Concert Security Experiment #01

| October 20, 2017 | 3 Comments

The She Shepherd and I went to a rock concert at a small venue last night. I knew the venue had a strict no weapons policy, including OC spray. However, the concert was in downtown Minneapolis and I expected the concert to last until at least 11PM at night. I wanted to carry a defensive tool traveling to and from the venue.

I’ve been following Greg Ellifritz’s tips on discreetly carrying tools legally. Greg travels all over the world and routinely goes to concerts and music festivals. I have also studied Ed’s Manifesto to learn more about clandestine carry and misdirection.

I combined scouting the venue, Greg’s and Ed’s tips, and some social engineering to successfully carry a defensive tool at the concert without incident.

Scouting the Venue

I asked my peers if they knew what the door security was like.

Answers consisted of either lift your shirt / visual inspection or a pat down, with thoroughness running from “rudimentary” to “very,” based on the individual doing it.

Online searching indicated that the pat down was the most consistent method, with no mention of wands. However, I was unsure if I could count on this consistency. One peer indicated that the manager on duty could ramp measures up or down.

The Tools

I chose to carry the Rhino, a nonmetallic blade made by TW Brands. The knife is sold with a Kydex sheath with no metal added (such as a rivet or snap).

I carried the Rhino to the left of my body midline. The knife is a little bit longer than the Clinch Pick I normally carry in that position. The knife rode comfortably and was completely concealed.

I wasn’t ready to carry a handgun in, but having gone through this experience I feel like I could have easily done so.

I also carried my Nitecore flashlight (more on that in a moment), and my SFD Responder ankle medical kit.

Tips from Greg and Ed

I cobbled together a few tips from these two, and they greatly aided in my success:

Attach the sheath to a cord (in my case, paracord), and then push the tool so that it was vertically aligned with my zipper. This helped with the outline of the knife, as well as put it in a “reluctant touch” zone.

Per one of Greg’s posts, I looped the retention cord around my pants button. The cord was completely invisible once my pants were buttoned. This was a concealment improvement from using a belt loop.

From Ed’s Weaponology class, I knew I could draw attention away from something by drawing attention to something. In this case, I used the presence of my flashlight to increase the likelihood that the door guard would do a cursory check, and/or diminish the idea that I needed to be thoroughly checked.

The Venue

We arrived about 45 minutes into the opening act. There were three men working three doors. I chose the longest line, thinking that he’d feel the most pressure to get people through as quickly as possible. There were about 20 people queued up in front of him.

Immediately I could tell that he didn’t frisk anyone lower than their front pants pockets. This meant the trauma ankle kit would be spared an explanation.

The gentleman in front of me had something clipped to his front pocket. The doorman looked at it, sighed, and snatched it from his pocket. It was a flashlight, and I think he was expecting a knife. The doorman clicked it on and off, said something to the patron, and let him pass.

I already had my phone and ID in my right hand, but after seeing the flashlight incident I dug mine out of my pocket.

“ID, please,” he asked. I handed it over.

While he was looking at it, I started talking.

“Hey man,” I said with a smile. “I have this flashlight.”

He looked at the object in my hand, then quickly back to my ID, then took my flashlight. He clicked it on and off, and said, “don’t use it inside, OK?”

I agreed, and he gave me a quick pat on my rear pockets, front pockets, and cargo pockets.

In I went, with no search on my waistline or on my ankles.

Once inside I went to the restroom, shut the stall door, and repositioned the Rhino to its preferred spot. The rest of the night was a lot of fun, and I felt better knowing that I had something.

Next Time

The difficult thing about going to concerts, in my opinion, is that each venue is different, and then each musician may prompt a greater or lesser response. I remember being patted down by one guard and wanded by another at the Family Values tour, presumably due to the composition of the artists performing and the crowds that they generate.

If I were to go back to the same venue, to see roughly the same type of artist, I’d carry a Shield in a Smart Carry or minimalist holster on a cord. I don’t know if I would do that at the Target Center or some place known for using wands.

I have a few friends who have carried past wands, blaming the chirp chirp from the wand on the metal on the belt buckle and zipper. I’m not quite up to testing that yet, but if they can carry discretely, so can I.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

3 Comments on "Concert Security Experiment #01"

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  1. Gilbert says:

    While I applaud your willingness to conduct this “experiment” (I use that term loosely BTW), I have a problem placing myself in a situation where I can’t protect me or my family. Have I done it in the past? Yes. Did I like it? Most certainly not. Will I do it again? Maybe, but with the information you posted – and the links provided – I will reevaluate my situation and make a more informed decision. Thanks!

  2. Gabriel says:

    Great article. I had a humorous (to me anyway) pat down experience at 1st Ave. Security at the door was patting me down, touched my OWB Sig, touched the spare mag in my back pocket, then said, “ok”. For a fraction of a second, I thought I was going to make the trip back to the truck to secure my firearm.

    My take on the experience is that this guy either got scared, pats thousands of people so he was just going through the motions, or was just really terrible at that part of his job. No matter what it was that night, the pat downs at the door was pure theater.

  3. Rod D. says:

    Having worked concert security for a couple of summers in the early ’90s, I can attest to the fact that the pat-down policy can vary from venue to venue and artist to artist within the same venue. And the variance does not always go the way one might think. I remember a Boyz II Men concert that had the strictest pat down I had ever witnessed up to that time. The vast majority of the crowd consisted of upper middle-class parent/chaperones treating their kids to their first concert, yet we were having them empty bags, remove outer garments, and raise their arms during a pat down clear to their ankles–even the kids! The venue was in a sprawling office park nestled in a decidedly upper middle-class suburban enclave. The only reason I can think of for this ridiculously tight security was the racial profile of the majority of the crowd. Especially in light of the fact that the obstreperous, pubescent, punk patrons of a Marilyn Manson concert just a couple weeks prior got nothing more than a cursory nod of acknowledgement before gaining entry. The point is, concert security standards tend to be at the capricious whim of the management of the venue and the security subcontractors. And those whims often reflect political rather than practical considerations. Your outward appearance weighs more than your intentions in the amount of scrutiny you receive.

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