Weapons Check – Pat Down Procedure
A weapons check procedure consists of a pat down of a person. The proper protocol for initial pat down is to first have a self-check so people have the discipline to check themselves, and it gives them an opportunity if they did make a mistake to go to their car or take other precautions to remedy such as removing a pocket knife, etc. You want to check for any ammunition, pistols or other firearms and knives. When classes have drills to shoot from the ground, be sure to remove items that may tear up your mats or cause the student an injury.
After a self-check, the buddy check where people left and right give a quick check and pat down along the waistline to make sure there’s no appendix carry, 4 o’clock carry of any pistols and quick tap to the ankle in an abundance of caution to make sure there’s no ankle holsters, shoulder holsters, etc.
Thereafter the instructor does a quick diligent safety check of just checking every individual very quickly, the waistline, the shoulder area, the ankles which can actually be done very quickly and efficiently to absolutely ensure everyone in the training area is not carrying a live-fire tool or any sort of weapon.
Always remind students to check the instructor. As noted above an instructor in law enforcement is a main culprit for a catastrophic accident in force-on-force training, that is where marking cartridges are used and scenarios are put forth to train shooting other individuals similar to paintball but in practical application scenarios for training and exposure. However the number one person potentially violating the rules is an instructor coming back from lunch who’s gunned up and no one bothered to check him because of the “respect” for the instructor who is subconsciously breaking the rules. Therefore, it’s best practice to train the students to always check the instructor and anyone else who might be in that training area, for example a photographer or film person who may be doing marketing material for your class.
Communicate to the students that they are also responsible for the class’s safety. This is not to say that you are alleviating your responsibility, but rather you are extending and reinforcing it to the group level. In other words, students should feel empowered and authorized to call out any safety violation or even a possible potential safety violation. In other words, build a culture in your class that a student may ask another individual if they’ve been safety checked and this is not an awkward or a faux pas request. Safety is paramount and everyone should take strong ownership and responsibility for the safety and well being of each other and the class in general.
Video of Sample Class Related to This Block
The sample videos below are to help you see how this instruction is actually taught. Now, this is not the only way to instruct, but it is shown to give you an example.