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Negligence, Comfort and Speed Traps

I would normally schedule a blog post for once a week, or every two weeks depending on the cadence of events happening in the month. But, this is number 3 for me this week and this one is a must post vs want to post.

There's been a string of events of late that honestly has me frustrated as an instructor. And, as of this writing, I'm frustrated and challenged to find a solution. With that, let's get after it - rip the bandaid off, or in this case, lot's of bandaids, gauze, and dressings:

From Facebook today:

The writer, Stacy, recounts the events leading up to what was a negligent discharge of the firearm resulting in a self inflicted gunshot wound. Ultimately, his self evaluation is humble, and from a servants heart to help. Out of respect for his intention, we will also do the same.


  • Comfort and Complacency - the action he took was not unfamiliar, or infrequent. This is often the curse of many who go through the motion without the appropriate cerebral connection. This was likely the case of for the second scenario below as well. Moral of the story - if it can kill you or someone you love - give it the full attention it's due or wait until you can.

  • Gear matters! I make zero (0) dollars from the sale of holsters! But, yet am a huge advocate for getting great holsters and recommend companies I use, have used, and will use again. Why? Before I answer that, let me ask a question and I hope to receive some responses! Many new shooters have an incredibly healthy and appropriate fear and respect for firearms. The understanding and appreciation for what the firearm can do is not lost on most. Why then are so many okay with using "this should be good enough" holsters to control something with so much life changing/taking force? I'm not saying that was Stacy's situation or attitude - but as an instructor and an occasional big box store (with a W) shopper, I've seen the cheap ass contraptions some carry their firearms in and it confounds me.

Another Facebook Post:

One need not be a firearms instructor to see the challenge presented here. To use my the vernacular of my project/product experience, this "Risk" crossed over into the "Issue" category. For those who are unfamiliar with this terminology or use, what this means is this is no longer a "It could happen" scenario - it became a "It happened" reality.

By looking at this holster and the markings, it wasn't an inexpensive, cheap holster. To the contrary, it's a well constructed leather holster that was well used and likely amazingly comfortable and like a good pair of boots - fit like a glove.

Clint from Thunder Ranch expresses it well - carrying a gun isn't about comfort. It's a big friggin' heavy piece of steel. That's was my G rated version of what he said - see the full-version (graphic language warning) here. Comfort is great, but; but if it wears to the point where comfort crosses into the danger zone - "trigger guard" - you may well trade your life for comfort. Here's the aftermath of this re-holster:

There were a couple of contributing factors that led to this negligent discharge:

  1. 1. A well worn holster that did not maintain its form and created an inclusion into the trigger guard as seen above

  2. 2. Based on the trajectory damage, the owner was likely right handed and attempting to holster the firearm without a clear line of sight of the holster and potential risks (garments/accessories).

Similar to the first example where a strap was tangle in the trigger guard, it can't be said enough - if the holster doesn't fully protect the trigger and prevent and inclusion like these, it's not worth having. There are far too man high quality holster to choose from. I run Bravo Concealment, TXC, Gerber Holsters, and a local favorite Hoftac in Meridian Idaho. Depending on the firearm and application - I may use a different rig. Yes, loyalty is important and each of the companies listed make great gear. The point is it's not a one size fits all for even one person. This is an investment that is worth far more than the cost of the holster. Think about it!

YouTube - This one has been around for a while - but still worth watching for instruction value

Judge the content and not the presentation from the person. He's doing what he can to help others learn from his failure. I applaud his humility and willingness to own the failure. Ultimately, this video demonstrates a couple of key factors that every shooter should keep in mind:

  • Only go as fast as you can safely - Maybe it was the video he was trying to create that took him into the red zone and moving faster than he normally would. This is true for coming out of the holster, presenting to the threat, and shooting. Speed is important, but; cannot be sacrificed for safety.

  • Make sure the gear you select is adequate for your level of training - The Blackhawk Serpa holster has been sold for years. And, for new shooters, in my opinion is not the first/best choice. Reason: They haven't mastered the discipline of finger placement high on the frame and away from the trigger guard. The functional lock must be disengaged with the trigger finger and typically runs parallel with the trigger and poor trigger finger discipline is a recipe for an ND.

My take aways for you:

1 - Comfort and Complacency is dangerous and deadly with firearms. You must be switched on and fully engaged mentally before you engage physically - No excuses!

2. Gear Matters - Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Foolish in these examples could have been deadly

3. Speed is amazing as long as you can move quickly safely. Most confuse speed with pushing harder and being more aggressive. The inverse is true, smooth out the bumps with control will have greater reductions of time to first shot that muscling it and forcing a failure.

4. Having the most expensive dream gun (for me it's the Wilson EDC X9), and the most expensive high quality gear is worthless if you don't train and train often. It's not just about having the right gear, it's having the right mindset and discipline to train with the gear to master it and the gun.

I'd love to hear your comments, feedback or questions. If we can help - reach out! Until then, train safe and train often!

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