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Old December 17, 2009, 01:50 PM   #1
pax
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Dangerous Holsters and Carry Methods

What makes a safe holster, safe?

What makes a dangerous holster, dangerous?

What's the difference between a "good" holster and a "bad" one?

Discuss...

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Old December 17, 2009, 02:18 PM   #2
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I'll be interested in others' responses, but I'll start. I'll assume the holster is for concealed carry, and not duty:

What makes a safe holster, safe?
- fits the gun it is made for
- holds the gun securely, with or without a thumb break, yet permits easy draw
- holds position on your belt so the gun/holster doesn't move around, so you grip the gun the same way, every time
- completely covers the trigger guard
- has a sight channel to prevent sights from snagging and slowing draw/presentation

What makes a dangerous holster, dangerous? Inverse of the above ...
- doesn't fit the gun
- gun is insecure and flops around or (worse) falls out, or is too tight (maybe thumb break is too tight), making it difficult to draw easily
- moves around on your belt so the grip changes position
- doesn't cover the trigger, creating possibilities of ND--or someone else firing the gun--while in the holster, or introduction of foreign objects that snag the gun
- sights snag on holster preventing a smooth draw/presentation

In addition to the above, a "good" holster is made from quality materials, holds it shape, is comfortable to wear, has a stiff mouth so that your gun can be reholstered with one hand.

... for starters.
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Old December 17, 2009, 02:23 PM   #3
patriotthad
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Safe VS. Unsafe

For a holster to be safe it must:

#1 Securely hold the weapon from loss in the case of the wearer falling etc.
I personally use holsters (open top) that when held completely up-side down will not allow the weapon to fall. A proper fit will ensure this and yet retain a fast and smooth draw.

#2 Allow all controls ( safety, trigger, mag release etc) to always be in the proper (uncompromised) position.

#3 Hold the holster (itself) to the belt etc. under ALL circumstances

#4 The holster must NEVER be in a position that when the weapon is holstered the muzzle is pointed in an unsafe direction I.E. Horizontal shoulder hoster

#5 In ALL cases regardless of double action or single action, revolver or auto, the trigger guard must be covered
To accomplish these points the holster must:

#1 Be made for THAT SPECIFIC FIREARM. No "One size fits all" holsters.

#2 Have a secure method of attachment to the belt. No "flop or sway" as in the case of a holster made for a 2" belt mounted on a 1 1/4 belt
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Old December 17, 2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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Patriot said:
Quote:
#4 The holster must NEVER be in a position that when the weapon is holstered the muzzle is pointed in an unsafe direction I.E. Horizontal shoulder hoster
This effectively disqualifies all holsters (and hard cases, soft cases, fanny packs, backpacks or any mode of carrying a firearm).

With any belt holster (IWB or OWB or Duty), using your criteria, you would be covering beople behind you on the escalator/stairs.

While carrying your gun in your car, using your criteria, you would be covering the drivers behind you or next to you at some point.

Point is, it is well accepted that a holstered/cased weapon is a safe weapon (provided all of your other criteria are met).
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Old December 17, 2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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a good holster can be a dangerous one if the user is unfamiliar/doesn't practice with it. The user makes the holster what it is, I think.
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Old December 17, 2009, 03:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
The holster must NEVER be in a position that when the weapon is holstered the muzzle is pointed in an unsafe direction I.E. Horizontal shoulder hoster
That's an interesting one. I never considered a holstered weapon to be "dangerous". So long as the other factors that make for a safe holster are met the direction that the gun is pointing when holstered is not really relevant. Now, if you have to sweep yourself or another "innocent" on the draw that's different but when the gun is holstered, who cares?
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Old December 17, 2009, 03:49 PM   #7
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Under the original specifications here, many of the holsters commonly used in the past and fairly popular are unsafe (Unsafe at any speed?). Some of these are even still being manufactured, referring here to the Hunter brand holsters. Some of them border on the generic.

Some police holsters in the past were produced more with economy in mind than anything else and some writers often remarked on that fact, especially if they happened to make holsters themselves. But on the whole, I also think that the average policeman as well as a typical gun owning citizen had a much more basic and plainer handgun than seems to be the case today, not to mention everything else about people.
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Old December 17, 2009, 03:53 PM   #8
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I have two holster cases to speak of.

