Beware the emphatic holster

Handling a gun can be dangerous.

A lot of “accidents” happens during administrative gun handling; that is, not when shooting a gun, but when taking it out, putting it away, or otherwise fiddle-farting with the gun.

One of the more dangerous parts of administrative gun handling? Putting the gun back into a holster.


The motion is “pushing the gun forward”. When this happens, if anything comes in contact with the trigger, the gun itself is able (continues) to move forward — but the trigger does not. The trigger stops and basically is moved backwards, and that then causes the trigger to do what it’s designed to do – and the gun fires.

That’s not good.

So why might this happen?

A number of reasons.

Clothing moves and finds its way into the holster.

I’ve seen spent brass eject, bounce off stuff, and land in holsters.

Sometimes debris from the berm (bits of mud or small rocks) can fly and land in strange places.


Who knows. And really, it doesn’t matter exactly why nor exactly what. The reality is, stuff that shouldn’t be in the holster DOES wind up in the holster.

And that could cause you a world of hurt.

I see it more often than I care to. People emphatically slam their guns back into the holster. They were upset about their performance on that drill. They were really happy about their performance on that drill. They were in a hurry. It really doesn’t matter why nor what, but they just slam that gun back into the holster.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

If you slam the gun back into the holster and something is in the way, you’ll never know. Check that. You will know – when you end up with a round in your body and a trip to the hospital.

I’m sure you don’t want that to happen.

Instead, go slow.


There’s little reason to 1. not LOOK at the holster while you are holstering the gun, 2. move slowly. OK sure, there may be some times in some contexts when this is required, but those are extremely rare – and exceptions do not prove the rule.

When you holster the gun you should look at and in the holster. Look first. See if there is anything in the way. If there is, move it, fix it, clear it. If you cannot look at the holster, figure out how to make it so you can. If you must move anatomy out of the way, do so. If your holster is in a place where you can’t look (e.g. small of the back), maybe your holster needs a better place to live. Look. See. Strive to ensure the holster is safe and clear for you to place the gun into it.

When you put the gun back into the holster, MOVE SLOW. When you slowly holster, you’re able to feel if something is wrong, if something doesn’t feel right, if something might be in the way that might cause the gun to fire. This is important information! Because if you feel something it wrong, you can STOP IMMEDIATELY! I hope you can see how this could prevent something undesirable from happening.

I know it’s hard. We get into the moment and our emotions can get the better of us. But we must be better than that. We must work to control our emotions. By choosing to carry a gun we also carry a grave responsibility. We may not be perfect at it (we are human, after all), but we must strive to do better. We must work to be aware of what’s going on, and work to ingrain the habit to a level of unconscious competence so when we holster our gun, it’s always done in a safe manner.

The emphatic holster has no place in safe gun handling. Holster by looking, holster slowly. Be sure, be safe.

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