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 Task-oriented consideration for firearm carriage

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Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: Task-oriented consideration for firearm carriage   Wed 01 Jul 2015, 10:47

The role of the Close-protection operator is to protection the Principal in any situation. The VIP lifestyle, work, meetings, rallies, leisure/sport, travel etc, impose problems on the covert carriage of the protective weapons. Clothing considerations, activities, restrictive-environments may require different solutions to the carriage problem. In this short article we’ll consider a few examples.
In normal business attire the belt holster is the classic way to go. This was discussed in detail here. So let’s consider some more challenging choices.

In foul weather the wearing of a topcoat of some kind is essential. Standing post outside of the residence, or guarding the vehicles in a downpour require adequate rainwear, otherwise operational efficiency is compromised because the bodyguard starts getting pre-occupied with feeling cold and wet, and starts watching the clock instead of his arcs. The Barbour is the classic choice for the bodyguard. It is quite weatherproof, and is socially acceptable from the grouse moor to the Dorchester Hotel. [Cross reference with this article]

[The trusty Barbour coat]

With a fastened overcoat access to the belt-carried firearm is very difficult, so two options can be considered.
A shoulder harness, with the pistol carried under the left arm, can work, because the master hand can usually slide between the overcoat buttons, knife in and extract the pistol.

[Advert for Paul Evers designed shoulder rig]

Alternatively, a pocket holster could be a solution, with the pistol carried in the overcoat pocket. The classic choice is the Smith & Wesson M49, which is aptly named the Bodyguard model. With shrouded hammer this weapon won’t snag on the draw, and can, in extremis, be fired through the coat pocket.

[My S&W M60 Chiefs Special, with special grips to make it, in effect, the Bodyguard model.]

A VIP may take part in various leisure, or, sporting activities. These may require specific clothing, and may be carried out in locations which provide particular problems. Amongst these activities are:
Wearing a swimsuit leaves little scope for carrying the firearm and ancillary equipment. Over-dressing will cause the protection team to stand out, and negate the idea of covert protection.
A solution is off-body carriage.

This pack is low profile; it looks as if it may contain a camera, or, CD player; so is not out of place on the beach, or similar leisure locations. The pistol is carried inside in a one-size fits all compartment, and there is space for spare magazines.

By adding an easily grabbed tag to the zipper, the pack opens quickly, and the weapon accessed

The pack also protects the equipment from seawater splashes, and sand.

When the jogging craze hit, many young executives and politicians donned their Nikes and took to the streets or parks.

When wearing running kit, tee-shirt and tracksuit, or, shorts, then the opportunities for carriage of equipment are limited.

The ideal solution is the Bellyband system.

The original, by Bianchi, is one of the best covert-carriage systems ever designed. It tucks the weapon in tight to the body, essential when running, while still allowing fast access. A sub- two second hit is possible from beneath a tucked-in tee-shirt.

A similar system, produced by the British Horseshoe Leather firm, allowed the carriage of a radio as well. Until then, we had to hand-carry our radios when jogging, which is a bit of a give away. When I was given this system [shown here with my Glock] it was possible to conceal both weapon and radio quite discreetly.
While at a training conference in Orlando, I was shown an interesting carriage method by an officer from the Airport Police. He was wearing only a pair of shorts, yet could conceal a Glock 19 without any signature. He put me in contact with the company, and they very kindly sent me a sample of their Thunderwear

I found the holster offers total concealement, with a surprisingly fast access.

When accompanying the Principal to banquets and similar social events, the attire is often a Tuxedo. These are normally worn without a belt, so a couple of adaptations have to be made. Firstly, belt loops are added to the trousers, then the belt should have no shiny, giveaway buckle, which is inappropriate in evening clothes. I asked Price Western Leather to produce a Velcro belt, which blended into the clothing, yet supported all necessary equipment.

An alternative method is to use the Bellyband, covered with a Cummerbund.

There are numerous other activities, Skiing, boating, horseback riding, Golf, which have their own problems for the CP Operator. It is essential to have task-relevant equipment, then train to access the weapon is all likely situations.

In some situations the threat will be such that the Bodyguard team with be deployed with various close-support weapons, in addition to the ubiquitous pistols.
The covert carriage of such firepower presents problems. Obviously, in a war zone such weapons are carried, and displayed, openly, but there are high-threat environments where the discreet carriage is still desirable. Here we will discuss a couple of concepts.
A good friend on the Military CP Teams had the requirement to protect his Principal in a hostile environment. Here’s his solution:

The beltpack, while a bit bulky, would still nevertheless pass un-noticed in most environments; however, if under threat, it contained a lethal surprise....

.... the H&K MP5-k

My solution to the carriage of the compact subgun, was to fit a loop of webbing, with a Fastex buckle, to the rear ring of the MP-5k, then mate it to a similar arrangement on the offside of a Paul Evers standard NATO shoulder holster...

In this way the subgun hangs beneath the left arm, and to access it you perform a normal “coat-clearance” sweepback, gain grip on the weapon and bring it to the aim. It can be fired from this position, or, the Fastex squeezed to free the weapon from the harness.

The harness also supports the SIG-228 carried on the other side, so is quite efficient.
Where even heavier weapons are required, the military bodyguards came up with a normal backpack ...

...seen carried by young hikers in most major cities. This one carries more than a sleeping bag however...

.... the H&K-53 rifle provides greater support in cases of co-ordinated terrorist attack.
In order to stop the muzzle printing, my mate carried his resting in a boot within the pack...

There are several commercial carriage systems worth evaluating. For example, Price Western Leather offer their MP-5 system, designed by one of our course graduates, a Swedish VIP Protection officer

Equipment is only a small part of the Close protection effort, but the right kit for the job is a core principle of protection.

Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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