Although HEAT training starts with stance and weapon presentation, we quickly turn our attention to concealed presentation and basic “in the holster” weapon retention. The purpose in this line of thinking is to build a foundational skill set or understanding and subsequently add to that skill set in the same way a builder might add to the frame of a house.
In this case, utilizing basic weapon retention in combat range (for our purposes, inside 10 feet) requires an unorthodox process to move the status of the weapon from concealed to un-concealed prior to presentation. As you will see in the video, traditional modes of moving to access a concealed weapon do not thoughtfully include the concept of a hostile assailant in active pursuit of your weapon. In essence, we must maintain the capability of our “off” hand in hostile environments for punching, grabbing, pulling, posting, retention techniques, and so on.
A few years back, a retired Israeli operator called me to ask for my help with a class he was running for armed federal agents that often fly on airplanes as part of their regular duties. During the class, the operator was showing a traditional means of clearing the shirt to access a concealed weapon. I pulled him aside to tell him I didn’t agree.
I asked him where he learned the technique and how it was applied. In short, the operator was part of a team that did covert missions in hostile territory – often, essentially kidnapping wanted terrorist to face trial in Israel. The difference, I told him, was he and his team were pro-acting and closing on targets that were unaware of their presence. In a weapon retention scenario, more specifically on an aircraft, his process did not fit with the environment or context. To his credit, he quickly agreed, stopped the class and asked the class to make a change commensurate with my demonstration.
Often, people train for optimal circumstances, but the reality is… life and death battles often play out in ugly, sub-optimal circumstances.
Check out the video – HEAT Part 2
I think this concept is the most often overlooked aspect of personal protection with a firearm. People train to use the gun, they train to get on target quickly and they work on trigger control and reloading etc. but they just ignore the fact that it’s all probably going to go down within 10-feet and may likely have a struggle on their hands before the weapon is even a valid option. Nobody trains for the struggle.