colors Harnesses

On the belt are the necessary things required for the job including one or two pair of handcuffs in pouches, a radio pouch, their sidearm holster, magazine holster, and possibly other things. It’s heavy to say the least. Add to this a shoulder strap (used in the military to support wearing a sword, for LEOs, it can support the sidearm) that some departments include and there is not much room for a standard color bearer harness.

Images courtesy of www.glendale.com

Now, after all that, add a color bearer harness as pictured above. In some ways it’s just not going to work very well and that is why this adaptation to a popular (because it’s cheaper) harness was made.

At left is the harness and an adaptation with a belt. The top image is the double harness. “Double” because of the straps. Having the bottom of each strap attach to the socket frame is not good at all for balance. The bottom image is an adaptation putting the socket on a belt.

The socket frame looks like a badge and I can see the attractiveness here. But these sockets are poor. The floor of the socket is flat plastic and the ferrule of a guidon flagstaff slides around. There’s no solid placement for the ferrule (and they look cheap) and that’s why I absolutely do not like them. I much prefer the sockets you see in the collage of the Better Colors Harnesses above.

The Adjustable Belt Socket

Now we come to the version that helps unclutter the LEO who has a duty belt with a shoulder strap. This socket attaches onto the front of the belt with the leather loops that have snaps and is adjustable, but just a tiny amount.

It’s this type of socket that created the need for the adjustable length (telescopic) aluminum flagstaff (yet another thing I do not appreciate in the least, again, it looks cheap, and is).

This is the socket that was modified. The team that uses them, Pennsylvania State Troopers (my awesome trainees), is experimenting with wearing the Clarino harness, but in the interim, they have modified these sockets and the modification is outstanding.

How to Modify

Below is the test of the process that Trooper Greg Brown developed.

The washer is absolutely secured as the glue cured very well.

  • Used a 3/4″ drill bit to make the hole.
  • Cleaned up the rough rough edges.
  • Cleaned the inside of cup and the 5/8″ washer w/ alcohol
  • Applied painters tape under the hole to prevent glue from running out
  • Applied Loctite Super Glue to the inside bottom of the socket & bottom side of washer, then also around outside edge of washer to seal against the inside wall of the socket.
  • Flipped the socket upside down & applied glue to the joint where cup & washer meet.
  • Cured for at least 24 hrs.
Before, during, and after

From the front, you cannot tell a hole was drilled. Only “issue” is that the washer is not beveled downward towards the hole like that of the harness we like, thus you don’t get any assistance with seating the ferrule. You need to make sure it’s properly seated. It can be done but will just take practice to develop the muscle memory…otherwise I feel its a great alternative for people who 1) can’t afford the higher-end harnesses or 2) have issues with proper harness wear (like we do with our rigs).

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