Last Saturday morning was a lazy day in my life. I got up early, went for a run, and came home to settling down for a cup of coffee and a leisurely scan of the news. Contrary to popular imagination, the life of a writer contains very few such days off and I make it a point to enjoy them.
. . . And then an article caught my eye and sent me right back into work-mode. Russian politico Vladimir Putin walks with a distinctive and asymmetrical gate, about which there’s been a lot of conjecture. Recently some experts have suggested an explanation: Putin swings his right arm far less than his left due to his KGB weapons training. The article suggests that ‘The manual, which they had translated into Dutch, instructs operatives to keep their weapon in their right hand close to their chest and move forward with one side — usually the left — “turned somewhat in the direction of movement.”‘
Now whether or not this is true is something that only God and Vladimir know, but it did get me thinking. Many of us carry concealed regularly—what tells or signs give us away? Well I don’t have time to observe all of you in the wild—very few days off, remember?–but I can look at the existing research as done by police departments. Here’s what they look for:
Asymmetrical gait or movement
Number one on the list, as it turns out. Folks with a CCW will shorten both the stride and the arm swing on the weapon side of their body.
Body shifting or “blading”
I was trained to do this: when approached by another person, turning the weapons side away in order to leave your weapon protected and your draw unobstructed.
Constantly adjusting the weapon
I suspect we’re all guilty of this to some degree. There’s a tendency especially among newcomers to subconsciously check their weapon with a quick touch or adjustment.
Bulges in clothing/butt of the weapon showing
An easy mistake, all too commonly made, and thankfully self explanatory.
A trenchcoat on a hot summer day is about as subtle as a marching band in full swing. Clothing should match weather conditions, else it’s a giveaway.
Jumpy or suspicious behavior
This one’s a lot harder to quantify, but some police sources note that nervous or shifty behavior, including reaching for the weapon, show up on their radar.
Obviously there may be many more—I’ll be interested to hear what you’ve noticed—but the real question confronting us here is “What can we do about it?” Well, there are a few solutions, and they all come down to the two key buzzwords: practice and training. Find the right carry system, test it, and trust it. Practice carrying and drawing the weapon till it becomes second nature. Keep your permit (where applicable) current and stay on the right side of the law. Stay aware of yourself, your movements, and your attitude. A little attention goes a long way.
I really want to hear about what you’ve noticed, so let me know in the comments section or via email.