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Old October 10, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1
Firefighter88
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Weapon retention

My home State is going to be 'Open Carry' starting November 1st of this year.(Oklahoma). I was wondering what BASIC techniques work best for gun retention. I will most likely conceal, but carry open to and from hunting and fishing trips. I have a Ruger LCP, and a Taurus PT1911AL. I would prefer to carry my .45 sort of concealed on hip, but since open carry will be legal, accidental flash isn't an issue. What techniques work best to keep someone from surprising me and taking my gun from my hip. I have googled a few tips and watched a few videos, just wanted opinions on which techniques worked best.
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Old October 10, 2012, 01:39 PM   #2
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My way was to practice with a friend.

Using an unloaded gun (obviously) holstered in its usual location, have a friend try to take it away from you or snag it out of your holster, etc.

Worked well enough for me to get the hang of guarding my gun
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Old October 10, 2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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A few comments/suggestions in no particular order:
  • Training classes are a very good idea for anyone decding to carry a handgun.
  • INSIDE the waistband holsters are much more concealed, and generally provide for better retention.
  • I'm not a fan of active retention mechanisms on concealed-carry guns.
  • Any retention technique should also involve striking/beating your opponent with your available hand ... preferably with something like a coffee mug, flashlight, knife, etc.
  • A good grip on the gun is probably the best overall retention technique.
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Old October 10, 2012, 02:07 PM   #4
taz1
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sherpa holster for the 1911. The gun locks into it, you have to depress a finger tab while drawling to reilece it. Would make it difficult for someone to just grab it.
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Old October 10, 2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy teaches to clamp down on the persons hand using your strong or gun hand on the gun. With this grip, push the gun into your holster to avoid it being drawn and with your weak hand, start to rake the eyes and attack the face. This is how I was taught about 2 years ago, it may have changed. It seems like a B*tch move, but according to the defensive tactics instructors, it is what works. That is my plan if anyone ever trys to disarm me. There may be more affective ways, but this is how I have trained.
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Old October 10, 2012, 02:14 PM   #6
Glenn E. Meyer
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It's Serpa, Sherpas climb mountains.

Anyway - please be aware that a Serpa for a new shooter can be a dangerous choice. You must train with it extensively to avoid NDs.
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Old October 10, 2012, 02:22 PM   #7
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sherpa holster for the 1911. The gun locks into it, you have to depress a finger tab while drawling to reilece it. Would make it difficult for someone to just grab it.
I own a serpa. While I trust its retention for hiking about the desert, I would not rely on it to keep my pistol away from someone trying to remove it from me for few reasons. The button could easily be depressed accidentally during an attempted grab, the nub that retains the pistol is pretty small and could fail, the connection between the holster portion and the belt attachment/paddle is another possible point of failure.
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Old October 10, 2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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Just an FYI at least here you either conceal or you open carry. you cannot be in the middle. If your gun is concealed it must remain concealed and 'accidental flash' isn't good, it can be considered 'brandishing a concealed weapon'

Im sure your concealed carry class will clear stuff up.

Lastly. after a while of lugging a 1911 around im sure you'll find something a bit lighter and smaller.
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Old October 10, 2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Except for hunting and uniformed LE/Security open carry is foolish. If you feel you must, in order to make your political statement, please use a secure holster. You need to acquire quality instruction on weapon retention, practicing in your garage with your untrained buddy is likely very unproductive.
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Old October 10, 2012, 03:44 PM   #10
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Except for hunting and uniformed LE/Security open carry is foolish. If you feel you must, in order to make your political statement, please use a secure holster.
That's an overly broad statement of opinion and makes an assumption about why someone might OC.
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Old October 10, 2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
You need to acquire quality instruction on weapon retention, practicing in your garage with your untrained buddy is likely very unproductive.
Would you happen to have a couple hundred $ I could borrow for some quality training?

I make do with what I have. The key words being
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And it was my living room
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Old October 10, 2012, 05:01 PM   #12
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I'd start with a decent holster like a Safariland 6378. Then, I would try to keep it concealed as best as I could.
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Old October 10, 2012, 05:03 PM   #13
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Old October 10, 2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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If you're really worried about weapon's retention look into a Level II or Level III retention holster. Most departments today require duty holsters to be at least Level II retention, with many requiring Level III. Most people don't know how to get the gun out of them. They will require a dedicated practice regime to be proficient at drawing the weapon.

Quote:
Levels of retention

The retention level of the holster refers to the number of retention devices you have to release or move the gun past in order to draw the pistol from the holster:


An example of a level l holster would be a simple thumb-break device that must be unclipped in order to draw the weapon.

