Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You're doing it wrong.

Did you know that there is no prize for being the first person with their gun back in the holster? It's true.

And yet you'd be hard-pressed to tell that fact some days at the range, watching the elaborate kata some shooters go through as they jam their heater back into the holder.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is one of the major causes of unexpected loud noises. These noises are bad enough with a holster carried in a traditional position on the hip, where the shootee might find themselves awarded a "racing stripe", but with other forms of carry, such as the increasingly popular appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB), it's even more important to do it exactly right:
Think of all the stories you’ve read online in which someone shot himself in the foot, leg, thigh, or buttock while drawing or holstering. Now imagine if those stories all involved someone getting a self-induced lightning fast ballistic vasectomy, instead.

Get good training. Use good gear. Practice. Think about why you do the things you do. "Because the other kids are doing it!" is no more a valid answer now than it was when you were five.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good grief!

I know Position Sul is cul because of the irresponsibility of gun rags but why is this insane appendix carry crap catching on?

Why is it cool to points guns at your body? What would possess someone to do this?

Shootin' Buddy

Joseph said...

There's not necessarily a prize for reholstering fast, but in CAS, you have to be able to get that revolver back in the holster quickly to get to the next firearm. That said, if you manage to holster a loaded revolver, you are disqualified.

I don't think this validates your point, but it may be best to say (and this is how I've always heard it) that you'll never win a gun fight by holstering quickest.

Joseph said...

Er, I mean invalidates. Morning fail.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the guy that had someone shoot themselves reholstering recently?

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

"Isn't this the guy that had..."

You're thinking of Buz Mills.

Oh, wait, that guy wasn't re-holstering.

Look, Todd has a comments section. Why don't you ask him?

Joanna said...

All you have to do is link "appendix carry" with "ballistic vasectomy" and it would be unheard-of.

Jim said...

I can't imagine a grownup thinking AIWB is either uniquely useful or even tacticool. Is it a case of "combat handgun instructors" inventing techniques to differentiate themselves from the jillion others with ten acres and a berm?

But one line at the site struck me as worth repeating:

"Guns with manual safeties and/or exposed hammers are safer. Pout all you want, but physically blocking the gun from discharging as you holster it is a huge safety benefit."

So if you must point your pistol at the family jewels, make it a 1911.

Jim (weak side, butt forward, cross draw, since the Nixon Administraton)

rremington said...

Some of us don't have to worry about AIWB carry as we don't have a waist in that area.....

wv: spitize......I'm not going there

Boat Guy said...

The first time I saw someone carrying in such a position several things came to mind; Rule #1, Rule #2 and "What the hell?". Simply stated, such an idea never came to mind before I ever saw this phenomenon, cause it never would have occurred to me...I guess from either a limited imagination or from some affection for my body.

Cybrludite said...

I think Lawdog has a story about that sort of carry resulting in a one-shot stop with a Raven .25...

http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2006/06/darwin-is-rotter.html

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Why is it cool to points guns at your body? What would possess someone to do this?"

The fact that my body shape means any IWB carry that is practical and sustainable causes the muzzle to point at some part of my body. IWB at 5 o'clock means I would only crease by buttock, but it also means I reholster slowly and carefully.

Lewis said...

This is not directly on point (as if, ha ha, I am *ever* directly on point), but the older I get, the more I come to appreciate the virtues of what I once regarded as "boring" guns. By "boring" I mean a pistol that America designed and perfected: the medium frame service revolver.

I am not an advocate of position sul--in fact, I didn't even know what it was until Tam's recent post on same--and I am not much of an advocate of AIWB. With that said, however, I find myself looking at the virtues of a good double action revolver and saying, "Ah-hah, yup, right there."

Even the slickery-slickeriest of highly tuned DA sixguns will have, what, a seven or so pound trigger pull? And excepting the Centennial series (and other Centennial-esque sixguns), every revolver will have an exposed hammer, upon which, when reholstering, one may place their thumb. Those two things in conjunction would seem to mitigate against most of the "hey I shot myself" incidents.

