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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Retention Holsters

A retention holster most likely saved at least one life this weekend.

I was teaching my First Steps Pistol Orientation class this weekend.  The facility I use has two classrooms, and is located in a full-service gun shop/firing range.  It's perfect for my purposes.

The class started at 11am.  The manager of the shop had an employee that wasn't able to get there at opening (10 am), so the manager was in the shop by himself.  All of the shop employees carry sidearms, open-carry.

For my class, the NRA requires that no live ammo be present in the classroom.  So, I'm in the back of the building, with 6 students, 7 pistols, and no ammo.

Around 11:30, a young guy walks in to the gun shop.  He says he wants to see about picking up a pepper spray for his girlfriend.  The pepper spray display is locked up, at the front of the shop.  It required the manager to come out from behind the counter to open the case.

As he was unlocking the case, the young man grabbed the manager's gun from behind.  Thankfully, he was using a Serpa Retention holster.

For those of you unfamiliar with what this is, it's a holster with a button on the side of the holster.  When you're gripping the gun, you run your index finger down the side of the holster, and it unlocks the gun, allowing you to remove it from the holster.  If you just try and pull out the gun, it stays put on the hip of the owner.

Anyways, as the guy is grabbing the gun, he slams the manager's head into the case, dazing him.  The manager was able to throw an elbow and spin around so he's facing the young guy.  The manager then pulled back and hammered the guy square in the face, dropping him to the ground.

As the manager cleared the cobwebs from his head, and went to draw his gun, the guy scampered out the door into a car with an accomplice.  As much as he wanted, no shots were fired as the threat had retreated.

There were a couple of guys in the shooting range when this happened, but they were as oblivious to what was happening as my class and I were.  Had the manager not been wearing the retention holster, he would have likely been shot in the back.

The bad guy would have had the run of the gun shop - the unimpeded ability to take as many guns as he wished.  And plenty of ammo.  If he got bold enough, he could have entered my classroom and done as he pleased.  The best-case result would have been acquiring another 7 handguns.

Accept The Challenge

If you're carrying open-carry, wear a retention holster.  Cops do this for very good reasons, you should as well.

While I personally prefer the Serpa's, one may not be made for your specific gun.  Consider a thumb break style -

There's a snap or velcro strap that goes over the rear of the gun.  This strap attachment is "broken" with your thumb while drawing the gun.

If you're carrying a gun on your hip (concealed or open), be very aware of allowing anyone to be behind you.  Your concealed handgun may not be as well concealed as you may think, and could become a target of bad guys.

Oh, and I will no longer be unarmed when teaching any of my classes.  I'll drop my NRA affiliation before unnecessarily placing my life at risk.

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


TOR said...

Well I am glad that worked out OK. Most gunshops I know have pretty solid security setups. 2 people armed in the main room might not be a bad SOP. Also having the case by the counter and opening from the back would be good. Then again maybe this is a hindsight is 20/ 20thing.

Retention is a significant issue with open carry and one reason it is better for wide open empty spaces than cities. Personally I have always been more worried about the grab the gun from behind/ the side thing than somebody in front of me I am fighting with. Mostly because it is a lot easier to be aware of my immediate front than back/ side, especially in a crowd. One definite advantage to appendix carry is that nobody is going to sneek up and grab my gun.

I generally use friction retention for concealed carry. My OC holsters have thumb breaks. Don't like the Serpa style but that is just me.

Adam said...

I like the Safariland ALS holsters myself. Though I also have a Serpa one.

The biggest thing is a gun store employee should NEVER be alone. If he is alone, he should always be behind the counter.

As a police officer, yes, it is much easier to get a gun grab from behind than it is from the side or front. But it's still very easy to get it unless you have the proper training. We use retention holsters and I can attest to several officers that are alive only because of the retention holsters.

I do understand why the NRA doesn't want live ammo during classroom instruction. It's mostly because of ND's. But anyone who will blatantly attempt to rob a gunstore is obviously willing to kill whomever he has to to accomplish his goal.

suek said...

Off topic, but an article you will probably find of interest:

Chief Instructor said...

TOR, yep, I'm guessing he broke policy by coming out from behind the counter when by himself. I think it was a lapse in judgement that could have ended up very badly.

Adam, I've never heard of the Safariland holsters. I looked quickly at their site, and will do some more research. Interesting.

Sue, very interesting. My first thought was the Soros angle! It sounds like he's not behind the company, but it worries me that so many manufacturers are bundled together. If The Freedom Group hits tough times, a zillionaire like Soros could swoop in, gobble it up, and shut it down. Too tin-foil hat-ish, but I won't put anything past that bastard.

suek said...

On topic...

Does it seem really coincidental that this robber occurred on the day the employee was out?

Now, it's certainly possible that someone was watching and waiting for just that opportunity, but granting that I may have been watching too much TV, I think I'd look for a possible connection between the employee and the thief - although I guess they have to catch the thief first! It could be an innocent connection on the part of the employee - or not - but it really sounds like there was a familiarity with the shop and how things were done, and an awareness of the possibility of opportunity.