Context matters and the vehicle is one place where the environment does change some of the best practices and tactics deployed by concealed carriers for daily comfort and preparedness and how one might respond to an actual threat while in the car. One of these considerations is what to do with your seat belt.
In this article, I offer two straightforward tips that I've learned over the years and worked to engrain as habits to be better prepared should I need to respond to an active threat.
Unbuckle From Inside
I first learned this technique from Mike Seeklander of Shooting Performance. Mike is a fantastic instructor and brings extensive experience from both defensive and competitive shooting, and as soon as I saw him teach this technique, I decided I'd work to make it my routine.
The basic idea is to sweep the hand behind the seat belt when you unbuckle and remove the belt. As demonstrated in the video, if you are in the driver's seat, you will use your left hand.
This objective is to free the seat belt so that it doesn't pin your arm and reduces the likelihood that the seat belt catches on your gun-if you carry in the appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) position. If you unbuckle with your right hand, which is likely how you have done it your whole life, you have an extra step of bringing your left arm into your chest to ensure the belt doesn't pin your left arm.
Is this a huge deal? Maybe, maybe not. However, it could be advantageous to remove the belt with a single hand so that you can use your other hand in a particular situation.
Untuck Over Seat Belt
I don't know to whom to give credit to this one. However, I think most people who carry in the appendix position eventually hear about this technique.
The basic idea is to untuck your shirt from the belt. If you carry in the appendix position, your seat belt effectively traps your shirt in such a way that it becomes difficult to clear the garment when you draw the gun.
Untucking the shirt first and putting it over the belt will reduce time and friction should you need to draw.
A Quick Point on Small of Back Carry:
This is a good moment to point out one of the many issues with 6 o'clock or small of back carry. Carrying the gun in the small of back may feel comfortable, but the gun is nearly impossible to access with any speed or consistency while seated in a vehicle. Sometimes, people innately recognize this limitation with small of back carry. But instead of fixing a sub-standard method of carrying, they compound the problem by sticking their gun to a magnet mount inside their vehicle. We aren't a fan of this method and explain why in this post.
Nothing complicated, my friends, but sometimes it is the little things that help you be and feel more prepared.
If you want to learn more and really step up your handgun handling tactics inside your vehicle, I strongly recommend you claim a FREE copy of our “Vehicle Draw” video training DVD/Stream.
The training video is just under an hour in length, but still thoroughly reviews different carry positions including considerations for how to effectively draw your firearm regardless of the positioning of the threat, while also avoiding getting hung up on the steering wheel, seat belt, or other barriers.