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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 30, 2023

Coast Guard authorizes alternate uniform and weapon-mounted lights for law enforcement

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG staff writer

The Coast Guard recently made two generational policy changes for law enforcement designated units:  

  • Units may buy and wear law enforcement operational clothing designed to meet specific law enforcement operational requirements.  
  • Units can soon use weapon-mounted lights on the personal defense weapon. 

Law enforcement operational clothing  

Units can now buy law enforcement operational clothing (LEOC) for you to wear while conducting MLE training or operations. LEOC is an authorized alternative to wearing the operation dress uniform (ODUs) or dark blue coveralls while you conduct MLE.  

The LEOC, made by First Tactical, is functionally suitable and climate resilient for MLE training or operations. Though long sleeve and long pants, the fit, form and the breathable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you comfortable, cool and dry.  

The LEOC can only be procured with unit-appropriated funds. You cannot use personal funds to procure and wear the LEOC. The only authorized procurement source for the LEOC is through the Department of Homeland Security Strategic Sourcing Vehicle. The CG-MLE-2 sharepoint site lays out the procurement procedures. 

Some units may qualify for asset forfeiture funds to replace damaged uniforms in accordance with policy. Units can make such request to CG-MLE-2.  

The LEOC must be worn with the external body armor—not concealable body armor. You cannot put patches on the LEOC. 

Units may only use ODUs, the LEOC, or dark blue coveralls for MLE and must remove any other clothing items from service. Unit boarding team members must wear the same Coast Guard apparel. 

Dark blue coveralls remain an authorized alternative to the ODUs for MLE but must have four belt loops and be worn with keepers. The dark blue coveralls can be worn with either the external or concealable body armor. 

The Coast Guard’s Office of Maritime Law Enforcement Policy authorized this LEOC as a result of field feedback regarding the lack of breathability and climate resilience of the ODUs while conducting MLE.  

Weapon-mounted lights 

Designated law enforcement units may also opt to procure and install weapon-mounted lights (WML) on the new Gen 5 Glock 19 pistols. The Glocks will replace the Sig Sauers as the standard service personal defense weapon across the Coast Guard starting this July. 

Weapon mounted lights offer significant benefits in low-light situations as it provides for two-handed operation of the pistol resulting in increased muzzle control and increased visibility for prompt threat identification.  

The new Glocks will be issued; the WMLs are optional equipment and will not be issued.  

Like the LEOC, units may buy the WMLs with unit-appropriated funds using the only authorized procurement source through the Department of Homeland Security Strategic Sourcing Vehicle. The CG-MLE-2 sharepoint site lays out the procurement procedures. 

Using the WML requires a specific holster that accommodates the excess bulk. Also, units may need to install a different weapons storage rack in their armory. It is highly recommended units check the compatibility of their storage systems before purchasing WMLs.  

Using a WML also requires training on initial use, tactical procedures, live fire, and judgmental use of force. The user will need to demonstrate proficiency in a controlled environment prior to operational use.