I recently purchased a new holster for my P365xl. It came in the mail, on a hot and humid July day. I quickly unwrapped it and tested the retention with my unloaded pistol. Fit like a champ after a few adjustments. Like always, before I stowed it away in my safe, I inserted a full mag and left it unloaded. Storing guns cold, and checking them before and after taking them from storage, has been my daily ritual since day one.
The next day, after sitting in its shiny new holster in an indoor safe for about 18 hours, I pulled it out and proceeded to check it for clear. Typically I will extract the pistol from the holster, remove the mag, and cycle the slide 3-4 times to ensure it is cold. Only then will I chamber a round before I carry. I must have done this thousands of times by now so it’s fairly robotic. All the same, administrative clearing can be one of the most dangerous protocols, especially if the holster is not attached to your belt.
This time, however, the holster was really tight. So much that when I pulled the pistol from it, my grip shifted and I actually pressed the trigger as the gun exited the holster. Fortunately my OCD and ritualistic habits kept me from discharging a round into the floor or worse, my leg or foot. But for a shooter who is as careful as I can possibly be, at all times when handling a gun, it was both a frightening reminder and a huge relief.
HOT GUN FACTS
I have been around guns all my life. I can remember every time a loaded gun has been accidentally or negligently pointed at me. You likely have the same experiences if you have been around guns enough. It happens whether we like it or not.
At the range, whether I am teaching or shooting, I am constantly on guard for negligent behavior. Typically the dude who sweeps the line with a hot gun when confronted claims he had no idea it happened. Of course it is always followed by an apology, true gun people cannot stomach the idea their actions could cause fear.
You simply cannot be too safe when handling a hot gun. Constant gun safety vigilance and safe habits are the only way to prevent accidents, and sometimes that isn’t enough.
Fact is, as an average citizen, you will likely never be presented with an opportunity to deploy a loaded weapon in a defensive situation. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare.
You will, however, over a lifetime of gun handling, be presented with a million different opportunities to improperly handle a loaded gun. Simply unloading and loading your carry gun each day, x365 days, x50 years, amounts to 36,500 opportunities exactly.
HOT GUN HYPE
As you can probably guess, I am not a fan of storing hot guns. And I am definitely not alone in my opinions either. There are a lot of advocates in the gun world who preach the “be ready for anything” mindset, but that doesn’t mean throw-out safety. It’s just not sexy to preach about safe gun handling. Everyone wants to be a better shooter, better prepared, nobody wants to be preached-at about safety.
But anyone who spends a lot of time behind a trigger knows the danger of doing otherwise. Ask yourself this, why at the start of every gun class do the trainers typically dedicate a lot of time to safety? Whether it is reciting Cooper’s 4 gun safety laws or demonstrating proper handling, it’s always the same.
Ever been to a class where you just start shooting out of the gate? If so, run like hell!
Shooters should be continually reminded that safety is the number one goal, even in training. See how long you last in a class after a negligent or even accidental discharge. If you aren’t carried-out on a stretcher yourself, you will likely be made to feel as if you shot someone else.
And we aren’t talking about cold carry here, you should carry your pistol hot unless you are not comfortable with hot carry.
“But if my gun isn’t hot, I won’t be able to respond quick enough!!!” You mean the gun that is locked in a safe? The same gun that takes 5-10 seconds to deploy because you have to dial-in a code or combination? Do you really think spending a fraction of a second chambering a round is going to improve that response?
And don’t get me started on non-habitual gun storage. Some guns are loaded, some are cold. Do you really remember which ones are “hot and ready to deploy”? Doubt it. Add to the fact that in a defensive situation, your ability to focus and remember, you won’t, will be exponentially impacted. Storing hot guns indiscriminately is just asking for trouble.