Do you have a NAKED gun? Please don’t let your gun go naked. You wouldn’t let your child go naked. You wouldn’t go out in public, naked, would you? Seriously, now that I have your attention, let’s talk about how you carry your gun. Now think about this: when you first pick up your gun, you should be “indexing” your trigger finger. This means that you should be keeping your trigger finger OFF the trigger until you are on target. Your trigger finger should be above the trigger guard area, “indexed” or pointed straight forward alongside the frame. Your trigger finger should NOT be in or on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. A well designed holster actually aids in this very important part of picking up or drawing your gun. Several years ago I read about an investigation into why so many people were having their gun go off “accidently”. The investigation found the shooters where keeping their finger on the trigger as the gun was re-holstered. As they shoved the gun into their holster, their trigger finger would catch on the edge of the holster, bushing the trigger finger up against the trigger! BANG! There was one particular brand of gun that seemed to have the most negligent discharges. It wasn’t the gun! It proved to be a fact that 70% of the shooters were using guns from this one manufacturer. No wonder 70% of the negligent discharges were from that model gun! These negligent shooters experienced the pain of shooting themselves in the leg as they re-holstered their gun.
Keep your finger OFF the “BANG SWITCH! A well made holster will allow you to let the gun enter the holster with little effort. As you are drawing or picking up your gun, the holster should keep your finger off the trigger. This works properly, both for drawing from a belt holster or acquiring the gun from a drawer or safe. The sides of a properly designed holster will cover the trigger area, keeping your finger away from the trigger.
The same applies with re-holstering your gun. The top of the holster must remain gapping open after you draw so when you go to put the gun back into the holster, it is open and your finger automatically stays outside, away from the trigger. The holster design must NOT allow any part of the holster or retention strap to fall into the trigger area, causing a negligent discharge.
A gun lying in the bottom of a women’s purse is a serious accident waiting to happen. Mixing up a loaded gun with keys, lipstick, makeup kit, tissue paper, and who know what else, is NOT the safest way to carry a gun. There are some excellent holsters made of soft nylon with an outside that grips and stays in your purse as you draw the gun. With these “sticky holsters” you must remove the holster from the purse, before putting the gun back in the holster. There are also some really finely made handbags for the ladies that are designed specifically to carry a gun. You too, guys! “A 32 caliber gun in your pocket for fun” can result in a “not so fun” experience. What else ends up in your pocket beside “pocket lint”? Again, things like keys, coins, pack of chewing gum or pocket knives, can result in a bad experience when they get tangled up with your gun’s trigger.
There are some excellent leather holsters out there. Most shooters end up buying at least three or four holsters before they settle on one that works for them. In the last 10 years or so, a new material has become very popular and my favorite. It is called “Kydex” which is made in Israel. Some compare “Kydex” to the popular kitchen storage bowls, but a lot harder and stiffer. Kydex comes in a variety of colors including pink for the ladies, and of course black. “Kydex” holsters from “Fobus”, are molded to fit the exact gun that it is designed for. The newer ones have an adjustment screw to set the “retention” of the gun in the holster.
There are also some holsters, in my humble opinion that you, need to stay far away from. So here is the good, the bad and the ugly.
The first group of holster styles I am going to discuss is the UNSAFE ones. These are the ones which, in my opinion, will get you into trouble. Now I am sure there are some who will disagree with me, just don’t do it where I get hurt, or I have to watch you get hurt.
Cross Draw Holsters: back in the 70’s, there used to be quite a few local, state and federal agencies who issued “cross draw” holsters. I used to work for one such agency. Not to mention their name, but it’s the one south of Alabama and Georgia. They no longer issue such holsters to their officers. The idea behind such a holster it is much more comfortable to wear and draw a “cross draw” while sitting in a car and driving for 8 hours or more. That’s where the good ends. During the action of drawing, the shooter in the very least, “flags” their other arm. By “flag”, I mean pointing the gun at something you do NOT want to destroy. The “cross draw” cause the gun to flag other people who may be behind or to your side as you bring the gun around to point it at whatever is threatening you. Most shooting ranges have banned cross draw holsters for just that reason. Shoulder holsters also come into the same category as cross draw. They look good in the movies and TV, are easily concealed under a coat, but they are dangerous.
SOB holsters: No, not that kind of SOB. Small of the Back is what SOB stands for. Again, the dangerous part is who and what are you flagging when you reach behind your back and draw. If you were to fall, you could sure mess up your tailbone if you fell on your gun and it hit your spine.
Ankle Holsters: I wore an ankle holster when I was in uniform, for about 21 years. This was my “backup” if my duty weapon was empty, or got taken away. Until well designed high security retention holsters came into the market, some law enforcement officers were shot with their own gun. An ankle holster might be considered for citizens who carry concealed. Ankle holsters are great for when you are sitting, such as in a car. But, to draw the ankle rig, you must kneel down and pull your pant leg up, to draw the gun.
Belly band holsters: These are great for concealment but can be hard to access. These look like one of those weight reducing elastic girdles, with a pocket to hold your gun. I don’t recommend these unless you’re working deep undercover.
Belt holsters: Think of your belt as a clock with the buckle at twelve o’clock, the right hip is three o’clock and the center of your back as six o’clock. The two o’clock, three o’clock and four o’clock positions are all easily concealable, and readily accessible. Use five, six and seven o’clock if you are a lefty. Whether you use an I.W.B., Inside Waist Band or Outside Waist band, it is entirely up to your preference and comfort. You must practice hundreds of times with an unloaded gun drawing from your holster, so your muscle memory will kick in during a high stress incident.
Holster Belts: Last and very important, you must have a belt strong enough and stiff enough to hold the weight of your holster. A weak floppy belt will give you problems such as letting your rig hang away from your body or move about too easily.
The best holster is the one works well for you. The holster should hug close to your waist. The holster must cover the trigger and should be specifically molded to fit your gun. Both women and men can wear jackets or shirts that are un-tucked and cover the gun. Don’t let your gun go naked!