Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I Almost Just Shot Myself!

Picture Courtesy of Daniel Bales
The Serpa and similar auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holsters have been commercially available in some form since 2006 with at least four variations currently on the market. As a retention holster, this design protects and retains the pistol and automatically "locks" the pistol in the holster when it is inserted without the need to manipulate any additional devices.

The retention release mechanism is located on the outboard side in the pistol's trigger/trigger guard area. To properly operate the release, the shooter establishes a strong-hand grip, extending and straightening the trigger finger exactly like a draw from any style of holster. The shooter then applies finger-pad pressure with the straight trigger finger to the "release button" that deactivates the retention and allows the shooter to draw the pistol.

There is a problem however. Unless the shooter deactivates the retention before beginning upward pressure on the pistol as part of the draw, the retention will continue to hold the pistol in place. Often, the inexperienced shooter then begins tugging on the pistol and tends to bend their trigger finger and transition from finger-pad to finger-tip pressure.

When the novice shooter finally manages to deactivate the retention and draws the pistol, this bend in the trigger finger positions the finger near or on the trigger, and the finger tends to stay in motion. As the trigger guard clears the holster, the finger enters the trigger guard and contacts the trigger — occasionally with unpleasant results. 

Tex Grebner of YouTube fame recorded a video of  accidentally shooting himself using a auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holster. The backstory behind his incident is interesting. He was practicing with several pistol and holster designs that day which resulted the perfect storm of ill-timed events.

Over the years I have become a firm believer in the "family of pistols" concept. I routinely see shooters trying to practice with pistols of radically different designs and they end up unable to shoot any of them well. Pick a pistol and holster design and stick to it.

Many instructors and academies simply ban these holsters from their classes. That is one solution. I have been present when two people shot themselves while improperly drawing an auto-lock trigger finger holster.  The pictures enclosed below courtesy of Daniel Bales in Reno, Nevada show a recent incident. In this case however, the shooter was standing in such a manner or tilted the holster during the draw in such a manner that the bullet did not cause any injury.

Pictures Courtesy of Daniel Bales

The holster is not the problem, it works exactly as designed. However, this design does seem to be extremely attractive to untrained shooters who often do not practice enough to use it correctly. If you are going to use an auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holster, you absolutely must train with the holster until a safe draw is second nature.

For instructors and range safety officers: If you have a shooter using a holster of this design, the key tell-tale sign that the shooter is drawing incorrectly is the belt will rise as they are drawing.  If you see the belt rise during the draw stroke, stop the shooter immediately and discuss the proper draw with this holster. 

If you enjoy these you may subscribe via a link in the upper right. You will then receive e-mail notification of new posts--nothing else.  You information will never be provided to 3rd party entities.

No comments:

Post a Comment