The Cornered Cat
Bad habits bite

People who’ve taken one of my classes know that we spend a lot of time working on a safe, smooth drawstroke — and just as much time learning how to put the gun safely back into the holster. This is particularly important when it comes to putting the gun away when you’re wearing a cover garment.

Over on YouTube, there’s a short news segment, roughly five minutes long, that first aired about a year ago. It’s making the rounds again, and it made an excellent point, so you should probably go watch it. Sadly and annoyingly, the copyright owners chose to disallow embedding, so you’ll have to go over to YouTube to view the complete video. You can find it at [this link].

There are actually two important lessons in the video, even though the people who made it thought there was only one.

Lesson One (the point the producers intended to make): if you have a jacket with a drawstring toggle, you should either cut the toggle off or pin it out of the way whenever you carry your gun. Otherwise, the toggle can get caught in the trigger guard as you holster and it could fire the gun when you adjust your jacket. 1


Toggles can cause trouble.

Toggles can cause trouble.


Whether or not you have a drawstring toggle on your jacket, pay attention whenever you holster your gun. Don’t be thinking about other things while you handle a loaded weapon. Don’t be casual. Do consciously and carefully move your cover garment out of the way, and do stop — instantly! — if you feel anything unusual while you’re holstering. (As you watch the video, notice the man’s casually distracted body language as he holsters the gun. What do you think — was that a contributing factor to this equipment problem?)


If the toggle slips into the trigger guard, it can fire the gun when the shooter adjusts her jacket.

If the toggle slips into the trigger guard, it can fire the gun when the shooter adjusts her jacket.


Now for Lesson Two, the one the producers didn’t realize they were teaching. At 4:47, you hear one of the talking heads explain that the officer involved in this situation also had another unintentional shooting a few years back when he shot himself in the hand “with a gun he thought was unloaded.”

Gosh… I wonder what kind of ongoing bad gunhandling habit this man had, that could have prompted that previous injury? Anyone?


What bad gunhandling habit do you see in this still from a surveillance video?

What bad gunhandling habit do you see in this still captured on a surveillance video?

Stay safe.


  1. Although it’s tempting, don’t fall for the bit of misdirection about the brand of gun involved here. This type of unintentional shooting happens with all types of guns, including revolvers and those with external, manual safeties as well. It’s not a brand problem. It’s a behavior problem.

4 Responses to Bad habits bite

  1. larryarnold says:

    It would also be nice if gun store clerks and owners got into the habit of handing customers guns with the action open.

    All my jackets got toggle-ectomies.

  2. awalker1829 says:

    None of my jackets have toggles (due to my manner of dress). Each person should pay attention to what they wear and identify potential issues. I choose to use an inside waistband holster with a trigger guard to reduce the probability of an unintended discharge. If wearing a coat or tucking a shirt over it, it requires me to sweep the cover garments clear to access the holster.

    Other issue is that the chief should probably have cleared his service weapon while handling it in the shop.

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