Have you ever fought someone while wearing a suit jacket? I have…Kind of. When I took ECQC back in 2017, I actually wore a suit jacket through the evolutions. Why? Well “train how you fight” does have some merit when correctly applied. I live and work in an environment where a jacket of some kind is either necessary or encouraged, and I had absolutely 0 idea how it would impact my ability to fight. We’ve all seen the movies where 2 dudes are mixed up in a fight, one will jerk the lapels of his opponents jacket down to his elbows, binding the arms. (I’ll see if I can find the scene from the Untouchables where Connery pulls this move). When the weekend had wrapped up, nobody had tried to use the jacket against me. The only time it got in the way at all was when I was tied up with my opponent, and I ended up “shooting through” the front left chest panel because it was hanging down between my pistol and my attacker.
Fast forward a couple years, and I actually get suited up to go out to the range and run some drills. Mind you this is your typical “square range”. The only pressure is the shot timer. Well wouldn’t you know it, that’s when things start to get interesting!
During one course of fire, where I’m testing the draw from my preferred tuckable holster setup (KSG Armory Sidekick) the timer beeps, I draw, and as the pistol comes up to my eye-line I realize that my support hand has grabbed a big ol’ fistful of necktie! I didn’t get a good enough look at it to see if it would bind up the slide, I just remember thinking “whelp, let’s see what happens!” fully expecting one shot then a failure to eject.
In this particular instance it thankfully didn’t interfere with the slide and I was able to continue the string of fire, but only because I happened to get lucky. My brain wasn’t prepared for that scenario, and didn’t know how to respond!!! And that was in the most controlled setting possible. So please realize that anyone that starts a sentence with “I’ll just…” followed by some creative problem solving in the midst of a fight is probably lying to themselves.
There’s no good way for me to consistently replicate that problem (other than just putting myself in the situation enough for it to happen organically) so this is where visualization comes into play. As I replay the event over in my head, the best solution I’ve come up with is simply to release my support grip and engage one-handed. Even if I can’t duplicate the error, I can practice the response. This is a great example of what William Aprill refers to as “parking spaces”; the concept that the brain has a much harder time processing information it’s never encountered before.
In another iteration of the drills my vest was serving as the cover garment. The advantage to this is, traditionally when a vest is worn it is appropriate to keep the jacket unbuttoned. That’s great right, because it’s easier to get to everything? Well…sorta. See what I failed to realize is that the jacket body still hangs down in front of the gun, even when carrying appendix. That means that if you don’t sweep the jacket out of the way in the same fashion as if you were carrying on the hip, you end up with this:
So I’ve started incorporating the “IDPA Flick” into my drawstroke whenever I’m wearing a jacket. While it may not be 100% necessary, it does help ensure I don’t end up with a handful of coat when I’m expecting pistol.
Thus concludes my “Dressed to Kill” series. I tried to save the best for last. I’m working on some other topics and articles, and I’m always interested in what questions other people have, especially in this particular arena. What do you want to see?
Next week, I’ll be posting my AAR from the Citizen’s Defense Research Technical Handgun: Tests & Standards that I was fortunate enough to attend last week.
*DISCLAIMER* This is not one of the suits I regularly wear. This is just a cheap, off-the-rack, polyester suit from an outlet mall that I keep exclusively for practice & training. I’m not willing to risk a Brooks Brothers or Suit Supply suit in the name of science, at least not yet.