Have you ever watched a professional carpenter working? That guy (or gal as the case may be) can, while hanging from a ladder or sprawled across a roof, find every tool on their belt and replace it. Without looking. Every single time they need to.
Accessing our tools quickly — and without looking — is even more important for police officers than it is for carpenters. Every now and again when the mood hits you, put yourself through the tool belt drill.
“What is the tool belt drill?” you ask. It is a simple drill that can be done in a few minutes. All the tool belt drill is you take the time to remove and replace everything on your belt. With your eyes forward at an imaginary suspect:
• Remove your flashlight and put it away
• Withdraw your TASER and put it away
• Grab your radio or access your collar mic
• Take out your handcuffs, your pepper spray, your baton, and so on...
You should do each of these movements about five times. With a little bit of regular practice, you will get to the point that you do not have to look away from your suspect to either access or replace any of your equipment. You can use a training firearm (like a ‘Blue Gun’) and do this off range with your sidearm also, but that’s not the principal focus of the tool belt drill. We're talking here about all your other tools...
Do this drill until it is second nature to obtain the tools you need without needing to take your attention away from the hands of the suspect. As J.D. “Buck” Savage would say: “Watch the hands!”
The tool belt drill is simple. It costs you and your department nothing. But it can prove invaluable.