Much to do has been made of the proper pistol carrying techniques as well as the much overdone instructional saga of the simple act of unbuckling the seat belt. When it comes to pistol carry techniques we can always learn from those with experience. A great example is John Peterson’s article, he has the experience with alternate carry and we will all definitely learn something.
The problem that I have with many thought processes when it comes to personal security are the step by step methods that interrupt our natural thought process that have been mind numbingly built into our persona over the last 5, 10, or sometimes 30 years. Every day I use a seatbelt and have for at least the last 10 years. I don’t need to rehearse getting in and out of this safety device, it is ingrained in my memory and when startled I hope that I don’t draw a blank as to how this medieval device really works.
If you have trained day after day with dry-fire draws from concealment the same could be said about being on autopilot with regard to pistol presentations as well. If this is a true statement the addition of a seatbelt over our concealed carry jacket or shirt can start to cause a hiccup if you are looking to be smooth and fast.
When I think through the scenarios that require getting out of the car quickly it usually involves gunplay as well. Either I am getting shot at, about to get shot at, have already been shot at, or perceive that someone wants to take my vehicle or my life and they just might use a firearm to make this happen. With this in mind my first thought is always to unlimber the sidearm whilst quickly getting out of the vehicle.
As I mentioned previously, I don’t get wrapped around the axle when it comes to seatbelts and their removal or the concealed draw, it is when these two skills are combined that things get sketchy. This is the primary reason that every time I climb into a vehicle with a concealed firearm I prepare for the worst before the vehicle goes into gear. Being ready is the name of the game when it comes to gunfighting, if you aren’t ready there isn’t a magical call for a mulligan that will stop the fight for your child like do over.
Getting Rigged for a Fight
To be ready for the fight I have a few steps to ensure I can get the firearm into the fight. Being able to get the firearm into the fight is much more important than being able to quickly get out of the vehicle. If you have been in a crash your seatbelt might be locked a little tighter than normal across your body however this techniques will ensure you can still get to your gun as needed.
I consistently carry appendix, I feel this is the fastest and most well protected concealable location on my body. This also works well to guard your pistol and can be accessed with strong or support hand if need be. I use a Blade-Tech Appendix holster so I can easily move the pistol where I see fit as I settle into the car or truck. After sitting down I grab the seatbelt and place it in its comfortable and normal position while making sure it is over my belt but not over my firearm.
The next step after securing the belt in place is to pull your concealment clothing over the seatbelt and your pistol. No matter if you are using a t-shirt or heavy sweatshirt, get the clothing over your pistol and seatbelt so that a normal grab of the front of your shirt tail will allow you to pull straight up and away to reveal the concealed pistol. This technique also works for strong side carry but not nearly as well. The key is to get the pistol completely exposed, and then place the jacket, shirt, or vest over the pistol. When it is time to draw I grab the front shirt tail, pull up quickly, drive my shooting hand thumb behind my pistol, then ensure I have a positive grip. After this it is simply a matter of driving the sights toward the intended target or be prepared to engage if there are no targets visible at this time. Once the pistol is out I quickly work to release the seatbelt, get out of the vehicle if this is the plan and move quickly to safety wherever that might be.
Once settled in even for a longer drive you won’t have to worry about being ready, you will know that you are rigged for success. When I finally arrive at my destination, I adjust my shirt and holster if it has been moved before I get out of the vehicle. No need to draw undue attention to yourself. When I ask under cover officers what they see that gives away those that are carrying, they all say it is the visible adjustments that the suspect makes to their clothing and holster. Don’t give away the fact that you are carrying, keep your set up subtle so you can surprise those who are stupid enough to pick you as a target.
When it come to carrying concealed in your vehicle, practice your draws, understand the operation of your seat belt, prepare your clothing for quick access to that sidearm, and always be ready you never know when you might drive onto the “X”.
Sergeant Major (retired) Kyle Lamb is a veteran of US Army Special Operations with over 15 years with a Special Mission Unit. He has also written “Green Eyes and Black Rifles”, “Stay in the Fight!!”, and “Leadership in the Shadows.” Lamb is the President and Founder of Viking Tactics, Inc. a highly sought after shooting and tactics instructor Lamb travels and teaches most of the year.
Viking Tactics, Inc.