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Texas Pistol & Rifle Academy

Stoney’s Blog  5/27/2011

Question:   Phil, I notice that you wear a police duty belt or gun belt when you are at the range. Why do you prefer wearing a duty belt over just wearing a holster on your normal belt?

Good question…. I started using a duty belt to carry my secondary weapon (handgun) during my tour in Afghanistan in 2002. During my tour in AF, we were moving away from the LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) used during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and moving towards the chest mounted rigs or Plate carrier vests with body armor.  In 2002, I was using the Interceptor body armor that was great for carrying my standard kit but, I had nowhere to put my handgun or pistol magazines on this vest. So, I went to using the duty belt for a couple of reasons:

  1. Whenever, I was not out on an operation and was just hanging around the base, I still needed to stay armed.  The duty belt or gun belt allowed me to put my M4 in the weapons rack, take off my body armor and still have a weapon system available on my person.
  2. The gun belt itself is easy to remove and easy to kit up if the need arises.  I found this particularly useful when visiting the facilities to perform a bio break.
  3. If I was out on an operation winning over the hearts and minds of the local indigenous tribal leaders, I felt safe in being able to remove the Interceptor vest and conduct meetings while remaining armed.

During the 80’s and 90’s, I carried everything on the standard issue web belt or LBE and carried a minimum of two magazine pouches, two  1-quart canteens with canteen cup, strobe light pouch, first-aid pouch, compass pouch and a butt pack to carry a survival kit and other accessories.  The setup of my LBE was as a result of decades of training to fight in the jungle, mountainous region or heavily forested areas.  With this kit, if I had to add a secondary weapon, such as a Berretta (M-9), I would simply add a holster to my LBE. This solution worked for me for many, many years and as I made trips to S. Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to conduct joint exercises with the host nation forces it worked very well.  Early on in my army career, I attended Ranger school and the Special Forces Qualification course and I can remember wearing my LBE for days at a time. I worked in it all day long and then without a thought, when it came time to rest, I’d keep it on and sleep in it.

Over time, I switched from using just the magazine pouches on the web belt to also using the suspenders that included a chest rig wherein the magazine pouches were built in and slanted downward across the chest.  I used this type of LBE during my tour in Haiti and then continued on throughout the rest of the 90’s.

But it was during my tour in Haiti in ’95, wherein the handgun became a regular standard component of my daily kit. And during this tour, I noticed that there were times when I wanted to stay armed with the handgun but did not want to put on or wear my LBE.  A good example of this was during the conduct of physical training.  My team mates and I regularly exercised and would go on runs throughout the countryside. Just as a precaution, we would wear the Beretta on a belt, and I used a paddle style hip holster. I really liked this setup because the hip holster and belt kept the pistol from bouncing up and down during a 5 mile run.

During Haiti, I continued to always wear the M9 Beretta on a standard belt (in this case a Rigger’s belt) and I found that I was constantly removing the pistol from the holster when I was changing clothes, or going to the latrine. As far as safety goes, this is just an invitation for disaster. And I have always believed that a holstered pistol is a safe pistol.

With that said, I had a teammate that had purchased a police duty belt and was using it and I have to say… he convinced me that this was the way to go.

So currently, I still use a duty belt that has my hip holster (kydex) for my Glock, magazine pouch for 2 pistol mags, 2 pouches for my M4 magazines and of course a pouch for my Gerber tool .  I do not use a thigh rig or drop-down holster for my pistol. Why? Basically, it goes back to being able to run with all of my kit on.  A hip holster fitted properly will not bounce, jostle around and is comfortable.  I’ve not yet found a thigh rig that I liked when I was running; shooting and moving that would not bounce around.

In closing, the use of the duty belt is a great addition to my kit and I love it. I know that it’s not necessarily an option when you are trying to conceal your handgun but, when I’m headed downrange or off to the Texas Pistol and Rifle Academy for some range work… its packed and ready to go.

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Remember, “We believe shooting makes better people, period!”


De Oppresso Liber

Tactical Shotgun

The use of the shotgun as a tactical weapon is the least understood platform for tactical shooting and therefore it is often over looked as a viable option in the tactical shooting community these days. Sure there are “three gunners” out there that start to push the shotgun’s limits and my hat is definitely off to a lot of them for the skill in which they manipulate that weapon. But for the most part, peoples’ first thoughts about bringing a shotgun to a gun fight is that it is big and scary and that when you rack the slide “it is an attention getter” and that is about as far as their thought process goes with respect to the shotgun being an offensive weapon. We tend to place this gun in the defensive category more suitable for trying to scare an adversary by posturing.

If we start to really look at the shotgun as a real tactical weapon we have to really get into the weeds with this gun to begin to understand it. We have to take into account it’s apparent strengths and weaknesses.

The first thing to note is that we have a limited ammo supply on the gun, followed by its relatively short range. These two facts are enough to knock it off most shooters list as it is. Next let’s take into account the recoil, for a lot of people this is a real consideration and it can be both a pro and a con. For example, depending on what kind of round you are shooting, it can kick like a mule, but it also can hit like one too.

This translates into the shotgun being one of the few weapons available to us with REAL knock down power. With one press of the trigger you can deliver up to nine individual rounds into a target simultaneously if you are loaded with buck shot.

The real trick for shooters is to learn to balance between a limited amount of ammo and the lethality of the weapon while managing its versatility under stress. Now that is a tall order. Once a shooter starts to really work with this gun he soon sees how complex it really is to operate the gun but, with that complexity comes some serious versatility.

Imagine being able to use a shotgun out to 100 yards and more and delivering effective as well as accurate fire on a target. A lot of people would just say this is just not possible, but with a little thought and a little training you cannot only do just that but you can do it even if you start the encounter loaded only with buck shot!

The key is to learn how to manipulate the gun to fit the tactical situation and a shot gun can do that like no other weapon that we have. But, it is going to cost you time and dedication to learning how to artfully work the gun to manage the versatility and firepower the shotgun can bring to a fight.