I Have a Problem. And it’s Not with my Shooting

My name is Chad. I have a bad habit.

I’m talking about holstering my gun without looking. I learned very early that it was no bueno. Sam told me during our first session that you draw quick and holster S-L-O-W.

There is zero benefit to holstering your weapon quickly. The threat is gone (why else would you holster it?). Your body is filled with adrenaline, and your fine motor control is shot to hell. So, what’s the rush? Seriously?

The thing is, I’ve been trying to hammer out my grip and my sighting. I’ve tried to make my trigger pull buttery smooth, but there are some areas where I haven’t been vigilant. My toolkit has holes in it. None of this is quite as detrimental as my habit of blindly holstering my gun.

I did it because it’s quick. I did it because it lets me move on to the next drill. Draw, sight, pull the trigger, rack the slide, holster. Wash, rinse, repeat. After I pull the trigger, I’m so focused on analyzing the shot (click) that I don’t pay attention to anything else.

I had done that for months. Then I began to see facebook posts about guys who shot themselves as they holstered their guns.

Like this poor dude.

Timothy Phonisay shot himself through the femoral artery as he holstered his gun.
Timothy Phonisay shot himself through the femoral artery as he holstered his gun.

Timothy Phonisay of Milwaukee shot himself through the femoral artery recently as he holstered a 45 caliber Springfield. He was posing with the weapon, which he had owned for three months. We will never know exactly what happened, but below is one hypothesis by Bearingarms.com.

We do not know, and are likely to never know, is if Mr. Phonisay still had his finger inside the trigger guard of his pistol and accidentally depressed the trigger with his finger, or if the firearm’s trigger snagged on an article of clothing or the holster itself causing it to fire. What is known is that something depressed the trigger while he was reholstering, causing the gun to discharge.

Bob Owens, Bearingarms.com

The article went on to suggest that Phinosay was appendix carrying, and might not have had the proper holster or learned how to holster with the trigger guard clear and without the barrel sweeping past vital organs.

I don’t appendix carry. I have the right holster. Now I have to build the habit of holstering slowly and vigilantly.

 

 

 

 

Dry Firing 001: The Shot Timer

Remember the Magnificent Seven? How the gunmen rode into town and trained the villagers how to fight the bad guys? Well, I'm a villager. This is my training sequence.
Remember the Magnificent Seven? How the gunmen rode into town and trained the villagers how to fight the bad guys? Well, I’m a villager. This is my training sequence.

I’ve talked a lot about dry firing. In the earlier days of Daddys-Gun.com I even wrote a few posts about it. They were bone simple, and if you are baffled about how to fit practice into your daily routine, it is possible. I did it.

I’ve been exposed to a handful of drills since I wrote about the Wall Drill. If you are more of a beginner than me, then you can use this as a blueprint. I’ll be including links to experts so that you can see how it’s done right. If you are experienced, think of this as one of those long training sequences, where the chubby, middle aged underdog manages to defy the odds and become a better shooter. People love training sequences.

Most of the drills  will require a shot timer to be done effectively. Shot timers prompt you when to draw, often with a beep or a robotic sounding command. Then they time how long it takes before your gun goes bang (or click, in this case.)

They often have a par function, which lets you program in an expectation. Ie, “I should be able to pull the trigger in two seconds.” Setting the par gives you a methodical way to raise the bar. Also, they should have a memory function. Or, you could just keep your pars and times written down in a notebook.

So far I haven’t seen a timer for less than $100. Thankfully, there is an app for it. Actually, there are lots of them.

 

The Free Shot Timer is available on for the iPhone 6 and other apple devices. You'll need a mic to make it work for dry firing.
The Free Shot Timer is available on for the iPhone 6 and other apple devices. You’ll need a mic to make it work for dry firing.

I downloaded the Free Shot Timer App last night, and deleted it after about five minutes. Then I realized that I need to buy a cheap microphone, so that the app could pick up the click. I’ll be picking one up in a day or two. We’ll see how it goes. If it sucks, remember. it’s free.