1. A leather holster being used by an on duty patrol officer "supposedly" had retention. As he was at a counter in a convenience store getting coffee, a man was able to come up behind him and pull his weapon from the holster. The man then shot the officer five times with the .357 that the officer carried. The officer survived and the man waited to be arrested outside the store. However the officer was never able to return to work in law enforcement and got a medical retirement. The holster maker was sued and the officer was awarded about $100,000. I showed the flaw in the holster and how a proper holster had a retention feature that required the gun be pushed down, then forward before the gun would leave the holster.

1. A man with CCW was carrying a right hand draw on the left side. This caused the man to have to make a cross draw to retrieve his gun. A man approached the CCW holder and bumped into him. This placed the man to having his right hand in perfect position to grab the gun from the holster. Needless to say, a scuffle ensued with the gun owner trying to retain his sidearm. The owner was shot twice in the chest. The perp got away but was later identified and arrested. Sometimes a safe holster can be worn wrong and create an unsafe condition for the wearer.
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Old December 17, 2009, 04:02 PM   #9
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What makes a holster good and safe:

Fits and rides well the way you carry it, doesn't move around too much, come loose etc. If you're wearing sweatpants and a string as a belt no holster is going to stay secure.

Is molded/formed well for the gun and covers the trigger guard relatively well.

Has enough tensions if you lean forward the gun doesn't come flying out. My safariland IWB holster does fine with this, open top but the force of leather onto the frame keeps the tension good.
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Old December 17, 2009, 04:22 PM   #10
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A good holster will...

-- Adequately retain the firearm in the holster
-- Not allow modification of the firearm's controls
-- Adequately maintain the position of the firearm in the holster
-- Adequately maintain the position of the holster on the wearer
-- Allow the wearer adequate ability to draw the firearm
-- Allow for the intended level of concealment
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Old December 17, 2009, 04:41 PM   #11
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Using the definition of the word, one might argue that there's no such thing as a useable "safe" holster. It's all in the degree of risk you're willing to accept. But I assume that's not the point here. In no particular order...

The holster should retain the weapon during all typical and some atypical activities for the wearer. For me, that's the usual walking, driving, bending/reaching/stretching stuff plus falling down, running, and jumping. And by "retain" I mean that none of the controls can be acutated.

It should provide an adequate level of concealment while maintaining accessibility. For me, that means it's invisible to the general public and someone with some knowledge/training might think they saw something during a fleeting moment. And I can be ready to fire in less than 2 seconds.

It should be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Discomfort encourages the wear to fiddle with it and that doesn't go well sometimes, just ask Plaxico Burris.

It should be positioned such that the weapon is very, very rarely (never is a big word) pointed at anything important during the draw stroke. Technique is paramount here, of course. It should also be positioned such that falling on it won't put me in the hospital.

Last edited by peejman; December 17, 2009 at 04:44 PM. Reason: added detail
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Old December 17, 2009, 05:18 PM   #12
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To me a dangerous holster is one that (A) the trigger guard is not covered, where any foreign object can enter the trigger guard causing a ND,or the weareer can draw with thier finger in the trigger guard(I have transported 3 people that shot themselves in the foot, or anke this way when I was a medic) (B) or one that the safty can be disengaged without the wearer doing so willingly. i.e. a cocked and locked SA semiauto with an ambisafty that the safty becomes disengaged by movement, catching on the cover garment, or brushing against an object. If both are present in the same holster it is a tradgedy waiting to happen.
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Old December 17, 2009, 05:25 PM   #13
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Safe is the holster my cousin uses (Ret. LEO) it "locks" the weapon in so a person that is not him may not pull it and shoot him with it. A dangerous one is a holster that allows another to pull the weapon and shoot you with it.
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Old December 17, 2009, 06:33 PM   #14
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A safe holster is one that the user practices his/her draw from to the point that it becomes second nature to draw from. No hesitation, no second thought, just pure confidence.
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Old December 17, 2009, 08:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
it "locks" the weapon in so a person that is not him may not pull it and shoot him with it.
So it has some sort of computer lock or fingerprint recognition?
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Old December 18, 2009, 12:04 AM   #16
Jim March
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Folks. The holster has to be matched to the gun's features.

