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Shots Fired: Jared Reston, Survival, & Gear

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When Jared Reston woke up on January 26th, 2008, he didn't expect to be shot in the face.

An officer with Jacksonville Police Department, Jared Reston and his partner, Chris Brown, were sitting in a mall security office when loss prevention officers alerted them to a potential theft. The loss prevention officers advised they were about to detain two individuals of shoplifting. As soon as the prevention officers tried to apprehend the suspects a fight broke out. As Reston and Brown arrived on the scene, One male was apprehended, the other escaped.

Reston and Brown spotted the individual, 18-year-old Joel Abner, nearby. Once spotted, Abner began to run outside and through a six-lane highway dodging traffic. In pursuit, Reston and Brown watched him run to a nearby street and slow to walk, blending in with pedestrian traffic. Not fooled by Abner's attempt to blend in, Reston closed the gap and drew his TASER. Abner stopped, put his hands up and slowly backed up creating distance between Reston. Abner slowly turned to run, and Reston's TASER malfunctioned. The pursuit continued.

Tired and nowhere left to run, Abner found himself at the top embankment of a four-foot-deep dry retention pond. Reston grabbed Abner by the back of his black hooded sweatshirt. Abner spun, breaking Reston's grip. “As soon as we go face to face, I grab him by his head and pull him in close and give knee strikes to his thigh to bring him down,” says Reston.

As soon as Reston went to bring Abner down he felt a hard blow to his face. “I was sitting there thinking that he really punched me hard, but get yourself together and get back in the fight,” says Reston. “But when I came to rest I realized it was more than a punch as my teeth were laying flat in my mouth and my jaw was collapsed upon itself.” Reston realized he had been shot through the jaw. Looking up, Reston observed Abner standing over him and shooting at him with a Glock directly into his chest. Abner started to walk away, turning to fire more rounds at Reston.

Disoriented and stunned, Reston's will to survive kicked in. “I sat up and drew my pistol, and just that motion of me sitting up was enough to alert him that I was not dead,” says Reston. Abner began walking back to Reston to finish him off, but this time Reston was able to shoot back. With Abner approaching and shooting at him, Reston fired with one hand while his other hand propped him up. Abner was hit, but that didn't stop his approach. Reston made it to one knee and continued to engage. Abner eventually fell and Reston pulled Abner's body into his chest. “I grabbed him and pulled him to the side,” says Reston, “and put my pistol to his head and put three close quarter hits in his head.” Abner went limp.

Abner fired 12 shots in total, with 7 shots striking Reston. Reston was hit in the jaw, elbow, hip, thigh, and three rounds in the chest to his body armor. Reston had fired 14 rounds. “That's how law enforcement works,” say Reston, “it can go from a shoplifting foot chase to full-on fighting for your life just like that.”

Gear Selection:

With years of service in Law Enforcement, Jared Reston is no stranger to gear selection. Reston has been an officer in Jacksonville, FL, since 2001, and on their SWAT team since 2004 and a marksmanship instructor.

Reston believes a lot of his physical training and mindset helped him survive this encounter. “Working out, you have to condition yourself to come out of this type of situation alive,” Reston says. “It happens all the time. I trained at the range on my own time, developed a warrior mindset. You can't sit back and hope that something never happens to you.”

We caught up with Reston at the range to learn what goes into his gear selection, head to toe.

Hat – Viktos Laid Back Hat

“Viktos is a new brand that has been around only a couple years,” says Reston. “They have made a bunch of products both tactical and lifestyle that I run to include gloves, boots, and hats.”

Eye Protection – Oakley SI Thin Blue Line Holbrook 

Ear Protection – Safariland Liberator IV Advanced Single Communication Headset

“The new Liberator doesn't just help magnify conversation, but it makes it so noise isn't muffled,” says Reston. “I can also really detect where the sound is coming from. Super comfortable over a hat, or under a helmet as well.”

Belt – RDR Enhanced Instructor Belt with Reston Mods

“The belt itself is thinner and more flexible than other belts,” says Reston, “but it obtains its rigidity from the inner belt. Also, the molle webbing is much thinner. On the belt, there is a no-slip cobra buckle, and I modify the belt with a tie in on the back for riding in a vehicle or aircraft.”

Holster – Safariland RDS

Boresight Solutions Glock 17 with Aimpoint Acro and SureFire x300.

Pistol – Boresight Solutions Glock 17 with Aimpoint Acro and SureFire x300

“I use the Glock 17 primarily because it's an agency gun, but I also use 34s and 19s,” says Reston. “My concealed carry is a Glock 19. I do like the Glock 17 as it does recoil better, faster, and is nice and smooth.”

“The Aimpoint Acro a great product as it is easy to mount, but also has all enclosed emitters. It's really one of the smallest all enclosed systems on the market,” says Reston.

Gloves – Viktos Operatus Glove 

Carbine – Knight's Armament Lower, Barrett Rec 7 Upper

“I'm a left-handed shooter, so I like the ambidextrous option of the Knight's Armament lower,” says Reston. “The Barrett upper is a direct impingement gun, really well put together with smooth bolt and shoots great.”

Aimpoint M5, Viktos Operatus Glove, and SureFire MAG5-60.

Light – SureFire Scout Light

Suppressor – SureFire RC2 Mini

Laser – B.E. Myers MAL-DA

Sling – Lead Faucet Tactical Sling

“Lead Faucet is Dan Brokos company and he's done a great job taking a shooters mindset in designing gear,” says Reston. “This sling is simple to use and great for going from strong to support side.”

Magazines – SureFire MAG5-60 Round

“I generally run the 60 round as my primary magazine but then use H&K magazines as an external,” says Reston.

Pants – Crye Precision G3 Combat Pant

Boots – Viktos Johnny Combat Merc Boot

Among the many awards and recognition's Det. Jared Reston received for his heroic actions that day: The State of Florida Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; the National Police Hall of Fame and Museum National Officer of the Year; and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Officer of the Year. He continues to serve in Jacksonville.

Check out what Reston and other industry heavy-hitters choose as a bedside firearm in Heavy Hitters Dish on their Home-Defense Gun Choices.

Photos by: Shane Ruiz

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