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While attending the 2008 Shot Show in Las Vegas, NV. I was introduced to veteran Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Robert Hindi. After shaking hands and conversing briefly, it was apparent to me that Hindi was a man on a mission to convince officers to adopt his Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System. While I admired his passion for officer safety, I was skeptical of his "one size fits all" approach to duty belt set-up.
As an instructor in the defensive tactics and firearms disciplines, I frequently caution officers not to become overly reliant on their equipment. After all, having the right tool for the job is one thing but being able to access it effectively under stress is quite another. I was curious to see whether or not the arrangement of Hindi's duty belt would allow him better access to equipment than other proficient officers whose belts were configured more traditionally.
I had always thought that the configuration of an officer's duty belt should be a personal decision. I had found it ridiculous and arrogant for departments to mandate the manner in which an officer carries their equipment. An officer's size, flexibility, and preference for one piece of equipment over another should dictate the placement of items on their duty belt. Different strokes for different folks, right? Wrong! After watching Hindi's 30-minute presentation, I was forced to take a harder look at the significance of duty belt set-up.
I had to admit that positioning items in the manner Hindi prescribed made sense, at least in theory. It was apparent that his approach was well researched. He referenced convincing documentation from ergonomic doctors, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons, all of whom endorsed his system. However, it wasn't until I saw the speed in which Hindi deployed each of the items on his duty belt (with either hand) that I truly "bought into" his approach. He was not only fast; he was faster than anyone I'd seen!
The acronym S.A.F.E.T.Y. stands for Safer Accessibility and Faster, more Effective Tactics for You.
Hindi's system was designed to allow an officer to quickly and precisely access all of their essential life-saving equipment (firearm, magazines, baton, pepper spray, handcuffs, radio, and TASER) in a moment's notice, with either hand. This enables the officer to deploy two pieces of equipment at once.
For example, an officer might simultaneously draw pepper spray and a baton when faced with a combative suspect. The officer can pepper spray the suspect, causing the suspect to instinctively cover his face. This exposes the suspect's lower body to baton strikes if appropriate.
Another advantage of the Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System is that it allows an officer to cover all of their weapons by simply allowing their bent arms to extend downward naturally. This action alone could thwart an attempted disarm.
If a suspect managed to grab an officer's holstered firearm, the officer could clamp down on his hand to secure the firearm while simultaneously drawing their baton with their other hand. The officer could then use the Hindi Baton Cap (Hindi's invention designed to allow faster deployment of the baton and enable the officer to generate more powerful strikes) to strike the suspect in the head in order to prevent being disarmed.
Unlike other systems that promote the frontal placement of critical equipment on the duty belt, Hindi advocates the "specific and strategic" placement of equipment in the following manner for a right handed officer (from left to right starting from the buckle):
- Magazine pouch (worn vertically)
- Belt keeper
- Auto lock baton with Hindi Baton Cap and front draw rocking swivel holster
- Belt keeper
- Belt keeper
- Glove pouch
- Belt keeper
- Flashlight (optional)
- Belt keeper
- Belt keeper
- Pepper spray
In situations where the officer is required to quickly, escalate or de-escalate their level of force, the frontal placement of equipment enables the officer to draw or holster without having to fumble while reaching to the rear of his/her duty belt.
Drawing or holstering a baton or pepper spray worn to the rear of the duty belt can be next to impossible under stressful conditions when fine motor skills deteriorate. Also, drawing or holstering in this manner can place the officer in an off-balanced and vulnerable position.
From the ground, frontal placement of equipment affords the officer more mobility than traditional methods. When an officer is on their back, they need to seize every advantage to tilt the odds in their favor. Frontal placement of equipment could allow the officer to sweep a suspect onto his back, placing the officer a more dominant position.
In addition to the tactical advantages of the Hindi Duty belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System, there appear to be some ergonomic benefits. For example, Hindi's research suggests that carrying a glove pouch to the rear of your duty belt provides a degree of support to your spine when seated in your patrol car for extended periods as well as during a fight that goes to the ground. His recommended frontal placement configuration also serves to alleviate undo pressure on the lower back by equally distributing the weight of the belt.
The Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System was designed to minimize body strain resulting from reaching at odd angles to retrieve equipment. Frontal placement allows for more ergonomically correct acquisition of equipment from the duty belt.
When it comes to setting up your duty belt, you should make informed decisions based on legitimate research rather than blindly accepting as gospel more traditional methods of configuring your belt. Don't carry your handcuffs or baton behind your firearm just because your field training officer did!
The mere fact that Hindi has caused officers to consider the importance of duty belt set-up is hugely important. After having seen Hindi's presentation and DVD, I will never look at a duty belt the same way. I'm convinced that Hindi's research into duty belt set-up will prevent officers from being injured and ultimately save lives.
The Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System is endorsed by some of the most respected names in police defensive tactics, such as Dave Smith a.k.a. "Buck Savage", the former Lead Instructor for the popular Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminars and Ed Nowicki, a nationally recognized "use of force expert" and trainer who co-founded the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).
For more information on the Hindi Duty Belt S.A.F.E.T.Y. System, the Hindi Baton Cap or to order the 40-minute professionally produced DVD, visit www.batoncap.com.
Be safe. Never give up!