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You don’t have to look far to find video on the Internet of law enforcement officers discovering during a vehicle rescue or tactical situation that a baton is not an ideal glass-breaking tool. Glass is tough. And it’s getting tougher as new formulations and composites are developed.
That’s why retired law enforcement officer and search-and-rescue operator Dave Krueger invented a collection of what he calls “X” products. The “X” stands for extraction, and his inventions are designed to easily shatter glass and help police get to crash victims and suspects. Uniqative, the company Krueger founded, now makes the X-Ball, X-Pole, and X-Baton.
The X-Ball debuted at the 2019 Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, but Krueger started developing the product in 2014. Uniqative’s first X-Ball was a simple half-pound sphere. It worked really well on side windows of vehicle, but windshields presented a challenge. With the help of an engineer friend, Krueger went back to the drawing board and created an X-Ball that is optimized for breaking laminated glass.
Uniqative’s latest X-Ball is a one-pound ball with a geometric design of 12 facets. Each facet on the metal ball is rubber covered and sports a screw-in metal cleat with a carbide steel tip. That tip is the secret sauce of the X-Ball.
“Glass wants to flex,” says Krueger. “The X-Ball doesn’t allow the glass to flex because it always hits on the carbide steel tips and that makes the glass shatter.”
Krueger says he added the X-Pole as an attachment for the X-Ball to give the X-Ball more utility and to enhance officer safety. The X-Pole is a static steel pole that is 32 inches long and allows officers to break and rake glass. It can be used on vehicles and on building windows.
Both the X-Ball and the X-Pole allow officers to break glass from a distance. Krueger says the X-Pole and X-Ball combination can be used to give officers a tactical advantage when they have to break a suspect’s vehicle window. “Officers can approach the windows of a vehicle from the parallel instead of from perpendicular,” he explains. “By approaching parallel from the rear of the vehicle, I can retreat to the back of the vehicle and use it for cover if the suspect exits with a gun or knife.”
Another “X” product from Uniqative is the X-Baton. It’s an expandable baton with a difference. Instead of a blunt “button” on the end of the baton, the X-Baton features half of an X-Ball. It has a total of six cleats for breaking the glass and a rake for removing the shards. Krueger says officers who carry the X-Baton need to carry another baton as a defensive weapon because the X-Baton is designed specifically as a glass breaker. He adds that the X-Baton is proving popular with highway patrol troopers who can carry it in a pocket. In fact, the new product was actually requested by troopers.
Krueger says he’s very proud that the “X” line of products from Uniqative has the potential to save lives and it has saved at least one. He tells the story of a suicidal subject who locked himself in a vehicle and was threatening to shoot himself. “Officers threw two X-Balls through the rear window of the vehicle. He surrendered and he got the help he needed,” Kruger says. “I want to make products that save the lives of officers and other people,” he adds.
The “X” products are available now for $99 each from Uniqative. Law enforcement officers and agencies receive a 10% discount.