Over at the Arms Room, I well remember Tam mentioning that her four inch Combat Magnum---sniff, we disdain to refer to is as a mere "Model 19," sniff--might be the ultimate general purpose revolver. The older I get, the more I begin to think that it's little brother, the three inch Military & Police Magnum might be the ultimate carry revolver, and maybe the ultimate carry pistol.

Failing that, a variation on the JMB (pbuh) 1911, with its multiple redundant safety features.

(These thoughts, suspicions and tentative conclusions do not represent a slam on other choices, as they are *my* thoughts, suspicions and tentative conclusions.)

Anonymous said...

The other side of why we don't speed reholster is scanning after the shot. If you agree with the four step draw, it makes good sense to scan at each step as you reholster.

Frankly, IMHO, scanning is probably right up there with marksmanship if you are in a bad place.

Al T.

John Stephens said...

Upon deciding to start CCW, I experimented with several positions. What you call AIWB turned out to be the best compromise between accessibility, concealability, and comfort. If I can't get at my weapon, it's useless. If the cops are bothering because my weapon's printing, it's useless. If I quit carrying it because it's digging into my flesh, it's useless. It's an imperfect compromise; such is life.

ToddG said...

I'm not going to drag Tam's site into a mired debate about the efficacy of AIWB carry.

From the post Tam linked:
(I)f you make a mistake while drawing or holstering from AIWB it will be a serious accident. If you’re lucky, you’ll only shoot yourself in the genitalia. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll put a bullet in your femoral artery and bleed out before anyone can save you.

Suffice to say that some of us understand the pros and cons and consider it the best option for us. If you feel otherwise, don't carry that way. Personally, I'd much rather someone shy away from it than "give it a try" without thinking through everything involved in doing it safely.

Will Brown said...

I have to wonder how much of this practicing the re-holster is a result of shooters not wanting to appear less than fully competent to other shooters. Fumbling around with the re-holster has to cost cool points after all (and who among us doesn't have a gun to accumulate cool points with other gun owners? sorry, backlog of cynicism I'm afraid). As well, the more widespread awareness of katanna forms due to gaming (a maneuver begins and ends from an empty-hands position) likely contributes to this silliness also.

A possible addendum to the Four Rules might help in this regard, you can't fast-draw from a concealed carry*, but you can shoot yourself in a hurry trying. Re-holstering would seem a logical extention of that.

*Just my opinion, but if you can't deploy your weapon from the holster and get an aimed round off in at most a substantial fraction of a second, I don't care how smooth your draw it aint fast.

RevolverRob said...

I took a training class from a local instructor who kept driving that SPEED was a part of the equation that you had to work on. I told him, I preferred to not get in a hurry with a loaded gun in my hand when I went to stick it back in my holster. He wanted, "fluidity and conservation of motion".

I told him I could get my gun out and get two rounds into COM at 10 yards in 1.3 seconds. Why did I need to get it back in the holster and put two rounds in my leg in 1.3 seconds?

I left the class after that day, thinking that I had learned something valuable, even if it wasn't great instruction. Not everyone who claims to be a professional is, nor should the techniques they propose always be considered valid.

-Rob

Lewis said...

RevolverRob:

Molasses is a fluid!

Anonymous said...

I've been carrying AIWB for about ten years now (I didn't know it was a cool thing to do). I first encountered it in the early 90s on a few DEA agents. Fast forward to about five years ago and while talking to Lou ALessi about making me an AIWB rig he mentioned that he not only knew the aforementioned DEA agents (one in particular) but that he had been asked to modify his NY Talon specifically for AIWB.

I'm mentionning all this only to show that some serious guys (excluding myself) have been working with that method of carry succesfully for quite a while now.

Sure, it has many of the disadvantages mentioned by many here but, for me at least, it's a system that works better than others once it has been fully thought out and practiced.

Terry

Will said...

Colonel Cooper was one of the advocates of appendix carry for concealment purposes, as stated in his writings.
I seem to recall that is what he used when working/traveling in Central/South America.

Anonymous said...

