The two key elements of concealed carry are, of course, “concealed” and “carry”. To effectively carry you need a holster. To effectively conceal you need cover garment. When those two get tangled up you can get holes in your body where holes should not be. Nobody wants that. Here is an abridged version of a report sent out to alert Law Enforcement Officers of a potential for disaster posed by the most innocuous of items… the draw cord on your pull-over cover garment. I am taking pains to insure all references to where and to whom this happened are removed.
In June 2012, a group of LEOs was participating in firearms training at the range with the department’s issued pistol and ammunition. The officer was using a .40 S&W caliber SIG P229 DAK. The ammunition was department-issued Federal Premium 180-grain HST. The holster utilized was a right-handed Blackhawk Serpa CQC concealment paddle-style. The officer was wearing a light-weight wet weather jacket due to rainy conditions on that day.
After having fired several rounds during the course of fire, the officer was in the process of holstering when the pistol discharged through the open portion of the bottom of the holster. The round entered the outside of the right upper calf and exited the outside of the lower calf and was stopped by the ground (grass/dirt surface). The round did not strike any bone or the ankle or foot. There was not excessive bleeding and it was later found that there was no serious nerve damage. The officer is expected to make a full recovery.
Once first aid was rendered and EMT’s had arrived at the scene, an examination of the pistol in the holster revealed that the trigger was depressed to the rear of the trigger guard (see photograph). A plastic cylinder-shaped draw cord adjuster attached to the wet weather jacket the officer was wearing was lodged against the front of the trigger. The plastic draw cord adjuster had become caught inside of the trigger guard during the holstering of the pistol.
It should be noted that this type of draw cord adjuster is the type commonly found on many jackets. The one that became lodged was for the side/waist adjustment cord.
Just a reminder to trainers and shooters. We train to keep our eyes up on threat when holstering. When holstering with this type of clothing and using the support hand to clear the holster, ensure that the support hand doesn’t get covered by the muzzle. Keep the support hand and clothing well above the top of the holster and bring the pistol in below them.
This situation could have ended much worse. I was at a range where a shooter did much the same thing while trying to holster his Glock with his finger inside the trigger guard. Massad Ayoob tells a story of shooter getting off two rounds in such fashion because he didn’t realize the “cause and effect” and once the first round went off he really wanted to get that pistol safely into the holster, so he pushed down again!
This is no laughing matter. Learn to holster carefully. As cops, we holster with our eyes on the threat in order to transition to
handcuffing or some other activity. You civilian CCW holders should not holster until you are certain the scene is safe. That usually means when police arrive. At that point you may be directed (loudly) to place your gun on the ground while police sort out the situation. Do so without hesitation because responding officers don’t know who is the bad guy when they arrive at a “shots fired” call.
So, when you are buying a holster and a cover garment look for the little things that can hang up and possibly cause an unsafe situation. You will be glad you did.
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About the Author: Kevin Michalowski is the former Senior Editor of Gun Digest the Magazine and Tactical Gear Magazine.
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