The Evils Of Speed Holstering

JimConway

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[h=2]The Evils Of Speed Holstering[/h]
Posted by Ed Head on Jul 3rd, 2012 and filed under Ed Head, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through theRSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry



Alright guys, let’s admit it; we all learned to shoot watching our heroes on television and in the movies. As a youngster I would try to outdraw Marshal Dillon at the beginning of Gunsmoke then manfully shove my pistol into the holster just like Paladin did in Have Gun, Will Travel. This childish play with a toy gun was harmless but there are some serious issues involved with slamming a loaded pistol into a holster. Putting the pistol away quickly or forcefully is what I refer to as speed holstering, perhaps the most evil of bad habits one can acquire as a shooter. Speed holstering is tactically unsound, very unsafe and probably accounts for the majority of self inflicted wounds during handgun training.
Although there may be some very good reasons for drawing a pistol quickly from the holster there is almost never a reason to be in a hurry to put the gun away and there is never a good reason to shove it into the holster in dramatic fashion. Doing so risks being caught in the holster when the fight might not be over and vastly increases the risk of a self inflicted wound to the leg, foot or butt.
The Shot, Case #1
The media personality was in day two of a beginning class when she became distracted by thoughts concerning her family and job. Without thinking she failed to remove her finger from the trigger before holstering and fired a shot as she shoved her pistol into the holster. Her immediate reaction was to throw the pistol away from her, actually striking another student with it. With two holes in her upper leg she was treated on the scene and at a hospital and was back with the class for dinner that night. When asked what it felt like to shoot herself with a 9mm hollowpoint, she said it stung.
Lessons learned: Although we try, we can’t completely control the minds and the emotions of our students. Incidents like this remind us all we need to be very alert and watch carefully for signs of inattention or fatigue. We do as best we can, even though sometimes being just a couple of feet away from someone and seeing this coming is not enough to stop them in time.
The Shot, Case #2
The doctor had lots of money and not much time so he enrolled in private training. Wanting to make the most of his training time he brought several pistols to experiment with. Shortly after switching pistols he holstered with his finger on the trigger and shot himself in the leg with a round of .45ACP hardball. Being a doctor and not wanting to embarrass himself by going to a hospital he talked the instructor into letting him treat himself. Bandaging up an entrance and an exit wound he proceeded to drive himself to a colleague for treatment. On the way to his doctor friend he discovered he was leaking all over his expensive car. Further examination revealed the other two holes in his lower leg he had not been aware of.
Lessons learned: Whether a qualified medical person or not, don’t let people treat themselves or make important decisions while under stress or in shock. The doctor failed to do a complete examination, something essential with any gunshot wound. Just because you have located one or two bullet holes you cannot assume there are no others. The person shot often doesn’t feel a thing at first and is usually unhelpful in determining where they have been hit. Always insist on an examination by an impartial medical professional and never let someone transport themselves.
Be careful to avoid getting clothing tangled up with the pistol when holstering.
The Shot, Case #3
A shooter in an advanced class was feeling a little stressed due to being introduced to a drill that pushed him beyond his comfort level. Being well trained didn’t keep him from slamming his .45 into the holster with the safety off and his finger on the trigger. The full metal jacket round traveled down his thigh, making an entrance and exit wound just under the skin, made an entrance and exit wound in the calf, went through his foot, bounced off the ground and ended up inside his sneaker, intact. One shot, six holes, no broken bones. After treatment by EMS and the hospital he was able to drive himself home the next day and returned later for additional training.
Lesson learned: Even six holes from a .45ACP do not necessarily produce a devastating wound. The shooter reported no pain whatsoever for the first 30 minutes or so and afterwards described his discomfort as a throbbing low level pain. After recovering the bullet the shooter had a charm made out of it he wears around his neck, a constant reminder to pay attention when handling firearms.
An interesting fact: Having interviewed a number of people who have experienced one of these leg shots, they all reported the treatment was much worse than the gunshot. Apparently, having antiseptic flushed through a wound channel is a real eye opener.
Clothing must be clear before holstering with an inside the waistband (IWB) holster
The Shot, Case #4
A retired military officer and author was using an inside the waistband (IWB) holster in class. Getting a bit ahead of himself, he shoved his pistol into the holster without first having taken the precaution of getting his finger clear of the trigger. The resulting gunshot didn’t hit anything vital but seriously wounded his pride.
Lesson learned: If you want to shoot yourself in the butt during training an IWB holster is the way to do it, as the muzzle generally ends up pointed at your posterior. Great care needs to be taken when holstering with an IWB holster; some instructors do not allow them during training.
Failing to de-cock, followed by holstering with the finger touching the trigger is a very bad thing.
Prevention
Okay kids, here’s how all of us, whether shooters or instructors, are going to eliminate these things from happening during training:
1. Never, ever speed holster or allow it during training.
2. Always follow a post shooting sequence. Come to a low ready position with finger off the trigger, look around (make sure the bad guy is through being bad or doesn’t have friends), reload as needed (you don’t know if the fight is over and need to be ready for whatever may happen next), reset the safety or de-cock, take a BIG BREATH, and holster SLOOOOOWLY.

