Concealed Carry: Do You Need To Practice Fast-Holstering A Handgun?


The need to practice fast-holstering a handgun for self-defense is debatable and, in many cases, dangerous.

Why practicing quick holstering a handgun might not be needed:

  • Many shooters overemphasize fast holstering in practice.
  • This training can be dangerous and in a real-life scenario most likely unneeded.
  • Holstering a drawn handgun should be a slow deliberate process.
  • You should only worry about holstering a gun once you are certain it is not needed.

Because of my vocation, I spend a lot of time on the range. I won’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. And, to be honest, a lot of what I’ve seen just does not make a whole lot of sense. Take for example the motions some handgunners go through after they shoot their gun. They’ll pull the handgun in close to their body, jerk their head left and right like they’re trying to shake water out of their ears, and then shove the handgun back in their holster faster than Bill Hickok could have pulled one out of his.

Take your time when you holster. Make sure your finger is off the trigger and that there is no further need to have your handgun out.
Take your time when you holster. Make sure your finger is off the trigger and that there is no further need to have your handgun out.

Though I’m sure I’ve not considered every scenario, the times that you’ll need to holster your handgun in a hurry are as rare as the times you’ll hear Britney Spears whisper in your ear, “My place or yours?” As a cop, I pulled my handgun countless times. I also saw other cops do the same. Never was I in, or did I witness a situation where, the handgun had to be holstered in a hurry. That’s a good thing because holstering a handgun in a hurry is one of the leading causes of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

In a defensive situation you should only holster your handgun when the shooting is over or when you realize shooting will not be needed. In either case, there is no rush; you’re safe and the threat is no longer present or has been neutralized. Yet, too many shooters practice fast holstering on the range. Either they think it looks cool or they’re in a hurry to run a drill again. Eventually, they’ll forget to remove their finger from the trigger and when that finger contacts the holster it is often followed by a loud noise and the creation of extra unneeded but mostly unwanted holes in the body.

When it’s time to put your handgun away, take a breath, slowly and carefully evaluate your surroundings, address ammunition needs, and then, deliberately, slowly and reluctantly, put that hog’s leg away. That soft thing you sit on and those legs that carry you around will appreciate the consideration.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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