A Level ll holster example is one where a thumb-break is released then the pistol must be moved (rocked forward or rearwards) in the holster to clear some form of internal locking device before it can be drawn.

A Level lll holster is one where three separate retaining devices, both internal and external must be undone or bypassed.
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:16 PM   #15
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It's called awareness. If you insist on open carry you have to pay extra attention to those around you...ALL THE TIME...and use a holster with some form of retention device. Even those who carry concealed should exercise above average awareness.

I disagree about potential bad guys not knowing how to operate a Level II or Level III holster. Criminals practice this stuff...and probably more than the average permit holder practices! The retention features are there to slow the would be gun grabber down long enough for you to react but you must react swiftly and surely or you will likely lose. Anybody attempting to grab your gun probably knows how to do it quickly and violently and you will have to fight like your life depends on it.

Carefully consider the consequences of open carry before you exercise that right. It may have a place but in my own personal opinion that place is very limited and somewhat risky when compared to competent CCW.
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Old October 10, 2012, 08:28 PM   #16
taz1
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The original post asked about BASIC retention thoughts and the serpa holster has worked very well for me. I got it because I carry a lot in the woods hunting and holsters with snap or velcro straps tend to get pulled off and the gun dumped out when strugling through thick brush.

The serpa holster does not require you to put your finger through the triger guard to reliece it so any n/d is the result of failing to keep your finger off the trigger and I feel anyone old enough to buy and own a pistol is inteligent enough to purchase a holster and familurize them self with the proper means of use.

I have caught my gun in brush hard enough to turn me around but the holster has never failed to retain the gun so I believe it is a very viable option for enhanced retention.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; October 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM. Reason: remove snark
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Old October 11, 2012, 03:11 AM   #17
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CAVEAT: I am not your instructor; it would be a very good idea to physically train with an actual instructor.

That said, what I'd advise for basic retention training is this:

1) Do a search for "Blue Gun." Find a blue gun (plastic training weapon) that matches your carry gun, or as close as possible. Ideally, it will fit in your carry holster, so you can practice retaining it in your holster, in its normal position. I do not recommend retention training with real weapons, as people have been known to make very serious (and sometimes fatal) mistakes while attempting same. A blue gun (handgun) will probably cost around $40 online; a blue gun (rifle or shotgun) will probably cost around $160 online. Alternately, your local police supply store may stock or order blue guns.

2) Once you have an appropriate training weapon, and your carry rig, train with a partner. (AGAIN, this would ideally be a trained instructor.)

3) The technique I'd start with, assuming a grab from gun-side rear flank, goes like this:

A) Chop down on the grabber's wrist with the knife edge of your hand; allow your chop to form into a grab or lock as an immediate result of contact. Think of it as forcing your gun into its holster, and your holster into your hip and leg, by applying pressure through the grabber's wrist.

B) As your striking hand locks his into the gun (and most likely your hip), pivot TOWARD the grab. (USE CAUTION, this can really torque the grabber's wrist, as you are using total body mass against his wrist; if we break our partners, we can't continue to practice.) Pivoting could involve rotating on the ball of either foot, though typically the gun-side foot would be the pivot point. The idea is to keep the pivot tight, and make yourself the axis of rotation, while the grabber is forced to the circumference; this may also require you to step or inscribe an arc with a foot as you turn.

C) You still have a free hand, the one that is not locking the grabber's hand. Since you are pivoting toward him, his wrist should be locked, and if you do it right, his elbow will also lock, and his arm will torque his shoulder. This means, if done properly, his body will be forced to rotate away from you, and his other hand will be blocked from striking you by his own body and arm. Since you have a free hand and a free shot at him, punch him in the face, poke him in the eyes, or spear hand him in the throat. (AGAIN, USE CAUTION; if you are not used to controlled sparring, do not come close to eyes or Adam's apples.) Other techniques with the free hand may be more appropriate, depending on how far he has already been off-balanced. We are discussing principles, here, more than specific techniques.

D) While he is trying to not get his wrist snapped, and is being pushed around by his locked-out elbow and arm, and is flinching from your strike to his eyes or throat, use whichever foot is in best position to sweep his foot or collapse his knee. (AGAIN, USE CAUTION; my friends and I train at this stuff, so I know how to collapse a knee from behind, without inflicting injury, but a strike to the side of the knee could do permanent damage.)

E) By this point, if he hasn't released the gun, he probably really wants to. Move away from him quickly, and draw as necessary.

Note that at no point during this drill do I say "Reach behind you and pit your arm strength against his." The whole point is to use mass, movement, the inner radius of a circling move, and basic physiology to give yourself all the mechanical advantage and the grabber none of it. Reaching behind almost always puts you at a disadvantage, and puts your rotator cuff at risk. You have the best, controlled power if you keep your hands in the box formed from your hip points to your armpits, EG like they'd be if you were working on something on your work bench. Turn your body so as to keep your hands and arms in their strong zone.

