When we think about our training regimen, we spend a lot of time, money, effort, blood, sweat and tears in preparation. We have all heard the question, “Will we rise to the occasion, or will we default to the level of training we have participated in?” We know the answer to that, and we have all ramped-up our game when we were faced with a fight, chase, contact, or situation that we did not do well. That jump started and motivated us to step up our game.
Training is that link to performing the way we need to perform in a high stress situation. Dynamic, or stress inoculation training is the best way to get us where we need to be. There is enough “Murphy” in these equations anyway. We do not need to add the fact that we were too lazy or busy to train enough to be prepared on the day of.
We should never forget that “Murphy” lives in more hiding places than we care to admit. Equipment failure can and does happen, it happens far more often if we let it. We let it by discounting the importance of it, or by simply not researching it properly. Preparation absolutely involves our equipment choice.
Think long and hard about the tools you need to be able to perform your duties. Consider the tools (weapons) you choose to help defend yourself, these are the tools you need to train with. These are the tools you need to help you survive a high stress encounter. These are the tools you need to help you go home at the end of your shift.
Many times in my career, I have seen guys show up to firearms training with a thousand-dollar carbine and a sixty dollar Wal-Mart scope. I have also seen many guys show up with a very quality handgun sitting inside a cheap, easy to defeat holster; (did you catch “easy to defeat”). I hope that comment alone caused some physiological reaction. Do not think for one minute a bad guy would not try to disarm you if he has half a chance. He will have half a chance if our training is not serious, “Murphy” is on our back, and our equipment is sub-par!
In our carry concealed duty status, it is hard to strike a balance between a good concealable holster and one that has good retention. We do not want it to print (people can see the outline through our outer garment), and we need it to retain our gun if we get into a physical altercation. We also need to be able to deploy safely and swiftly. We need it to lock our gun in place if we deploy, and then re-holster to go to handcuffs when our suspect complies.
The retention level of the holster is also a critical issue. Make sure there is some element of an automatic locking system in the holster you choose. This, of course, comes with some element of defeating that locking system to deploy your gun, so be extremely good at defeating the lock when you practice your draw. And do not forget about choosing a good stiff leather belt for support.
Flashlights are an incredibly important tool for consideration as well. Consider its lumen power, its ease of carry, its battery life, and the deploy-ability. And of course, it’s always in your support hand and never in your gun hand! There are lots of excellent flashlights on the market so choice wisely. A small powerful flashlight that fits in your pocket is very valuable. All of your day shift guys that do not think you need one, don’t forget about that sick feeling when you chase a suspect out of the daylight and into a dark building or warehouse! Did I mention that sick feeling? You also need to research and consider carry and shooting positions while manipulating a flashlight to effectively illuminate your target. There are lots of excellent training articles regarding low-light fighting.
I know I have only covered a few essential tools in this article, but my point is not the specific tools. My point is consideration of equipment, and some research on your part about what works for you in your environment. I have said many times, tongue in cheek, “Skimp on non-essential items in your life, like milk and diapers, but don’t skimp on good equipment”! My point, of course, is that these are items that help keep you alive and take you home at the end of the day. Good equipment needs to be researched. Some of it is trial and error and I understand that, but there are many great articles out there from folks that have been in the battle and have been tested. Read up on the equipment you need for your job. You do not have to go out and re-invent the wheel.
I’ve heard it said that you are only as good as your training, I believe that with all of my heart. No, we will not simply “rise to the occasion” because we are gun-toters. We will default to our level of training. Let’s stack the deck in our favor by removing “Murphy” as much as we possibly can and consider, research, and choose good equipment to help us win the fight. Do not forget the importance of training with that equipment. Know your equipment as well as you know how to use your weapons. Get out and train! Your life may depend on it. Your family certainly depends on you to get prepared for what might happen. Do not forget that we carry a gun for a living.
Be safe out there!