It must be the end of the world or pretty damn close, but I’m clarifying a point I made years ago. Yes, the convenience of taking a holster/gun combination on and off has too much appeal not to expand further on the subject.

A Way of Life

I can recall a student once trying to convince the class and me they preferred a certain holster because it was easy to take on and off. It was a paddle holster and terrible design at that, but what rubbed me the wrong way was the blase attitude towards carrying concealed. It appeared this student was being inconvenienced to carry so anything making it easy was high on their list. A limited view point from my end, but not without justification. The student’s gear in question was commensurate with their comment hence the comment. What became a blanket statement for me was carrying concealed is not about convenience. This statement lacks a complete understanding of the big picture. For the seasoned practitioner, yes it is no longer a matter of convenience, it is a way of life.

The Revolving Door of On/Off

With the concealed carry world exploding it became apparent we would see many new students to the art. It is still the most popular class I teach on the road. What has changed is how I approach the subject of convenience. When convenience can increase safety then I’m a fan. When carrying in the early days it was a complete event to get all jocked up with my carry gear. As I carried more I learned what worked better and discarded the rest. There was also the volume and intensity that carrying everyday brings to the table. I learned quickly if I could easily take the holster/gun combination off I greatly reduced the chances of having a negligent discharge in my home. There were days, when if I were my poor front door I would have felt more like a revolving door.

Gun Safety, it is a Thing

Protecting the trigger from unauthorized access is a central tenant to good holster selection and safe gun handling skills. Something I observed overseas was gun handling skills like anything done over and over can be reduced to rote memorization of movements without truly performing the procedures. Fortunately, I was not required to follow the same rules, but I witnessed several close class around the clearing barrel. It is basic math, increase the likelihood of the event through volume and you increase the likelihood of the accident. Handling the gun in a safe manner is a habit, but have you ever made a mistake? Now add all the other life events thrown at you on a daily basis and you can see my point.

The Simple Solution

Being able to take the gun/holster combination on and off virtually eliminates the possibility of negligent discharges during the doffing stage. It can still happen of course, but the times you are handling the gun are fewer and typically you are paying more attention. These days, if I don’t keep the gun/holster combination ready to go at the very least I will check the gun then holster. Once safely holstered I attach the combination to my body. When I get home, I remove the combination and if necessary separate the two where one goes into the safe and the other into my gear box.

There is a time and a place for convenience, if it enhances safety it is something to consider. If it can reduce the opportunity for a mistake then it is something to be considered.

3 thoughts on “The Argument for Convenience

  1. Joe Sullivan says:

    Right on brother! It should be the 5th gun safety rule for those that carry. I only take mine out of holster to shoot it, clean it (admit I don’t do that enough) or to put it in gun safe.

  2. Billy says:


    I’m certainly not trying to play devil’s advocate.

    A couple of thoughts from an old guy who has learned a lot of new tricks, especially the last 2 decades.

    Making the assumption that an ND is more likely to occur due to more repetitions removing/inserting the handgun from the holster, is statistically incorrect. A defined event (ND in this discussion) is not going to occur more or less often if repetitions are increased from 1 to 10 to 100, or even 1000. Statistical “Confidence Levels” remain constant as repetitions increase.

    Yet, and here’s where I think you are tracking…human factors such as complacency. And I agree, if safety is marginalized due to human factors, an ND is more likely to occur. But this is “odds” and not statistical “probability” associated with repetitions.

    Some thoughts regarding doffing the handgun/holster combo and removing same.
    I have tried removing the combo as a unit. But, I feel I perform a safer movement by removing the gun from the holster and then removing my belt and holster. I believe my “odds” are greater dropping the combo on the ground or doing some other unsafe movement with a loaded, holstered weapon while the majority of my focus is on removing my belt from my jeans/trousers through tight holster belt loops. Regardless of method, one’s complete and undivided attention must be tuned to doffing or removing the weapon from one’s body. Again, mitigate human factors that may contribute to an undesired event. Bad things happen when humans lose focus handling weapons.

    And I always, after removing the weapon from secure storage, perform a press check, remove the mag and confirm full state. I don’t think I could ever have peace of mind regarding the state of a weapon if belting a weapon/holster combo that I had not checked for state of readiness. There’s another repetitive event.

    Thanks for the article(s)…always thought provoking reads!


    • Jeff Gonzales says:

      Hello Billy,

      Thank you for your reply, I’m sorry it took so long.

      I hear what you are saying and understand the difference. I might have been better off using different language to express my point.

      Reference the odds, yes…the point I was trying to make.

      I can understand how you would feel regarding the status check prior to jocking-up. One thing we do know is the frequency of said actions do create the environment for a negative outcome via unintended consequences. Do a search on bullet setup to see what I’m talking about.

      Good luck.

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