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Gun Safety Tips for Beginners: Avoiding Holster Mishaps
When you’re learning something new, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Ask any firearms training instructor and they’ll agree that the most dangerous moment in a class—and likely the one in which a mishap or mistake will occur—is when beginners start working with their holsters.
In a past issue of Concealed Carry Magazine, Kathy Jackson outlines some of the risks involved when a gun is drawn from a holster incorrectly, as well as how to avoid them. We’ve highlighted a few of them below.
If a gun is drawn from a shoulder holster or reholstered incorrectly and the gun is accidentally discharged, the brachial artery could be shot. If this major blood vessel is hit, rapid blood loss will occur. To avoid an accidental discharge, always keep your trigger finger off the trigger when drawing or reholstering. During a concealed draw, a shooter can raise their non-dominant elbow as high as they can during the drawstroke to reduce the risk of crossing the brachial artery. During an open draw, slap the non-dominant hand on the dominant shoulder while getting a solid grip on the gun and keep the elbow elevated until the gun clears the area.
There are two risks when you are using belt holsters for your concealed carry purposes. One is “muzzling” the lower leg during the drawstroke as well as when reholstering if you draw from a kneeling position. The other is sweeping the abdomen during the drawstroke, which occurs “if the non-dominant palm is not securely anchored on the abdomen.” To avoid these mishaps, Jackson instructs readers to draw before kneeling, or to anchor your wrist or elbow on your abdomen. When drawing from a concealed holster, always make sure to move your cover garment far enough out of the way when anchoring your non-dominant hand.
When reholstering, remember the following:
- If using a collapsible belt holster, put the gun inside of it before placing the holster back on the belt.
- When using other types of belt holsters, make sure loose clothing is moved out of the way so it doesn’t obstruct your ability to safely reholster. If you feel resistance, stop and check for obstacles before you continue.
- Make sure your trigger finger is out of the way before reholstering to avoid accidentally firing. Also, keep your wrist straight to prevent yourself from accidentally discharging your gun into your torso.
Learning to safely draw and reholster your gun is an essential step of firearms training for any responsibly armed citizen. A little practice and preparation could make a huge difference if you find yourself in a situation where you must respond quickly to defend yourself and your family. This is one of the many reasons the USCCA encourages routine firearms training courses.