The belt keeper does none of the following:
- Go boom.
- Transmit 50,000 volts of electricity.
- Secure a suspect’s hands behind her back.
- Cause grown men to scream, cry, and wish the chili pepper was never invented.
But that does not mean the keeper is a negotiable piece of duty gear. There are two main reasons you should wear your belt keepers every shift.
Indexing Your Tools
There is no inessential equipment on your duty belt. Your cuffs, taser, OC, and gun all have a purpose. In the sanitized language of procedure manuals, these tools are used to safely gain control over a non-compliant party. To put it more bluntly: you use the tools on your belt to win a fight.
Sometimes, a preemptive draw and the threat to tase someone is all it takes to gain compliance. But often enough, the fight got nasty before you could draw one of your tools.
To win, you need to be able to rapidly deploy your tools. That means executing a well-practiced draw. Smooth. Fast.
The best way to get a smooth, fast, well-practiced draw is to practice over and over again, the same way again and again. Repetitions build muscle memory. Muscle memory allows you to draw on auto-pilot while you focus on the fight.
But your muscle memory is degraded or worthless if items aren’t where they were when you practiced. Movements like standing, sitting, walking, and getting into a car provide ample opportunities for an unsecured belt to shift, bringing its tools along with it.
Your keepers will make sure your belt doesn’t shift, allowing you to draw consistently. It’s a game of inches to be sure. But when the fight is on, you want all the factors on your side, even the subtleties.
Defending Your Tools
While keepers provide a subtle edge in a nasty scrap, they’re even more important in a do-or-die fight.
The tools on your belt provide you with a great advantage over others only so long as you retain them. As a consequence, you should train to defend those tools. Likely, that defense will involve moving the tool away from an attacker and retaining with all your strength.
If your belt rotates around your waist, you cannot effectively roll it away from an attacker.
If your tools are rotated behind your back, you cannot safely defend them from an attacker.
As you watch this next video, let your heart race as you imagine getting pummeled by an attacker intent on killing you.
Now imagine how much worse it would be if your gun is wrapped behind your back, out of your reach, clasped in the bandit’s hands.
Keepers won’t stop someone from attacking you, and they won’t win the fight. But not wearing them will make it a whole lot easier to lose your tools, or your life.
Keepers are a light, inexpensive, and extremely effective way to enable you to access and defend your tools. A set of my keepers also includes one keeper with a metal key clip so you can conveniently stash your keys on your belt. You can order a set here.
Whatever you do, do not put yourself in a position where a set of unworn keepers would have made the difference in a fight.