"if you can't deploy your weapon from the holster and get an aimed round off in at most a substantial fraction of a second"

What ever your day job, quit. If you can do that on a shot timer, you should be able to simply kick Todd Jarrett, Rob Leatham and the rest of the posers right to the curb. Somehow I don't think you could do that on demand on a shot timer..........

Al T.

Kristopher said...

Dumbasses.

Best way to quickdraw is to have it in you hand already.

And if you have time to get it in your hand already, I'll bet you have time to GTFO before said gunfight happens.

Awareness and a solid safe carry > tactical speed crap.

Will Brown said...

@ Al T (Anon 5:34):

You make my point for me; all those guys you mention are shooting from an OC position (not the concealed carry I stipulated and this thread addresses) and do in fact routinely achieve sub-second first shot delivery. I sincerely doubt that any of them could do the same from any system of concealed carry though. RevolverRob's comment at 1:00pm strikes me as an example of about as "quick" a draw from a concealed position as I think to be commonly likely to be achieved (and indicates he spends time practicing it on a regular basis too). Kristopher's comment at 5:46 pm is on point and deserving of far more routine emphasis in my opinion. Do we carry a gun to get into a gunfight or get out of one instead?

And it was such a telling put down too; hey, unintended consequences and all that.

Atom Smasher said...

I presume that, should a one-in-a-million event happen and I actually have to shoot somebody
a) my gun will be clicking empty before I think I'm done with it
b) my pants may acquire some extra humidity
c) the last thing I will be thinking about is holstering my weapon, let alone doing it "right".

Anonymous said...

"You make my point for me:" Why yes I did and I apologize for not taking time to fully understand your point. We agree - fastest draw is having the gun in your hand.

Cheers!

Al T.

wv - no kidding, peaches...

s0nspark said...

I fail to see how your carry method relates to the rule about what your cover with the gun in your hand... That rule was meant to promote safety among groups, especially in close quarters.

AIWB carry works best for some due to body type and other issues but, like anything, is not for everyone.

Besides, carrying at the traditional behind the hip position has the distinct disadvantage of allowing someone easier access to your weapon in a crowded situation.

Just my opinions...

ToddG said...

Having the gun in your hand before you need it all well and good, but most of us live in places where it's illegal to walk around with a gun in our hands.

Folks who think their spidey-sense will warn them in advance of violent danger have probably failed to examine how violent encounters occur. The most common thing you'll hear from victims is that the attack happened "suddenly" and "without warning." You might as well tell folks they should drive with their foot on the brake all the time.

Lame-R said...

Kristopher and Todd are both right, and what it boils down to is there are really only 2 situations you will likely ever find yourself in: having time and distance on your side, or not having either time or distance. For the former, drawing fast is not a requirement. Moving to safety or advantageous cover is. And any 'ol super-duper McCool weapon will do.

For the latter situations, when time and distance are not on your side, drawing fast is an absolute requirement--but also likely impossible. Getting body-slammed by a parolee is gonna render worthless all your speed draw practice sessions. Hopefully you've practiced reclaiming some of your personal space, and odds are you're gonna be wishing you had a low-glamour belly gun such as a .38 snubby and not some race gun with rounded edges masquerading as a concealed carry weapon.

Notwithstanding that speed holstering is not a worthwhile skill, there is significant merit to practicing all facets of safe gun-handling. In anger I once attempted to re-holster my weapon but managed to mostly miss the receptacle on my hip and sent my pistol straight into the dirt. Thank goodness for external safeties, but a couple hours cleaning dust out of all the nooks and crannies made me realize I could use some practice in that area.

Will said...

One factor that most people don't think about, when re-holstering an auto, is that the opening of their holster is usually not much larger than the muzzle. However, from years of watching Westerns, we tend to have the idea that it can be done just like actors do it. The opening of a cowboy revolver holster is huge compared to that skinny barrel. Sure, you will stuff it in as often as you draw, but the skillset needed is not comparable. You will always be better at the draw, no matter how you work at it. But, as long as you don't drop or fire it, you're doing ok.

Matt G said...

