During a recent class, we discussed some tragic accidents involving concealed carry. I’m not sure they could have been avoided, but hopefully folks can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
When Baggy is Bad
One of the problems we see in our Concealed Carry classes occurs when students are attempting to re-holster. The concealment garments loosens and gets funneled into the holster’s mouth prior to the pistol re-holstering. The concealment garment gets shoved further into the holster applying pressure to all parts of the gun, to include the trigger. One of the most important features you look for in a holster is protecting the trigger and trigger guard has sufficient protection. In other words, while the pistol is holstered no object can gain access to the trigger. While you might have chosen an excellent holster that meets this objective, shoving a piece of your concealment garment into the holster as you re-holster will override your efforts.
No One is Exempt
You don’t have to be practicing from concealed to experience this issue. In fact, we brief in the beginning of all our classes the aspect of re-holstering must be conducted in a safe and controlled manner. Insure there is no foreign objects near the mouth of the holster. The most common culprit is the bottom hem of your shirt, but other items to keep an eye out for are drawstring hems & zipper pulls. In fact, I have a good friend who experienced a negligent discharge as a result of a zipper pull. Crazy stuff can happen so be safe and in control. Next, observe the re-holstering process. Look down to ensure there is no foreign object near the mouth of the holster. As you gently re-holster be on the lookout for any resistance. If you feel more resistance than normal…STOP! Identify what is causing the resistance, address the issue and carry on.
There is No Prize for the Fastest Re-holster
If you find yourself in a real world situation consider the fact you will be highly stressed, these procedures will help ensure when you re-hoster you do so safely. Before you re-holster ensure the scene is safe or the target is secure. Once you have completed all scans consider performing some ammunition management, after you complete that final step slowly, very slowly re-holster. Yes, I do suggest you observe the process, but keep things in perspective. The reason you are re-holstering is either you are being relieved, there is no longer a lethal threat or you are off the proverbial “X”. If you have any reason to believe there was still a threat to your safety then you wouldn’t be re-holstering. So, in this case, taking your eyes off your battle space to safely re-holster is the tactical imperative.
Protect the Trigger
For those who carry “off body” I first strongly encourage you to reconsider. I realize it is more difficult for women to carry concealed and this is an option for them. During our Concealed Carry Combatives classes we see so many off body ideas go the way of the dinosaur. If you carry off body I strongly encourage the trigger still be protected. That means light sheaths or in some cases a minimalist holster. I love the Vanguard 2 from Raven Concealment and use them more times than I can count. In the case of “off body” I would affix the holster to an anchor point so when I obtain my firing grip and retrieve the pistol from my off body concealment it separates from the holster on the drawstroke.
It is easy to second guess what happened in these events, but I am more inclined to remind folks of proper concealment protocol. Always re-holster safely and under control.