Your center of mass is a couple fingers breadth below your navel; your legs and butt are your largest muscles. By using your legs and hips to apply torque, you generate maximum power.

You can increase that power by bending your knees as you turn, dropping weight into the equation, along with torque and inertia.

Small people, applying those principles, can overwhelm large strong people. Put it this way, a 95lb woman, applying all her weight and leg strength, might apply well over 100lbs of force to a grabber's wrist. How much do you wrist curl?

But, again, I am not your instructor, and you really should find a trained instructor who can teach you how to do this kind of thing with minimal risk to yourself or your training partners.

Edit: I just noticed that zombietactics alluded to control of the gun, and miketodd04 discussed locking the grabbing hand while going for the face with the free hand. They aren't wrong, but the additional factors I discussed really amp up your leverage while taking away the grabber's balance - which makes locking the hand and attacking the face much easier.

2nd Edit: Before I left home for my current trip to the sandbox, I was discussing the possiblity of conducting a class or two on this stuff with a friend, who is the local prison's deputy warden, and an acquaintance, who is a training officer for the local sheriff's department. If we do this when I get home, I'll see if they are cool with recording some of it, and try to post a link.

Last edited by MLeake; October 11, 2012 at 03:47 AM.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:46 AM   #18
Glenn Dee
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Exactly what M.Leake said
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtscmike
I disagree about potential bad guys not knowing how to operate a Level II or Level III holster. Criminals practice this stuff...
You're probably right. I've only been a deputy for 14 years. My limited experience has been that very few criminals out there have even heard of a retention holster, much less practice gun grabs. Every attempted gun grab in my department that I'm aware of (I'd estimate around 2 dozen) has been from a disturbed citizen or a drunk.

You're probably much more aware of holster retention features than any criminal you'll ever meet. At least you've heard of them. On how many different holster brands and models can you recognize and describe the retention features?
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:00 AM   #20
Firefighter88
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Thanks for the info so far, all of it. Definitely some aspects of retention that I overlooked. I need to look into Oklahoma SDA a bit more, I thought even if concealed, the open carry law protected you against accidental flash. I have only had my CCW permit for about a year, so a refresher wouldn't hurt. The crossbreed IWB holsters look uncomfortable, but I've never worn one, so I haven't invested the money for fear of buying a closet decoration. I have heard of SERPA and Crossbreed being great holsters, I just need to research more of what I want and need, then buy one and see for myself if I like them.
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:22 AM   #21
Nanuk
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That's an overly broad statement of opinion and makes an assumption about why someone might OC.
Really? Enlighten me.

Quote:
Would you happen to have a couple hundred $ I could borrow for some quality training?
No, that's not my problem. You want to advertise to the world? Be my guest, I am merely offering an opinion based on experience as an LEO. You gotta take the bad with the good, the Yin/yang, everything you do has repercussions. I am just not sugar coating it so that you feel good. You want that call Dr Phil.
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:33 AM   #22
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This is NOT an open carry debate, gentlemen. Start your own thread if the last 500 discussions on that topic aren't enough for you.
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:43 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taz1
...The serpa holster does not require you to put your finger through the triger guard to reliece it so any n/d is the result of failing to keep your finger off the trigger and I feel anyone old enough to buy and own a pistol is inteligent enough to purchase a holster and familurize them self with the proper means of use....
Nonetheless, the Serpa holster has been associated with unintentional discharges from one's trigger finger slipping prematurely into the trigger guard as the gun is withdrawn from the holster.

This may be characterized as primarily a training and practice issue, but the basic design of the holster does encourage and facilitate this particular user error. So special training and diligent practice is called for to most effectively and safely use the holster at speed under stress.

Note also that a number of instructors will not permit the use of the Serpa holster in their classes.
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:39 AM   #24
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If you want retention, go with the Serpa. I've seen firsthand a Serpa lock up due to a little dirt/sand preventing the pistol from being drawn in a timely manner. While I was on active duty, my unit used to issue Serpas till they started getting dirty and locking up...sometimes having to take both hands or even taking the holster (with gun still intact) off and washing the dirt/sand out. The company I work now for won't allow the Serpa for this reason as well.
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Old October 11, 2012, 12:01 PM   #25
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
What techniques work best to keep someone from surprising me and taking my gun from my hip
The best technique for this also applies when you are carrying concealed; keep your head on a swivel at all times.

The best way to learn weapon retention is to take a formal class on the subject and then continue to practice those techniques.

Last edited by allaroundhunter; October 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM.
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