The Weekly Drop: Stay Safe While Shopping for the Holidays

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

I hope you are still enjoying leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast. Me, I’m back to business answering more reader mail.

Without further ado, here’s your new edition of the Weekly Drop.

Let’s get to it.

Hi, Jason —

I love your info on self-defense and being prepared. Thank you!

My question/problem is how to concealed carry in my lifestyle. I always wear my shirts tucked in. In all the slacks, jeans and shorts I have, the pocket openings are too small to get my hand out while drawing my gun. I don’t normally wear a jacket. I currently carry a Glock 42.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

— Bill Z.

Well, Bill, there are really only two options for you. One, you could use an ankle holster. Personally, I don’t recommend using this method. It’s not a very comfortable option. It’s also not a good choice if you’re only carrying one gun, because you’ve got to reach all the way down to your ankle to get to it. Remember, quick access to your gun could mean the difference between life and death.

The other option is to change your lifestyle. I know this isn’t the ideal solution, but we often have to compromise when carrying a gun. You may want to try using a belly band with an untucked shirt. A belly band is simply a large elastic band that goes around your waist. It has pockets built into it for your gun and spare magazines. I’m a big fan of the belly band, and I use one myself when I go running.

I’m getting close to 80. I’m in pretty good shape for my age. I exercise regularly, usually near my condo. Our building is more secure than most. My concern is being confronted/attacked by someone much younger/more agile/stronger while outside.

— Burt B.

In this case, you have to remember to go after vital targets. Gouge out the eyes for example, or punch the person in the throat. Nobody can lift enough weights to protect their eyes or their throat.

An easy acronym to remember what to do is ETGS, which stands for “escape to gain safety.” Because the goal is always to create a situation in which you can get away and get help. To do that, you’ll want to focus your strikes on the attacker’s:

  • Eyes (E): You can gouge or poke the attacker’s eyes
  • Throat (T): You can strike the attacker in the throat or larynx (voice box). A well-placed hit here will cause the person to stumble backward
  • Groin (G): If the attacker is in front of you, kick the person in the groin
  • Or Shin (S): You can also kick the attacker repeatedly in the shin.

Again, no amount of strength training will make a person’s eyes or groin less vulnerable. Focus on these areas to stun your attacker and escape to safety.

My No. 1 safety concern is being mugged, especially after shopping and walking back to my car after holiday shopping. Here in Murrietta and Temecula, California, robbers have gone on sprees robbing stores and then running away from them to escape.

— Rafaela Y.

Most importantly, keep your head up after exiting shopping areas. I can’t tell you enough how crucial situational awareness is in circumstances like these. If your head is up, you can usually spot danger ahead of time and make it to safety.

I also recommend shopping during the day. Criminals love the dark because they can hide in the shadows.

Lastly, trust your gut. If you see anyone who looks suspicious, just go back into the store and ask a security guard to escort you to your car. And ideally, you should always have a way to defend yourself — a gun, a knife, a tactical pen — although I hope you never have to use it.

Speaking of the importance of situational awareness, here is some feedback I received from a reader who was paying close attention to his surroundings and noticed something off:

Hello, Jason. My email is about bathroom security and a personal experience. I entered a Washington, D.C., bathroom with a buddy. Two “homeless” men were in there as well. I noticed one shaking his head to the other while I went about my business. My buddy told me after we left that he had noticed the same. I believe my situational awareness told these two to choose a different victim. A lesson you keep preaching…

— Steve W.

Steve, your situational awareness probably saved you from being an easy target (in their eyes). Nice job!

Until next time…

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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