Training With A Belly Band
It goes without saying, but if you’re going to carry with a belly band holster, you need to train with it. Whatever your primary carry method is, you have to train…as well as with any secondary carry methods.
You have to train how you’ll fight, with the gear that you’ll be fighting with. You can’t just go to the range with an OWB to have fun; you need to put in meaningful repetitions to develop the necessary skill to save your own life.
It’s a fallacy to think that just because you’re armed means that you’ll be able to do what you need to in a do-or-die scenario. After all, very few of the people who own Ferraris are, in fact, racing drivers.
If you aren’t an experienced shooter, and aren’t used to doing practical training and practice as much or more than mere target shooting for pleasure, here are some training tips for using a belly band.
A Belly Band Is Very Similar To IWB Carry
As a general rule, the procedure and idea for drawing from a belly band holster is the same as if you were using an IWB holster, whether in the strong side or appendix position.
While the gun is positioned differently or can be, depending on what kind of belly band holster you use, there is little mystery in the technique. Therefore, look at training materials related to the IWB draw if you want to do some studying on YouTube or elsewhere.
Clear the cover garment, acquire the grip, draw, present and fire. Not terribly complicated! Granted, if you’re wearing a cover garment that has immediate access, like a false pocket, you can bypass the need for clearing your cover garment.
The classic method is to lift the cover garment with the strong hand, but bear in mind that you might not have free use of both hands in a fight. So be able to clear cover with the shooting hand as well.
While it’s certainly not what you want to focus all your time on, it’s a critical part of shooting from concealment. Therefore, make sure you practice it.
In other words, there’s very little that’s unique or mysterious about carrying with a belly band, which isn’t the case with other carry methods like ankle carry and so on. It’s just that exactly where the holster (and gun) rides is slightly different.
Wear Your Normal Clothes To The Range
If the idea is to train how you’ll fight, that extends to everything else besides the gun and holster. Make sure you train with the clothing or at least the kind of clothing that you wear on a regular basis.
Some people treat range days as a tactical fashion show. Cargo pants, boots they don’t usually wear, and all sorts of accessories and so on that they don’t wear and won’t wear on a regular basis.
That’s fine if you’re a competitive shooter and it’s your competition rig. You need to have that stuff. But if you’re training to develop and maintain self-defense skills, it’s not always the best idea.
Training or practice for any practical skill must, in and of itself, be practical. Realistic. If it’s not, it isn’t of any value.
If You Haven't Had Any, Get Some Training
If you’re at the complete beginning with guns and practical shooting/defensive shooting, it’s a good idea to get yourself some training. This is where the foundations are laid in gaining the skill needed in a self-defense scenario.
Quality instruction is vital for the absolute newbie. It’s easier to build good habits from the beginning than it is to correct bad ones later on, so make sure you start in a good place.
Use A Shot Timer
Want to really get good at using a belly band holster? Get a shot timer.
The only way to really get better at anything, or for that matter to become proficient at anything, is to quantify and track performance.
How you do that in training and practice is by tracking what you can, and that is hits on target and time.
If you’re getting hits on target, that’s a start. The most important skill in shooting, of course, is accuracy; if you can’t hit what you need to, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow it is. Therefore, remember to take enough time to make the hits.
If completely new to practical shooting, you want to develop intention and efficiency. The idea is to reduce the time necessary to get the gun out of the holster and on target, not to sacrifice accuracy for speed.
The best way to develop efficiency? Repetition. The timer helps you track your progress and understand what you need to work on next.
Do Dry Fire Practice As Well As Live Fire
Oh, you thought practice and training only takes place at a range?
Absolutely not, and you should be getting reps in with your belly band holster doing dry fire training as well.
Some instructors argue you should be dry firing MORE than live firing. Whether that’s true or not is a subject of discussion, but what’s definitely true is that you need some of both.
Dry firing involves everything that live firing does minus the recoil. Therefore, it’s great for getting in meaningful repetitions and vital practice for no cost except that of time.
Dry fire is where you fine-tune your grip, trigger press and sight alignment. However, it’s also where you practice that first shot from concealment, which may be all you have time to place before an attacker is on top of you.
So make sure you’re dry firing with your belly band holster.