We often discuss the importance of weapon retention in our various courses. It is crucial for all of us to recognize we are responsible for retaining our weapon at all times. If our weapon is not under our control, it is a potential detriment not only to us, but our team members and the congregation. While the ability to physically retain your weapon in a physical altercation is critical, it is not the only time we must be concerned about weapon retention.
This post is not introducing a new weapon retention skill, rather it is a reminder of the importance of retention among the ordinary aspects of daily life. Our weapon, like any other life-saving equipment, needs to be available to us immediately. This means our weapon, additional ammunition, intermediate weapon(s), handcuffs, radio and medical supplies must be on our person. If you carry your weapon (and/or other equipment) in a brief case, bag, or purse you may find the equipment isn’t close enough when a situation arises.
We must recognize there are gender limitations when it comes to concealing equipment. Body types and sizes impact us all, but ladies body types do not provide as much area to conceal equipment in many cases. Clothing is certainly another factor, which influences the ability to conceal equipment. A man in pants and an untucked shirt or sport coat can generally conceal more than a lady in slacks and a blouse. One of the consistent questions we have been asked by ladies in our courses is how and where to carry their equipment when dressed for church.
There is no easy, one size fits all, answers to this question. There are many different variables. Here a few thoughts, if pants or full length dresses or skirts are worn, an ankle Individual First Aid Kit may be an option for your medical supplies. Galco Ankle Glove holsters are another option, though your presentation of the weapon from the holster needs to be practiced, as with any new equipment. When wearing clothing with pockets, small OC spray units won’t usually weigh down the garment. Recognize any belt worn to secure your equipment, must be semi-rigid, and have a solid buckle or clasp.
When we have asked students, who insist against AZCSN advice, how they secure their purse or bag they initially reply it is always with them. However, often qualifiers quickly come to the surface; for example: my husband watches it while I use the restroom, or I lock it in a closet while I help collect the offering. This has potential serious consequences. What if you come back to get your bag after collecting the offering and it is missing? Now you have supplied someone that you may not even know with a deadly weapon and the weapon is likely gone for good. Worse yet would be when you are collecting the offering and a disgruntled spouse with a history of violence enters the sanctuary with his own weapon. You won’t have time to race to a closet and back before the violence has started and may have ended!
Even when we are carrying our equipment on our body, we must consider what we do with our weapons when performing other normal activities. There have been two recent instances reported to us of weapons being left in restroom stalls by church security team members who were both male.
Most recently a loaded, chambered handgun without a holster was found in a restroom stall by a congregant. Fortunately, the congregant was responsible and notified security to turn over the firearm. Not recognizing, the firearm belonged to one of their peers initially, this sparked concern. The concern only became greater when the ownership of the weapon was discovered. We must always maintain control of our weapon.
How do we retain our weapon when in the restroom stall? One way may be to place it in the “hammock” created by lowered undergarments between the legs. It is hard to forget a firearm when you are pulling up your clothing. If you are wearing a holster attached to your belt whether inside or outside the waistband, you may move your belt and holster toward the center of your body with the weapon resting holstered between your two legs, of the floor. Caution must be used because of the weight of the firearm when you stand. You don’t want the weight to pull the belt through the holster allowing it to drop on the ground.
A careless, negligent act, like leaving a weapon in a restroom stall, can lead to significant impacts on our life and the lives of others. What if a child or person with nefarious intentions finds the firearm? A child may kill themselves or someone else accidentally. A criminal may use the weapon in a homicide, assault or armed robbery. One of the reasons we serve on ministry security teams is to save lives. This means we must be able to access our weapons and equipment at all times in an efficient manner. It also means that we must always be accountable for that equipment. We must always retain our weapons!