A single action revolver doesn't need a covered triggerguard. A double action revolver (or anything else!) damned well does. A 1911 holster ought to have a small barrier sewn in to block the safety from coming off-safe.

In my personal opinion, cross-snap straps can be a bad idea on some guns because it can get inside the triggerguard and crank a round off on re-holstering. This is especially true of DA wheelguns or any DAO auto with no manual safety, like a Glock.

If it's an open-carry holster or outside-belt at all ("police style" or otherwise), it should be at such an angle as you can rest your forearm on it and lock it down into the holster if you're moving through a people-dense area or have somebody you don't completely trust nearby. Done right it shouldn't look "threatening" to anybody, gun-knowledgeable or not. That and situational awareness are more important than "safety retention" holsters the police are migrating to as an alternative to proper training and awareness.
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Old December 18, 2009, 09:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
The holster has to be matched to the gun's features.
Agreed. And your examples are good. The holster for my 1911 has a thumb break, the strap of which can only be closed if the gun is carried "cocked and locked." Only way I'd carry a 1911. Form fits function, as it were. Good addition/clarification.
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Old December 18, 2009, 09:29 AM   #18
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Since I have a little home/house business of making custom CCW leather holsters, . . . I have a different perspective of the holster/gun/human trilogy.

I don't think that there is really a "dangerous" holster, . . . I mean, . . . when did you see the headlines "Couple mugged outside Walmart by dangerous holsters, one a kydex and the other a custom leather job."

I also don't think there are any "safe" holsters.

The whole thing comes down to one defining factor, . . . the guy/gal carrying the holster and gun.

Some guys put a gun in a pocket holster and from the angle it sets, . . . hopes he never has to father a child again.

Some women keep their guns in their purses, . . . thereby arming the local purse snatcher with a really nice piece.

The question of Safe/Dangerous is simply a responsibility tacked onto the wearer in my opinion.

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Old December 18, 2009, 09:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
The question of Safe/Dangerous is simply a responsibility tacked onto the wearer in my opinion.
Dwight, I'll agree that individual responsibility is part of the equation, but you're not arguing that that's all there is to it, are you? Your own example of the pocket holster suggests that you recognize that there are good and bad designs for pocket holsters, and that one is "better" or "safer" than another. I'll not argue the point that a numbnut can be unsafe even with a "good" holster, but as a holster maker yourself, you must consider design features that contribute to safety rather than the opposite; right?
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Old December 18, 2009, 10:20 AM   #20
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What does everyone think of the Blackhawk SERPA holsters and others with the release button over the trigger? Some people claim they are not safe because the finger could get onto the trigger and possibly fire when drawn at high speed.
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Old December 18, 2009, 10:44 AM   #21
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Suarez International doesn't allow Serpa's in class. I've read Tactical Response and Paul Gomez doesn't either.
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Old December 18, 2009, 04:46 PM   #22
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Quote:
So it has some sort of computer lock or fingerprint recognition?
No, it has to be drawn in a certain way hard to explain. He showed me that I couldnt draw it facing him or reaching around him it just wouldnt clear the hard plastic holster. Check around and see for yourself what is out there in this type of holster.
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Old December 18, 2009, 04:46 PM   #23
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A few other considerations:

A holster should be chosen based on what it's task will be. These determine whether the rig is useful to the wearer or not. Safety is a useful feature that varies on the task. A good rig for IPSC competition will likely not be useful for toting a sidearm while hunting and vice versa.

Because the needs of the military, law enforcement, civilian concealed carry, various competitive shooting and sport shooting rigs, handgun carry while hunting, hiking, camping etc. are all different, what is a good/bad rig varies. To some extant what is dangerous in a rig varies some as well.

So fitting the rig to it's task is a key component of what makes a holster or mode of carry dangerous or not.

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Old December 18, 2009, 06:14 PM   #24
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"- completely covers the trigger guard"

Nonsense! There are many excellent widely used holsters which do not
completely covers the trigger guard
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Old December 18, 2009, 06:57 PM   #25
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Quote:
A 1911 holster ought to have a small barrier sewn in to block the safety from coming off-safe.
Is there something matching this description on the market? I've found my 1911 safety off safe twice in ~25 years of cc.

I have a friction fit open top 1911 crossdraw holster also and I think it's as safe as can be even though I can imagine how dangerous it looks at the range.
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