Seatbelts, Vehicles and Firearms: Firearms Training Beyond the Norm

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I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Jacob Paulson, the founder and president of ConcealedCarry.com, on The Concealed Carry Podcast a few weeks ago. We were speaking about proper techniques and tactics for off-body carry. From that, an interesting topic came up about effective ways for concealed carriers to get out of a seatbelt in order to have more effective use of both arms and hands in a self-defense incident.

An Alternative for Accessing Your Firearm

Instead of going across the belt to release it (like most of the population probably does nearly all the time), Jacob mentioned that he had been practicing going under the belt. This way, his left arm wouldn’t get caught up or tangled. Not only does that allow for more freedom of movement and motion, which is great, it’s also fantastic if there were ever a need to access your firearm for self-defense.

Don’t Limit Your Firearms Training

The somewhat random seatbelt topic definitely got me thinking about how much time I spend in my 4Runner — running errands, chauffeuring kids, driving to speaking events or training activities, or just sitting in traffic. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over the course of a year, Americans collectively spend 70 billion hours behind the wheel and drive an average of 11,498 miles (the equivalent of making two roundtrip drives from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.). I may not be in my car quite that much, but the seatbelt conundrum is still something I need to consider, try and practice. But that’s the interesting thing about firearms training: The scope is very, very wide! And firearms training should not just be limited to a traditional square range with plain, paper targets. It’s important that we have the correct mindset, and it’s very beneficial to prepare mentally by thinking through possible scenarios and outcomes. But if we can physically train more realistically — with movement and even with vehicles — we may be able to better prepare ourselves for the chance encounters that may occur during our everyday lives.

Vehicle Firearm Tactics

For some of that training, Jacob and co-host Riley Bowman have created a DVD and digital video course on vehicle self-defense. Vehicle Firearm Tactics covers approximately two hours of discussions, investigations and demonstrations regarding firearms-related defense in, around and even into a vehicle. The eye-opening information presents both important questions and possible answers for how best to carry and draw your firearm, how to defend against an attack and how to pick the best course of action depending on where you are, where the attacker is and whether or not loved ones — or others — are involved.

Vehicle Firearm Tactics offers a solid and clear presentation of tactics that you may never have considered before (such as “punching” out a hole in the windshield first and then shooting subsequent shots through the spot to get effective hits on the threat). Jacob and Riley also play out some MythBusters-type experiments to see how the windshield glass affects trajectory. And they experiment with whether full metal jacket bullets or hollow-points perform differently through the glass and/or through the car body. I also appreciated that the course presents very helpful vehicle-fighting priorities. These priorities definitely mirror our USCCA teachings to avoid, escape and defend. But Jacob and Riley also transpose those three concepts to the specific conditions of being in a vehicle. So you can remember the options and techniques for using the vehicle to make an escape, using the vehicle as a weapon, bailing out of the vehicle to get away or to defend yourself, or fighting from within the vehicle.

Being in or around a vehicle during an attack can be a vulnerable and frightening position. And no matter how much time we spend driving, it’s likely that most of us have never had the chance to do this kind of training on the range … and may never have the opportunity. Whatever the case, Jacob and Riley have created an excellent collection of tips, tactics and techniques that could potentially save lives.

About Beth Alcazar

Author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals, associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and creator of the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column, Beth Alcazar has enjoyed nearly two decades of teaching and working in the firearms industry. She holds degrees in language arts, education and communication management and uses her experience and enthusiasm to share safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage with others. Beth is certified through the NRA as a Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for multiple disciplines. She is also a Certified Instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.

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