Todd G says: "It’s not a sin to look at what you’re doing as you try to holster your gun."

As one guy mentioned over there, there certainly IS a good reason to be able to reholster very quickly, if you're in the business of dealing with people with the least necessary force. I've long said that any gun-holster combo that you can't reholster quickly and one-handed without looking is not streetworthy.

ToddG is capable of things that the rest of us only dream of doing. We all can learn from him how to shoot. But in reality, he's a laboratory technician. He can do some things in the refined environment of his lab that we shouldn't do on the street. AIWB fast-draw is a niche technique that is admittedly fast, but is of questionable value.

I stand closer to Shootin' Buddy on this one.

ToddG said...

Matt - Respectfully, no. In fact, the folks who got me interested in AIWB are all .mil or LE folks. The original Summer Special was designed for AIWB. You might want to look into its history before casting judgment about what is "street" and what isn't.

It's no easier to AD with AIWB than a hip holster. So what you're saying is that shooting yourself in the thigh or butt during a violent encounter is ok, but shooting yourself in the testicles is bad? Does not compute.

Most of the benefits of AIWB are specifically related to in-fight access and weapons retention. Again, these are "street" issues, not some kind of range fun.

Matt G said...

" So what you're saying is that shooting yourself in the thigh or butt during a violent encounter is ok, but shooting yourself in the testicles is bad? Does not compute.
My femoral arteries are not on my arse.

You're the one proclaiming that it's fine to look while reholstering. I'm the one saying, "No, that's not applicable to street use. You need to be able to do it one-handed, without looking."

I'll say it again: you need to be able to reholster without looking, and do so without covering yourself.

Wait: let me rephrase that: YOU do not. My students do. If they want to qualify for the street on my range, they must do so.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"As one guy mentioned over there, there certainly IS a good reason to be able to reholster very quickly, if you're in the business of dealing with people with the least necessary force."

If you're in the business of dealing with people with the least necessary force (i.e., law enforcement), then yes.

For the majority of us, however, there is no reason to reholster quickly. If the threat has been stopped, there's time to stop and look. If there's enough of a threat left that we need to reholster quickly and without looking, then we probably shouldn't be reholstering at all.

ToddG said...

Matt G: "My femoral arteries are not on my arse. "

You're missing the point. Your argument is based on the supposed need to holster quickly under stress. Since you're no more LIKELY to have an AD going to an AIWB holster than another holster, the only difference is the severity of the injury, right?

So you're saying it's ok to risk shooting yourself in the arse to get your gun back in the holster quickly, without looking, under stress. Because if that's NOT acceptable, it's no different than AIWB... where our goal is obviously to get the gun back in the holster safely.

Matt G: "I'll say it again: you need to be able to reholster without looking, and do so without covering yourself. "

Can you provide an example of when this skill would be necessary?

Very specifically, an example in which (a) the gun is already in the shooter's hand, (b) something happens that requires him to put the gun away, (c) the difference between holstering in 1 second versus 2 seconds is unacceptable, (d) looking at his holster for the half second it will take to guide it could spell disaster, and most importantly (e) he'll otherwise be able to perform the speed-reholster safely and reliably under stress without looking?

Tam said...

For Matt?

Cuffing a suspect.

Something I don't worry about.

ToddG said...

Tam - I don't know of any agencies that teach people to transition from the gun to handcuffs as fast at they possibly can. Most agencies want at least two officers, one providing armed cover if necessary, for cuffing. While that may not always be practical for officers who operate far from backup, if someone is subdued enough that you can solo him with handcuffs, you have plenty of time to put your pistol away reluctantly.

Matt G said...

Todd, I don't know you're experience. But I know mine. For the last 10 years, I've been a rural cop. How many of us are there? Well, nationwide, 1/2 of all cops belong to agencies of less than 10 officers. That means, typically, that a good portions of the agencies out there are operating single-man shifts. In counties and rural towns in Texas, it's not uncommon to be 20 minutes away from backup running code, and not unheard of to be an hour away from backup. Cover units are nice, but sometimes they're just not practicable, more less practical. Example: the 911 hangup that might be mechanical error, or might be a fight in progress. The burglar alarm that 99 times out of 100 is a false alarm. The suspicious person call that may just be an absentee landowner checking his property, or might be a mobile meth lab or thieves looking for something to hawk. You typically go in alone, and call for help if you need it, and if they can make it in time to help. Often their help is just to help transport and take statements, after the action.

