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Train to confront an upside-down world

Are you prepared to confront an upside-down world? Firearms guru John Farnam finds a valuable training lesson in a friend’s struggle to hang Christmas lights.

Well winterized with warm coat and cap, the friend, who stays habitually armed, was trying to attach strands of bulbs to the gutter along his roof. He was on his stomach, “side-crawling on the roof,” when to secure a connection at one point he found it necessary to angle downward, head slightly below his feet.

“Suddenly,” he told Farnam, “I felt a cold, heavy object moving down, through my coat, toward my neck.” His gun, of course, and then “at least a dozen other less critical items began a migration” from his pockets.

He recovered the stuff, got himself straightened up and the lights installed without breaking his neck. But the experience reminds Farnam of a sad truism of much weapons training.

“Just as we like to do all our firearms practice on bright, sunny, warm days, we also like to do it all while upright and on our feet,” says Farnam, who instructs police forces throughout the world through his organization, Defense Training International.

“Fighting for your life in the cold and dark —o n slick, uneven ground, in the rain, laboriously slogging through mud, broken glass, and dog shit while wearing heavy clothing — is bad enough. Imagine yourself simultaneously hanging onto something in order to keep from falling and finding your body angled downward.

“We need to test our emergency equipment carry strategy, on- and off-duty, now and then to at least assure it will stay in place during a backward roll, which you’ll likely experience the next time you’re unceremoniously knocked on your fanny.

“When we train, we’re sometimes too interested in ‘looking good’ rather than ‘training good’ by strenuously testing ourselves and our gear.”

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