3. By holstering slowly and carefully you will avoid hooking the trigger on holster parts or clothing, something you can’t stop if the pistol is slammed into the holster. While holstering, if you feel resistance, STOP.

Follow these steps yourself, make all who shoot with you follow them, and we’ll all be safer and better prepared for the real thing.
About the Author:
Ed Head is a regular on Shooting Gallery and Down Range TV. He has worked for almost 30 years in law enforcement, first in the United States Air Force and then with the United States Border Patrol, retiring as a Field Operations Supervisor. During his Border Patrol career, Ed worked in a variety of patrol, investigative and training capacities. Ed has an extensive background as a firearms instructor, having trained thousands, ranging from beginners to police, military and special operations personnel. Having taught at Gunsite for 20 years, Ed first trained there under the world famous shooting school’s founder, Jeff Cooper, then later ran the school as the operations manager for more than five years. Ed lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, where he continues to teach and write.


 
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All the guys in these case studies were very lucky, as their holsters were between 3-5 o'clock. Had anyone used appendix carry, he could very well shot through the femoral.

This is one of the reasons I pick HK P7 or variants as my primary carry when possible. I don't mean to rely solely on mechanical safety device, but the squeeze-cocking mechanism does provide an extra layer of protection should other stars aligned the wrong way. The Case #3 photo looks to me to be a P7M8 in Milt Sparks holster.

Thank you for the post. I holster pretty slowly, these pictures remind me to be even more careful.
 

JimConway

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I often see speed bolstering in beginner classes
i can normally put a stop to it, by explaining
That it is very dangerous
That it is totally unnecessary
That no armed confrontation has ever been won by speed holstering

I also explain the details of an after action drill, as follows:
From a ready position, follow the BG to the ground
Pause and make sure the BG is out of the fight
Scan to break any tunnel vision
Check the BG again
Do a full 360 check for any other threats
Check the BG again
Reload
Check your body for leaks
Bring the gun back to your #2 position
Decide if it is safe to holster
Take a deep breath
Slowly and reluctantly holster
 

Bill Nance

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I often see speed bolstering in beginner classes
i can normally put a stop to it, by explaining
That it is very dangerous
That it is totally unnecessary
That no armed confrontation has ever been won by speed holstering

I also explain the details of an after action drill, as follows:
From a ready position, follow the BG to the ground
Pause and make sure the BG is out of the fight
Scan to break any tunnel vision
Check the BG again
Do a full 360 check for any other threats
Check the BG again
Reload
Check your body for leaks
Bring the gun back to your #2 position
Decide if it is safe to holster
Take a deep breath
Slowly and reluctantly holster
Agree completely.

A thousand different reasons to draw quickly. ZERO for holstering without due care. I stress this in every class I teach, even the basic ones where CCW isn't really the main topic as it's SO easy to do.

Clothing caught in the trigger guard, especially with IWB holsters is a huge issue and very easy for even quite experienced and otherwise cautious shooters to do.

A finger on the trigger I frankly have no sympathy for. If you haven't learned to keep your booger hook off the bang switch unless actively firing, even in a basic pistol class, your class sucked or you weren't paying attention.

That said, in every class there are one or two people who need to be yelled at on range day about fingers on triggers. I am not nice about this unless it's the first time, and have actually frightened a couple of students. That's fine. Those same students have later thanked me for "getting their attention." We try to keep everything fun and low key. But basic safety violations are almost always the cause of tragedies. I'd rather have a student intimidated or angry with me for a few minutes than have them EVER forget about rule 2.

Great post Jim, Thanks for finding and re-posting.
 

JimConway

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In a class, I always teach the 4 safety rules
After I am done explaining the rules, I ask each student if they understand and agree to follow the rules
They always say yes.
I then explain that if they do not follow the rules, I may ask them to leave the class and will not refund any money
Then I ask them again if they agree to this
They always say yes.
 

Bill Nance

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In a class, I always teach the 4 safety rules
After I am done explaining the rules, I ask each student if they understand and agree to follow the rules
They always say yes.
I then explain that if they do not follow the rules, I may ask them to leave the class and will not refund any money
Then I ask them again if they agree to this
They always say yes.
Seriously Jim?

You have room full of 15 novices and NONE of them EVER have an issue with finger on the trigger or barrel wavering after the initial explanation? You must be dealing with a different kind of novice than I am, because MOST of my students have to be reminded once or twice at least. And that's AFTER a rather extensive review of the four rules and why they matter. We reduce that to a gross minimum before live-fire, but my experience at Frontsight and Gunsite as well as my own classes make me a little hesitant about your (I think) claims?

Maybe you just have all-intermediate shooters. Whatever. That's not my case at all. And frankly some of the more experienced shooters I have are the worst culprits.
 

JimConway

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Bill
i agree that supposedly experienced shooters can be a major problem.

Please notice what I am doing. I am challenging them, with a real money penalty
i have done this in a 40 person Women on Target class with excellent results
All of the 40 women had no experience.
One of the problems that I used to have, was a person picking up a gun from the bench.
Most of them would end up with their finger on the trigger.
I then started explaining how it was natural to use all four fingers and the thumb when picking up anything. I then told them that they must do something that was not natural to be safe. I told them that they must keep the trigger finger straight and along side of the frame. Them I had them practice this
just my thoughts
your mileage may vary
 
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