I recently got a story in one of my message subscriptions about a man who accidently shot himself in the butt. The man was experienced and had been carrying concealed for over 10 years.
What led to the incident (as indicated in the message) was that he had recently changed from his regular carry holster to a new one. The material in the old and new holsters were different but are not relevant to this discussion.
I tried to find the original report but didn’t find it. I found lots of other ‘accidental’ (translated to negligent in my mind) self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Back to the original story. The man felt comfortable with his new concealed carry holster and wore it while he was running some errands. On his last stop (he kinda got diverted) he heard a loud bang when getting into his truck. When investigating the sound, he discovered a hole in his pants. Further investigation revealed a through and through in his buttocks. He made his pistol safe and unloaded before going to the hospital for treatment.
After going back home he thoroughly inspected the pistol, looking for any clue to the discharge. Not finding any he felt the answer was clothing getting caught in the trigger.
In my classes I teach that each day you carry you need to (with no ammunition in your gun or area) practice drawing with whatever it is you are wearing. Getting dressed and arming up without this practice could very well set you up for failure.
For example, if you have a garment that impedes deploying your firearm you need to know that before you are faced with a threat and need to deploy it. By practicing with your firearm beforehand you will identify the issue and be mentally prepared to mitigate it and have practiced that mitigation. That simple habit can save your life!
Another thing to look for is any part of your clothing that may get caught up in the trigger guard. This is especially critical if you have a firearm that does not have a manual safety. Had the subject of the report done this there may not have been an issue.
We all (at least I hope we do) train regularly with our firearms. This training comes in the form of dry fire and live fire on a shooting range. This is necessary and helps us be proficient with our tools.
We also need to train with our concealed carry solution. We need to practice presenting and placing our firearm back into the holster. We need to know our equipment without having to think about it. We should get to the state of training where drawing and presenting are natural to us. It is equally important to practice returning to the holster.
If you have a carry solution that does not facilitate either of these actions you should reconsider your choice. Most of us have a box of holsters we have tried over the years. Each one was “the” one when we made the purchase. After putting them to use we find something that leads us to the next purchase.
For example, I purchased a minimal holster that was essentially a clip that went over my trigger guard and belt. A holster that covers the trigger and adds little to no bulk? Sign me for that! After trying it for a while I didn’t like the fact that once I deploy, I must remove the holster from my belt, attach it to my firearm, then clip it back to my belt. I tried to rationalize it because I thought it was so cool. This one is now used for demo in my gear and gadget module.
I could go on and on about the holsters in my box (gear and gadgets bag) but you are smart enough to get the idea.
Getting to know your gear is critical and your holster is part of that gear. One could even say the clothing we wear to conceal our firearm is also part of our gear. Knowing their limitations must be part of our decision-making process as we choose a carry solution. Once we have that solution we need to be proficient with it. Practice, practice, practice…