Putting words in my mouth

I try to not let it bother me, but when people who have only a passing familiarity (if even that) with ECQC/entangled fighting comment on things they do not understand, I get irritated.

Part of the problem is that I, and a few friends along with an exceptionally tiny number of a handful of other folks, have been studying, working and teaching solutions to this problem for decades, and it is more than mildly annoying to have words put in my mouth. We all have put an incredible amount of effort and study into this, and not one of us has ever come to a conclusion in an intellectually lazy manner. We challenge each other and our ideas constantly, and put it all up for grabs in the crucible of legitimate pressure testing over and over again. Frankly, it is personally insulting to hear someone say that I say this or that or that I endorse this or that and implies that I have put little thought into those opinions.

Take hardware/gear as an example. I have heard more than a few times someone opine that those who teach 0-5 feet gunfighting don’t like clips on holsters because they break rolling around in contact. That is a complete falsehood. Not one of us has ever made that statement. As a matter of fact, most of us even personally carry at least some of the time in holsters with clips. My “take the dogs for a walk/go to the store/gym/gas ‘n sip” holster is the Dark Star Gear Hitchhiker with a large metal clip. I trust that thing implicitly. I have rolled against high level grapplers who know I have it on, and are asked to try to take it away or break it, and have not been able to do so. The actual hook on the clip itself digs in to soft material and can withstand really hard contact. The smaller metal clips from Discrete Carry Concepts are almost as sturdy and I know of a number of switched on guys who use them. So we don’t reject clips. There is not a shred of fact in saying different.

We do, almost to a person, reject plastic clips. However, it has almost zero to do with them breaking! That does happen, and too often for comfort, but you can go plenty of sessions without a properly made plastic clip breaking. What does happen time after time is that the clips fail at their most basic function – to hold the holster in place. As you fight in contact with another adrenalized human who wants to harm you, your body torques and compresses in odd ways and stressors happen in angles and positions that never occur when you are just standing upright on a flat shooting range (or even just walking around day to day). And the result is that those clips which have little tensile strength inward cannot fight the pressure and start to shift. Then the issue is that when you need to access your pistol, it is not in the orientation you think it is. How many times have we fumbled a draw standing with no movement doing a shooting drill? Now amplify that 1,000 times and have your life dependent on that draw. A little disconcerting don’t you think? Sometimes that holster shift is so drastic that the gun actually comes out and falls away, or the holster itself comes off. I cannot begin to list the number of times I have seen that happen during countless force-on-force sessions with quite literally thousands of people at this point. It is not a random or occasional thing at all. It is something that can pretty much be counted on. That and that alone is the issue with plastic clips and why those of us who have depth and breadth of knowledge and decades of experience in this area stay away from them. It is a deeply informed and learned opinion. Not some throw away lazy thought.

Another aspect of the attempt by some people to belittle or diminish this concern with clips is to say something along the lines of “well, the ECQC event does not happen that often so it does not really matter if you wear those clips. You won’t run into the situation where they fail.”  That is arguable, but not something I will comment on here (a brief aside – you know what else is a rare event? A private citizen using his firearm for self-defense, and yet that low risk does not seem to bother these critics. They will scream until they are blue in the face that you need to carry 24/7, but ignore working the skill set to deal with a non-gun focused event that also can occur. I find it interesting how they mentally cherry pick with their risk analysis and only bother with the things they choose to concern themselves with, rather than a true assessment) but I will address this aspect. Why would I dismiss equipment that can withstand the worst situations and use equipment that is far more likely to fail? Do you not want to know that your seatbelt has been subjected to multiple high impact crashes by the carmakers, and will still work? Do you really want a seatbelt that can hold up to a fender bender but may not work when you need it to save your life? That just makes zero sense to me. If the ECQC approved gear is hard to get or costs substantially more, than you may possibly have some room to argue, but the fact is that exact gear is no harder to get and costs the same as the lesser gear. So why would you choose the lesser? Laziness is the only conclusion I can come to.

In sum, I personally don’t care what you carry. I am not the Tactical Gestapo. Do whatever makes you comfortable. However, do not put words in my or my peers’ mouths in order to let you validate your personal choice. It is offensive and insulting.