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Letter Re: IWB Holsters and Negligent Discharges

Dear Editor:

You recently mentioned an article about a negligent discharge, involving a Glock [1] pistol that was carried in a very worn-out holster of the inside-the-waistband (IWB [2]) variety. It was titled: The importance of a good holster [3]. To be fair, IWB holsters are very good. So are Galco holsters. So are Glocks. One must just identify the risk versus benefits of any holster. For whatever reason, the concealed carry crowd forgets that the IWB holster is NOT a tactical holster. The IWB holster is an excellent choice for those in the concealed carry group but it is not the only option. You get great concealment. Quick access and [safely and quickly] returning the firearm to the holster is problematic depending on your clothing. Those factors are dependent upon where you live and, your level of training. The problem is not the IWB holster. It’s awareness of the issues of your gear selection. I wouldn’t rule out an IWB holster because of this issue. You just have to be aware [of the limitations] while drawing and re-holstering your firearm. There are no free lunches with all things firearms related which includes firearms accessories.

The incident referenced in the article occurs often. It is possible that this same incident could have occurred with a kydex holster except the difference being that upon returning the firearm while seated in a car seat (i.e.: the individual is bent at the waist although compensating / maneuvering to get the gun in place…), the individual could have easily and accidentally caught just just enough clothing inside the trigger guard at the moment he slides the gun in place and bang!

Consider the risk / benefit of firearm selection and holster combination. The individual in question was carrying a Glock. Ergo, this incident was totally possible because of the [Glock design’s] trigger safety. With a Springfield XD, I doubt this would have occurred because of the external safety lever on[ found on most] XDs. A pinching leather holster or clothing being snagged wouldn’t have caused this incident. And for 1911s, same as the XD. A revolver? A this, a that? Just do some research. Kydex holsters come in various styles so look at the options. The best approach is once you get your gear, go to training dressed the same way you regularly carry. I know officers that show up to firearms training with true tactical holsters and go to work with IWB holsters and other holsters that are totally different from the aforementioned tactical holster(s). They do this because the tactical holster is more comfortable and easier to train with. Then, they go to work and the tactical holster gets tossed in the trunk until the next range day. Now everyone can see the the problem with that.

For 20 years as a law enforcement officer, I’ve used the same type of leather Galco holster. Every time I go to training whether it be tactical, qualification, long gun M4 [4] or 12 gauge transitions to sidearm, [training with] outside vendors, et cetera, I use the same holster and same gun (a SIG [5] P220). Find what works for you and avoid big changes. These lessons were first learned while on active duty infantry for over 5 years and it carried over all these years later. Finding out what works will be identified via training. You may end up buying more than a few holsters so do your homework to avoid wasting money. Having more than one holster is fine, just train with all the accessories you honestly use. One set of gear for training and the another set for ‘real’ IMHO creates unnecessary issues. Ironing out the issues via training yields positive results. You will fight like you train so train like you fight. Good luck.