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The hidden weapon

Posted by William Chadwick on


(Pictured above: Cold Steel Nightshade Series)

A look below the surface level…

Come Jan 1, 2016 we watched as the open carry law went into effect and witnessed firsthand how Texas quite tactfully excepted the new lift of restriction that you no longer needed to conceal your firearm.  However, how many have you seen open carrying their firearm?  Not as prevalent of a response as some might have expected.  I saw one man on Jan 2nd carrying a 1911 with the hammer down while loading up the family car in some apartments and perhaps one in Wal-Mart.  That was it…  a whopping whole two people open carrying.  As always, we abide by the rules but that’s not why we continue to conceal our weapons.  We know as plain clothes Personal Protection Officers we must conceal all weapons at all times unless in a Deadly Force Incident or Violent Encounter.  We understand the element of surprise or what we call the element of concealment and how it works for us.  We know there are tactical advantages to hiding our weapons rather than them being detected by the naked eye.  We know that knowledge, training, experience and opportunity allow us to prevail even in daunting circumstances or rather than fortunate situations.  We look for the necessity as much as the opportunity to drawing at the best time. We train to have a utility knife and a killing knife. The “Save a Life Knife vs. Take a Life Knife” phrase I coined a few years back. 

On that thought do bad men understand the same concepts and put them to work for themselves.  The answer is yes.  Even in an Active Shooter Blaze of Glory event with a point of no return predetermined by the enemy he will still conceal his tools of the trade until “showtime”.  While the enemy can become rather creative with places to store or hide their weapons (vehicles, bags, staged and waiting positions) lets focus on where on the body the quickest accessed locations are and some clues to look for.  The waist line is the first place that is neutral or simply negates vast movement in distance traveled as opposed to higher or lower than that location.

Does the suspect have a belt on to support weapons?  Do his pants even have belt loops for such accessories (sweatpants, work out pants) they don’t always need one anyways…  Can you distinguish the presence or outline of any equipment or tools that may be housed in such a centerline location?  Is the shirt tucked or untucked?  Is there a cover garment if the shirt is tucked in?  While we check for intentional footwear on the enemy also we also check if pants or shorts are worn and could the pants conceal an ankle or boot weapon.  Realize that most edged weapons carried will be folding knives and that these commonly come with clips for securing to garments or other items but our usually placed in the pocket and the clip is still visible if not covered by a shirt and other times (not as common) there is the boot knife.

This brings us to the thumb inside of pocket but the rest of the hand outside the pocket for concealment of the knife clip especially as the distance closes between you and the individual.  Watch for this method as they are already on there weapon and the deployment may be very well trained equaling a faster time than a traditional draw time of a handgun and at a distance of less than five yards.  If you experienced the 30-foot drill at CSI, we surround you with people with rubber knives that unexpectedly charge you for this reason.  We explain X training and the importance of proper movement (a subject for another time).

Also watch for the necklace / chain that may suspend a weapon mid chest under the shirt that can be accessed by either hand very quickly especially if the shirt is untucked.  Many flat weapons are produced to be low profile and our hung by such a necklace.  Does the shirt collar expose or hide the person wearing a necklace?  If visible does it appear to be weighed down by anything else other than its own material or has something been added.  It could be decorative or deadly.  Sometimes it’s the small details that we notice that may spell “Hidden Weapon” to our eyes even if hiding in plain sight like “rings”.

Finally let me address something that will help the officers that are used to working behind metal detectors.  The Metal Detector does what it is designed to do and that is to detect the presence of metal.  A worthy adversary can kill a man with his bare hands and does not always need a specific weapon.  One mind any weapon is the saying, but it does not take long to figure out there is a vast plethora of everyday items that our present in most settings that would crush a man’s skull or airway.  The fire extinguisher has been a sought-after weapon since they are always around in public and private buildings.  Weapons of environmental availability.  Weapons that are hiding in plain sight.  The metal detector is only another tool or line of defense that helps us deter but cannot stop the determined.  Recently we procured some polymer weapons to be a visual aid to students and for their intended purposes are very deadly and can pass right thru a metal detection filter.

These weapons operate in a world of penetration instead of cutting or slashing. They are meant to be felt not seen.  While we look for a good steel blade we must not underestimate these almost undetectable puncture capable plastic weapons. 

Talk to anyone in that has worked in prisons and they will have no lack of explaining how the inmates create very primitive shanks out of anything from a toothbrush to a piece of broken off plastic.  These polymer blades I’m referencing today are professionally made and superior to the handmade primitive prison shank.  Think tent stake with a handle but much better quality and a purpose driven design. They are sold to the public. Just look what can get past the metal detector.

To test these weapons, we wanted to bury their blades into a STACK of baby back ribs… This would closely replicate driving the polymer tools into a human body and see if we should be worried about these weapons or only slightly bothered by.  The answer was clearer than we expected, and we are telling you they work great. 

Each of the pointed polymer weapons easily penetrated completely all the way thru all 3 sets of ribs with relative ease.  Some even passed thru with little to no resistance given at all.  These can easily reach vital organs or penetrate anywhere on the body including the head if soft targets are selected such as the eye or temple.  They are simple.  They are stealthy. They are deadly.

In closing keep alert and know they may have weapons present in hiding just like we do, they are waiting to strike at an opportune moment and make sure you are versed at your weapon retention techniques if the only present weapons are yours.

As always stay safe,  stay aware and stay Dangerous but Good…


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