Or how about the times when I've stopped a suspect wanted from another agency, who has warrants, or has just fled a scene? I've many times had to order a guy out of a car at gunpoint, made a brief check that he didn't have weapons immediately accessable, then cuffed him preventively. Getting him in cuffs diffuses the situation, fast.

I've had many times where the very fact that I speedcuffed a guy kept me from having to fight him, or chase him, or both. More than once, as that second cuff locked, I've had them try to yank their hands apart.

Need examples? Recently, I had a call where a suicidal subject with a gun was telling folks he was going to kill himself. I found him, got him out, and transition form weapon to less lethal. What's the point in continuing to point a gun at a suicidal subject? That's a recipe for fail.

I caught a guy on a motorcycle who was running from another unit. The other unit stopped with the other guy that my subject had been racing. I stopped him at gunpoint, and immediately put handcuffs on him. Why wait for a known runner to make up his mind to run.

I chased down a robber that had thrown some large glass bottles at the clerk when he got caught shoplifting at a convenience store. It was a 5 mile footchase through the backcountry. (I'm not kidding. I wish that I were.) When I got him, finally, I felony cuffed him.

I arrested a car thief that had run from me, then ditched the car and gone to ground. When a farmer turned him in, I walked him backwards out of the farmhouse with his hands behind him at gunpoint, and speedcuffed him. (Another runner in the backcountry.)

I responded to a man who had tried to kill his wife with a M94-22 that had jamed due to a broken extractor failing to remove the last round. I arrived first, saw him apparently unarmed, had him back toward me with his hands visible, and speedcuffed him. He was high on meth, and I NEVER could have caught him if he ran.
_______________
99% of the time, if they run, I can't shoot them without being in deep doodoo for a 1983 lawsuit.

There's a big gulf, between "I'm not going to shoot you," and "I have no further business with you."

ToddG said...

Matt G: As I said, I know there are situations in which officers have no choice but to operate solo. If the ability to speed-reholster without looking gives you more confidence in that environment, so be it.

Turning this back on-topic, however: what does it have to do with AIWB? Because, and this is the third or fourth time I've said this in this discussion, if you can holster without an AD, you can holster AIWB without an AD. Same same.

Matt G said...

"Can you provide an example of when this skill would be necessary?

Very specifically, an example in which (a) the gun is already in the shooter's hand, (b) something happens that requires him to put the gun away, (c) the difference between holstering in 1 second versus 2 seconds is unacceptable, (d) looking at his holster for the half second it will take to guide it could spell disaster, and most importantly (e) he'll otherwise be able to perform the speed-reholster safely and reliably under stress without looking?"


Provided.

"I don't know of any agencies that teach people to transition from the gun to handcuffs as fast at they possibly can. Most agencies want at least two officers, one providing armed cover if necessary, for cuffing. While that may not always be practical for officers who operate far from backup, if someone is subdued enough that you can solo him with handcuffs, you have plenty of time to put your pistol away reluctantly."

I would submit that your basis of knowledge in this area is not based upon practical application.

"In fact, the folks who got me interested in AIWB are all .mil or LE folks. The original Summer Special was designed for AIWB. You might want to look into its history before casting judgment about what is "street" and what isn't."

Funny. I carry in a Summer Special regularly. At 4:30. My holster sensei has been quite adept at imparting history to me. But I shall search for more enlightenment.

For what it's worth, I've carried AIWB, when deep concealment was an issue, and I was not on duty. It's a pretty fast draw. I know some who carry for pure defense who must (MUST!) carry completely on the DL, who carry appendix carry.

My objection is to something you said in your post.

I'm concerned that a [fellow] trainer has not looked at all of the practical considerations.