Don’t be a CCW Idiot

by Greg Ellifritz

I’m guessing that most of you who are active in the firearm-related blogosphere have seen this story. But if you haven’t, please check it out:

4 People Hurt By Gunfire In Dallas Walmart

Editor’s Note: This is a news story from 4 years ago, but similar events are reported frequently every year.

This guy says his gun went off when he bent down to pick up a dropped wallet. Guns don’t just “go off.” Something had to pull the trigger. He likely didn’t pull it with his finger, but it got pulled somehow.

Think of the negative press that incidents like this generate for the Concealed Carry community. A little kid who gets wounded from your irresponsibility is not only tragic, it makes all of us who carry guns look bad. This incident could have been prevented.

If you are new to carrying concealed weapons (or if you have just never learned the proper way to carry a gun), pay attention to the following guidelines:

1) Use a holster. My guess is that this dude had his gun tucked into his waistband. That’s generally poor form. Even if the gun has a heavy enough trigger pull to make accidental discharges unlikely (perhaps a double action revolver), sticking the gun into the waistband isn’t very secure. The gun will move around, making your drawstroke slower and less consistent. The gun may also fall out during a physical struggle. Invest in a holster and use it.

2) Use a holster that covers the trigger guard. Holster makers are better about this feature now than they were in the old days, but you can still find holsters that leave your trigger guard open. Don’t use them. They are a recipe for disaster.

3) Use a holster that fits your gun. Those “one size fits all” holsters you can buy at the gun show don’t fit any gun well. They will be less comfortable to carry and will likely be slightly too tight or slightly too loose. Both can cause problems. If your holster cost less than $20, your either got a great deal or you shouldn’t be using it. And I don’t care if it does say “tactical” on the label.

4) Make sure your holster has rigid sides. You should not be able to pull the trigger of your gun while it is in the holster. Some of the cheaper nylon and suede inside the waistband holsters will allow you to do just that. It’s an accident waiting to happen. Invest some money in your lifesaving equipment. There are a few good holsters on the market under $50, but they are rare. Most of the better ones cost upwards of $100 or more. How much is your life worth?

Pay attention to these rules and you will be less likely to shoot yourself or someone else. The rest of us who carry concealed pistols will be grateful for your responsible actions.

Greg Ellifritz is the full time firearms and defensive tactics training officer for a central Ohio police department. He holds instructor or master instructor certifications in more than 75 different weapon systems, defensive tactics programs and police specialty areas. Greg has a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management and is an instructor for both the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy and the Tactical Defense Institute. For more information or to contact Greg, visit his training site, Active Response Training.