The goal of training is to accurately place shots on your target. All of the hype around gadgets, belts, pouches, holsters, etc. may distract you, but In the end of the day, there is only one purpose for handling a gun. And that is why safety is so critical. Gun safety is not just a switch on the side of your pistol, it is what keeps you from injuring unintended targets, shooting yourself, and protecting those who do not know how to handle a pistol from themselves.
There are so many situations that can lead to an accidental discharge: placing an unholstered gun on a table, picking up a gun, handing a gun to another person, press checks, malfunctions, and so on. But what we want to address here is the danger of actually holstering your gun.
HOLSTERING IS A SKILL
When we practice our draw, we tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the steps. Step one, support hand defeats your garment and primary hand on grip. Step two, bring gun chest high and grip with support hand. Step three, decompress elbows while loading the trigger and aligning to the target. All of these actions are critical, and to become a good holster shooter, you must have them down solid.
Not so much is said about the reverse of your draw. It is so easy to get wrapped-up in the act that you completely forget the most dangerous part of it, holstering. Why is it so dangerous? Well for starters, almost all of your actions in a draw stroke are meant to point your gun away from your body. When you reverse this cycle, almost all actions can easily place you in harms way, especially for appendix carry where some of your most vascular body parts are located.
So while you are developing your draw, you should spend equal time developing your holstering technique. Ensure your holster can be accessed easily. Defeat any clothing that may be in the way or that keeps you from seeing the muzzle of your gun as you insert it into your holster. Follow with your eyes the entire process until your gun is secured.
After a while, you may feel like you have done enough reps that you no longer need to be as focused on this process. True, after a few thousand reps you may be very skilled at it, but never take it for granted. Accidents happen when we least expect it. Don’t let your guard down.
When holstering your pistol try to remember three things, the first is your finger is always on the trigger frame unless you have a target in sight. This is also the first rule of handling a gun, but it is especially critical while holstering. Too many times we see shooters with their finger on the trigger just standing with their gun. It’s not only a bad habit, but it shows a lack of discipline.
Second, never point your muzzle at yourself, no matter if your gun is hot or cold. This is also a common sense rule but it is one mistake we see a lot of shooters make. There is never a reason to point the muzzle of your gun at any body part that is not a target, not even for a split second. This just creates very unsafe habits and shows others who take gun safety seriously that you do not have good muzzle awareness.
And finally third, even though you should not watch your gun during your draw, you should be concentrating on your target, there is no reason not to watch it during holstering. If you are holstering your gun, the threat is over, and you have no intent to use it. Remove all other stimulus from your focus and concentrate on securing your pistol as safely as you can. There is nothing more important for a shooter to understand than gun safety.