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Reholstering: Balancing Speed and Safety

In The Thing About Holsters I received a comment:

I’m all on board with everything you said except reholstering. If you draw your gun, you drew it because NEED it. Never should there be a moment when you have to quickly reholster. You need to be deliberate and cognizant of your gun, holster and any article of clothing or objects that can wedge their way in front of the trigger especially with the popularity of “safe action triggers” that adorn many of the guns used for self defense. Reholstering quickly, needlessly opens up a relationship between you and a new hole in your body. Putting a gun away = no more threat = no need to ever qickly reholster with your tunnel vision and shaky adrenaline pumped hands.

I find the comment particularly interesting because I only said two things about reholstering in the entire article which were:

Reholstering in that soft-sided holster sure is easy when you’re standing in your bedroom and can take your time to carefully open the mouth with your off-hand with no distractions and nothing else to do. It’s quite a bit different when you’ve just shot someone and have to put your gun away so that you can grab both your kids and move to safety. But your hands are shaking from the adrenaline, you can’t see straight from tunnel vision and you’re scared half to death.


How quickly could you reholster your firearm safely?

I did, indeed, use the “Q” word. That being said, my question was very direct. How quickly could you reholster your firearm safely?

The operative word in that sentence being “safely.”

In the days of old, reholstering quickly was kind of a thing. After a few people put a bullets down their legs trying to beat some sort of speed record some wise people started teaching stopping, looking and then carefully and deliberately holstering our firearms no faster than you can do so safely. This is as it should be. Yet, sometimes this has been interpreted as meaning we shouldn’t reholster at all under stress or that it absolutely cannot be done at a quick pace and safely.

Recently, I attended the Rangemaster Tactical Conference and I attended a block of instruction that was low light force on force incorporating medical scenarios. It was pretty interesting to see what people were doing with their guns after the actual shooting was over. Lots of them kept them out so they could continue to secure the scene but once it was established that shooting was no longer necessary, lots of people put their guns on the ground to start the medical portion of the scenario. Some lost track of them completely, distracted by the new tasks.

What happens if you have to grab a wounded loved one and move? What if someone is coming on scene you don’t know? Do you really want your gun laying on the ground for them to potentially grab?

As I said in the original article. What if you want to get out of there but need both hands to extract children? Where’s the best place for your gun?

When talking about how to avoid getting shot by responding officers in something like an active shooter event, lots of instructors recommend reholstering the gun to get it out of sight but so that it’s still accessible should another event arise.

Just yesterday I was talking to some of my instructor friends on Facebook about some good ways to do one-handed reloads. As one of the instructors commented, “..put it in your gun holder, it’s almost as if they were made to hold guns.”

My point is that your holster is meant to carry your gun. It should be a safe and accessible place to put your gun if you need to put it away long enough to do something else that is also very important. If you need it again it should be just as accessible to draw and then ready to receive the firearm again.

You should be able to repeat this process as often as needed to get the job done. You should be able to do it safely with a relative amount of speed.

Kathy Jackson has some great examples of what some holstering gaffs look like and how to avoid them. I recommend taking a look.

Holsters that do not allow a relatively quick and safe reholster are on the bottom end of holsters that I would recommend and I encourage everyone to consider reholstering as part of the process of picking a sufficient every day carry holster.

I know. Comfort. Concealment. Etc.

Again, I get it. If a soft-sided holster that collapses upon the draw and is impossible to reholster in safely and quickly is the only holster you can find that provides the level of comfort and concealment you need then you do what you have to do. There will be times that I will carry in soft-sided holsters under the firm understanding of the drawbacks. There are other techniques to retain your firearm while you perform other tasks that may be better than trying to reholster in soft-sided holster but none of them are as ideal or as safe as reholstering using a rigid holster.

Don’t let reholstering be something you leave off the checklist when considering what kind of holster to buy.

And don’t buy this idea that reholstering never needs or shouldn’t ever be done under stress.

Yes, it absolutely must be done safely but there’s no reason you can’t take your time to be safe and be quick about it.

About Melody Lauer aka Limatunes

Melody is an NRA and Rangemaster Certified Pistol instructor, mother of three and advocate of safe gun carry and practices.

3 responses »

  1. I totally agree. Doing more scenario based, fight focused training helps people understand what you’re explaining. Reholstering easily and safely is also important when working with a long gun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I get what you’re saying but it’s my personal opinion there shouldn’t be any focus on speed but rather safety when reholstering.

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. You’re only as fast as safety allows etc.

    I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong. I’m only expressing my disagreement and opinion.

    I hope you don’t see my comments as attacks or being offensive. I respect you and your opopinions. I actually recommend your blog and YouTube channel to like minded individuals. Please keep at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t disagree with you, Rey. In fact, if you read the article, I say the exact same thing. You should only reholster as quickly as you can do it safely. In ADDITION, if you can’t do it safely you shouldn’t reholster.
      HOWEVER! A good holster will allow you to reholster safely AND quickly.
      Not sure why this is such a difficult concept to grasp? Not trying to be offensive either (and I didn’t take offense). Just genuinely curious as to why you think I was advocating speed without safety if you read the piece?

      Liked by 1 person


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