I just finished our Concealed Carry Combatives class with my good friend Tony Blauer this weekend. It was a great class, many lessons were learned and a few new ones came to the surface.
The “un-cool” factor
I see so many trends floating around that look “cool”, but often fail in execution, miserably at times. Carrying concealed is a personal choice, exercising a constitutional right. Carrying everyday is work, plain and simple. There are no short cuts. You can find yourself in a variety of situations you might want the safety of carrying concealed, but not at the inconvenience. Unfortunately, you cannot have it both ways. Now, with that being said I find my choice of every day carry to be incredibly comfortable. In fact, when I play around with other options I’m often surprised at how uncomfortable that option is compared to what I have gotten used to over the years.
Work through it
There is a huge difference between a failure and a malfunction. A malfunction is correctable, a failure is correctable outside the original condition. Meaning, you have to take steps that deviate from the original task in order to remedy the failure. with An example is while attempting to draw from concealed your outer garment ensnares the slide. Through practice you can work to prevent it from happening as well as steps to clear the malfunction should it occur. I have purposely tried cause a malfunction by pinning my slide with a t-shirt. While I could get it to occur, I couldn’t get it to reliably occur. Creating a contingency allowed me to focus on the clean drawstroke, but should it get fouled up immediately move to clearing the malfunction.
It’s all about balance
However, when you attempt to draw your pistol from concealed carry and it is not there anymore that is a problem. We see that with a few types of carry methods. Off body is one that quickly comes to mind. If you attempt to carry off body in a backpack, purse or bag you can easily find the comfort of having a firearm, but the difficulty of accessing it under close quarters. Many folks will assume they can quickly access their firearm and I’ll bet when standing on a flat range you can, but how can you access it when it is swinging all over the place as you scrap with a would be assailant. As he is attacking you better be working on surviving that initial ambush to create balance, which will lead to time and space to draw your concealed firearm.
No-go on the flash-bang
When you train in more realistic settings you benefit from gear validation and gear check’s. In the class you learn it is not quite as easy as you might have thought. I get it, comfort was a major factor in your choice. Even if it is not off body, some methods of carrying concealed are ill advised when things start to get rough. Shoulder rigs are an example, but one we have known about for some time. The new “Flash-Bang” holsters for women was a new one we added to the list recently. After this weekend’s class one of the female students went to remove her firearm carried in this fashion. When I asked her why she explained in all the rough stuff, the firearm was withdrawn up and away from being accessible. I asked her to wear it for the rest of the day to see if the failure was consistent. Having not seen this method of carry before in this class the observation was critical.
Again, you can find something that is comfortable or convenient, but does that mean it is fight worthy? If you are not practicing with a partner under “tension” you may not even recognize a failure point until it is too late or learn about a malfunction. One of the reasons we train as hard as we do is to learn these failure points to avoid and create contingencies for the malfunctions. Nothing is free or perfect so you better be training hard if you are taking it seriously.
As we evaluate a piece of gear or technique the first question we ask is “does it work?” A lot of times we can get things to work in a vacuum. The next question we ask is, “is it necessary?” Honestly I feel like that question is no longer necessary or we need to jump to the last question instead, which is “will it work under stress?” I’m surprised by how many fail that question and are still utilized in the industry.