It’s hard to go through life without interacting with vehicles – driving or riding in one. Most of us do it daily.

So, what are some of the concerns that go with a car?

Awareness is a key issue. Regardless of what you do for a living, be conscious of your surroundings when approaching your car. Who is nearby? What can you see? What can’t you see? Pay attention to those things. While you may have your attention on a family member, especially a child, try your best to avoid being so focused on them that you lose your awareness of everything else. By the way, cell phones are the biggest culprit for losing awareness about what is happening around you.

Stage the seat belt at the hips as you normally would but underneath your shirt.

While I will not encourage you to keep your keys spread out through your fingers, I will encourage you to have them readily accessible, especially in the age of remote control key fobs.

I could recommend keeping your gun hand free, but the reality is that it does not always happen. Given that, train yourself to drop whatever is in your hands to free them so you push someone back or begin to draw your lawfully carried and concealed handgun. Remember, not every encounter around your car will require a drawn pistol.

So, we have addressed approaching your car in a way that works for everyone. What about getting into the car? Take a moment to ensure that no one else is occupying your vehicle’s interior; at least glance into the backseat or the cargo area before entering.

Grab the seat belt and follow it down the buckle.

What if you are accosted as you are trying to get into the car? What if they are to force you into the back of your vehicle or, worse, someone else’s? Fight. Fight like the third whatever trying to get onto Noah’s Ark. Others have written about the second crime scene problem far more eloquently than I can. The bottom line? Nothing good will ever come out of that. Don’t let a criminal move you somewhere else.

How do you set yourself up inside the car? What about the seatbelt? What about your clothes, the ones you are wearing to conceal the pistol?


First, wear the bleeping seatbelt. Collectively, “we” – cops or not – lose many people to vehicle accidents. Historically, far more than are lost to ambushes and assaults. Wear your seatbelt.

After it’s unbuckled, push the seat belt across your body before beginning the next step.


How do you best prepare for drawing your concealed handgun should you need to? You set things up the same way regardless of where you are seated in the car.

First, put your seat belt on. Second, if you are wearing a cover garment, like an overshirt, pull it from under the seatbelt and let it drape over the seatbelt. Then, if you must draw, you raise the cover garment and access your holstered pistol – instead of having to fight your way past the seatbelt and then your clothes to get to the pistol.

If you used your left hand to release the seat belt, this is how it looks at the end.


Now that you have your seatbelt on, how do you deal with removing it? This is fairly easy with a bit of practice – which can be dry wherever you park. Two ways to do this:

  1. Find the seatbelt anywhere on your torso with the hand closest to the center console. Run your hand down the seatbelt webbing to the buckle. Then push the release button and shove the male end of the buckle across your torso and towards the door.
  2. Put your outside hand under the chest strap with your palm facing away. Follow the belt down to the buckle and release it. Push the seatbelt outward and away from you.


A left-hander opening the driver’s door – muzzle high and retracted with the support hand underneath.

Here is where things can get interesting. Get the door open before drawing. However, that cannot always happen. You need to be aware of where your trigger finger is and what it is doing if you must open a car door with a gun in your hand.

How it looks for a right-hander.

It is relatively easy if you are a right-hander in the driver’s seat or a left-hander in the passenger seat because the gun is in your inward hand, while your outward hand is free to open the door. However, that is not the case when you reverse those. If the handgun is in your outbound hand, retract the pistol to a retention position and elevate the muzzle. Then reach across and under with your inboard hand to pull the door handle. Once it is opened, push it out with your foot and brace it until it is stable. Then you may exit the car.


When you mentally prepare for an event and rehearse your actions, consider two things. First, what is the most likely attack you will face? Pay attention to your local news sources, including social media, and what your law enforcement agencies are discussing to find that out.

The end state. My friend Clint after dealing with the draw, the seatbelt, and a door.

Second, you will need to determine the most dangerous course of action. Again, contact your local cops and ask them what is happening where they work.

Once you determine the Most Likely and Most Dangerous courses of action, you can work them into your practice and training.

Pay attention to what and who is around your car. Don’t let an attacker take you somewhere else. Use your seatbelt and practice taking it off. Set yourself up to access your tools with the least amount of fuss. Know how to get out of the car without muzzling yourself. Finally, prepare for both the most likely and most dangerous events.