Can your Executive protection agent get the gun out of the holster to protect you?
Many protection agents have a background in law enforcement, extensive training, and a successful career as a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff. Law enforcement often protects high-profile or protected persons, such as ambassadors or dignitaries in a law enforcement Dignitary Protection Unit. When running these protection details or operations, the agents are usually required to have firearm qualifications.
In law enforcement, you mostly wear a duty belt, which holds essential items of the profession, such as a gun, baton, and pepper spray. Law enforcement, the firearm is therefore exposed as they need quick and easy access to the weapon in certain situations. However, for executive protection agents, this is not the case. Their gun will not be on display. Instead, they will often wear suit jackets with a hidden weapon holder. This exemplifies how training will differ and why executive protection agents need specialist skills and training.
New Instincts Need to be Built Up
In a situation like that described above, with dignitaries requiring protection, law enforcement officers must be retrained for specific events. Their weapon should not be exposed, and their uniform would likely include a suit jacket to hide the gun. When you train with an exposed weapon, it is much easier: you must pull the gun from the holster. You must draw the gun differently with a jacket or suit, pulling aside the garment and reaching for the weapon at a different angle.
For firearm qualification training, law enforcement would need to recognize this key and noticeable difference in training and think they could pull their weapon from an exposed holster. With dignitary protection, though, all qualifications would need to be done from concealed carry. But, of course, this is often met with resistance from law enforcement officers. It is much more difficult, but it goes against how they have trained and responded to dangers for years.
Specialist Training is Essential
The way an officer or agent trains is the way that they will end up fighting in an actual threatening or dangerous situation. For example, if you are not used to constantly drawing your weapon from concealed carry, you may not be able to get your gun out of the holster in time. However, if you are a uniformed patrol looking to transfer to dignitary protection, your new training must reflect this change in strategy and instinct. This requires a high level of training and an understanding of key differences in how you will be responding to dangers. The method of how you train ultimately informs how you react to situations and where your skills are best served. You must learn to do your qualifications and firearms training from concealed carry. That takes a tremendous amount of practice.
Honing Instincts to Protect Clients
It is only natural that those who open carry would struggle more to quickly fire off their weapon if it has to be concealed and is not located in an open holster like they are used to. For this reason, security details must hire specially trained executive protection agents or ensure that the law enforcement officer, whether he is past or current serving, is also qualified in concealed carry. Usually, people in the private security and law enforcement arena want to take shortcuts, but you cannot take shortcuts regarding clients’ safety.
If you draw your weapon in a uniformed situation 1000 times, to combat this instinct, you must also draw your weapon from concealed carry 1000 times. It is like anything else; it requires practice and repetition to excel and hone your instincts and muscle memory. In the end, the protection professional can be just as effective and efficient with uniformed and concealed carry, but it requires commitment and an understanding that new training is necessary.