These are the drills that I will be practicing.

  • The Draw. I kind of touched on this in my last post. Now I’ll be looking at its dryfire counterpart.
  • The Turn and Draw. Like the draw, but you start with your back to the target.
  • The Strong Hand Draw. Here you are shooting with one hand. It is the foundation for the ever popular, dual wielding as seen on TV and in the movies. (Psyche!)
This is the free shot timer control panel. You can see it allows you adjust the par time.
This is the free shot timer control panel. You can see it allows you adjust the par time.
  • Support Hand from a 45 Degree Angle. Instead of drawing from a holster, you’re holding the gun in front of you at a 45… you know the rest.
  • Support Hand from Draw: Here you’ll draw your weapon with the strong hand and then switch to your non dominate hand.

Sam introduced me to them and they are part of a program geared towards IDPA competition. IDPA stands for the International Defensive Pistol Association. They were established way back in 96 as a way to let average shooters test their combat skills in simulated, real world situations. If you’re lucky, this is as close as you will ever get to a gun fight.

 

Day One of the The Holster Hunt: Vegan Holsters

A 1911 in an IWB (Inside of the Waistband Holster)
A 1911 in an IWB (Inside of the Waistband Holster)

We don’t have what you want. Do you want us to order this other thing that you don’t want?

Today was the day I went looking at holsters for my M&P. It would have been either kydex or injection molded plastic if I had bought it.

I was given a short list of brands and told to find an Inside the Waistband holster that was 100 percent vegan. No leather or leather/kydex hybrids.

It has nothing to do with PETA. Leather sweats and loses its shape. It becomes worn down and frayed. Plastic and kydex don’t care about sweat. They won’t bend or yield and they will be around long after I’m dead and gone.

If I could do it again, I might have gotten a smaller gun. Something I could slip into the pocket of my winter coat.

The full size M&P is on the top, the compact on the bottom. It might not seem like a big difference. It is. Photo courtesy of J's Sport Supply
The full size M&P is on the top, the compact on the bottom. It might not seem like a big difference. It is.
Photo courtesy of J’s Sport Supply

My carry gun is  a full-sized 9mm S&W M&P with the optional thumb safety. I bought it, when I was commuting by bike from West Philadelphia to Center City. I was a valet. We were getting almost weekly phone calls about armed robberies at other locations. Just as importantly, on a good day I might end up pedaling home with a few hundred dollars. In uniform. Easy target.

It didn’t matter that I was depositing my money as quickly as possible in a well lit ATM machine. It wouldn’t have mattered if I changed my uniform before I left. There is no way to avoid the feeling of vulnerability when you’re riding your bike at home, at night, in the city. So I went to a local gun shop looking for something that would fit into a large pocket in the center of my messenger bag.

They didn’t make the M&P Shield back then, but they made the M&Pc. It fit. I could even have gotten it with my beloved thumb safety – long and thin and 1911-ish; not the little pill shaped nub on the Shield. But I didn’t like how my pinkie finger dangled the bottom of the gun.

I held the Springfield Armory XD 9mm compact. It was a little ugly brick.

I drooled over a couple of cheap 1911’s, but I was worried about reliability. So I bought the M&P. And now I’m trying to find a way to carry the damned thing.

I took my shopping list to two nearby shops. One was closed. The other carried a wide selection of holsters, as long as they were Blackpoint. Behind the counter were a couple of leather wing holsters, one for the M&P compact, the other for the Glock. Neither of which I have. But it wouldn’t have mattered if he did because I’m a vegan shooter. No leather on my holsters.

“Do you want me to order you one?”

“No thanks…” I mean, shouldn’t I try it on or something? Are there dressing rooms in gun shops? I had even brought the gun with me, in its plastic (vegan) tool box.

To be continued. Tomorrow I’m going to call around. If I have to I will drive across Atlanta to a store that I kind of hate. The Walmart of guns.

I’m on a mission. For PETA