Friday, December 09, 2016

"Get Training"

The Shooting Wire today included an excellent commentary on the problems of training would-be gun handlers (AKS: "New Shooters") in the safe gunhandling practices, which include drawing from the holster.

"Get Training" | Shooting Wire:
(Rich Grassi: December 09, 2016)

We continue to face a huge number of new gun owners and new shooters – something that had its beginning in 1986 with the advent of 'shall-issue' concealed carry permits, continued through the years of the Clinton gun ban from 1994 until its sunset, and really ramped up in the age of internet forums, internet video and the Global War on Terror. Something that continued the drive to more private gun ownership was self-identification of the Democrat Party as the "Party of Infringement" (h/t, Stephen Wenger) and a federal government that continued to be threatening as certain individual states rushed to get state-level infringements of their own passed.  

Still, to the new gun owners and new shooters, we've all been saying "Get Training!"

Grassi points out that there are so many new shooters, there are not enough experienced/qualified instructors to provide the training which they need.   And again, even people who have some experience shooting pistols are usually not experienced in drawing from the holster.

Which is a special skill ... and that is not intuitively obvious!


Earlier today, I replied in a comment to an article describing how someone shot himself in the leg "..... when the trigger got caught in a buckle on his holster..."    That description of the event was according to news reports, by reporters who almost certainly don't know what they're talking about.
< My SWAG analysis was that the shooter was probably using a holster with a retention strap, and during holstering the strap might have been tangled up in the trigger guard and triggered the round when the shooter shoved his pistil into the holster.

I've was certified a USPSA Chief Range Officer in 1998, and in the 30+ years I've been competing and officiating, I've watched literally thousands of competitive shooters try to holster their pistols or revolvers.   The only ones who had any problems with this simple act were those whose holsters featured a retention strap.

NOTE: According to USPSA rules: Unless specified in the written stage briefing, or unless required by a Range Officer, the position of holsters and allied equipment on the belt must not be moved or changed by a competitor during a match. If a retaining strap is attached to a holster or magazine pouch, it must be  applied or closed prior to issuance of the “Standby” command.
[emphasis added]

Usually, they experience this confusion after the drill is done, and their pistol is unloaded.
But sometimes, the anticipation before they shoot a drill is sufficient that they try to holster before moving that pesky strap out of the way.

Their confusion is evident when they realize that something is preventing them from holstering,

That's the moment when they either they look down, see the strap is between the pistol and the holster, and then correctly move the strap out of the way .... or they try to force the pistol into the holster.

And that choice is the difference between simply learning the easy way, or the hard way.

The easy way is to establish the habit of deferring the The Way Of The Strap.
The hard way is to force the pistol against The Strap, and suffer the consequences of a Negligent Discharge.

Patient people learn; impatient people pay the price of a Negligent Discharge.

 When new shooters learn that they must use the retention strap (if it is a feature of the holster they have chosen) in USPSA competition, they have the choice of either slowing down their draw time by the necessity of dealing with the strap, or removing the strap.

If the strap is 'removable', they can merely unsnap the mooring end of the strap and not use it.  If not 'removable', they can cut it off.  Many shooters declare that they want to keep the retention strap, and are loath to cut it off.

That's their choice, but as a Range Officer I pay very close attention to these competitors.  They are bound to experience some awkwardness when holstering their pistol (or revolver), and I warn them that, while a retention strap is a benefit if they live an active life-style while carrying, they must be particularly attentive when holstering a loaded pistol.

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