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“’What the hell was that?!?’ she said. It took me a half a second to realize that my gun had just gone off…on my hip…in its holster. My wife and I had just finished breakfast at our favorite café and got into the car.” An anonymous contributor to describes his negligent discharge. “Me being the passenger, I rotated my torso to the left to fasten my seatbelt like I always do. When I straightened again, my Glock 19 discharged, blowing a 9mm hole through my pants, underwear, the leather seat and bottom of the car’s door frame.” The culprit: a well-worn Galco JAK202 Slide Belt Holster. Or was it?

The problem stemmed from the leather on the inner side of the holster getting soft. A crease formed, which eventually was large enough to extend beyond the trigger. Manipulate the gun in just the wrong manner and this crease is no different than a finger on the trigger. Boom!

Disagree. The problem stemmed from buying a holster that didn’t cover the trigger. We’ve said it before: you must buy a holster that fits your gun. A holster that allows you to draw and re-holster your gun without putting your finger on trigger as you do so. This picture shows a very bad fit.

The anonymous survivor gets some slack. Check this picture from Galco for the JAK holster.

Is that a good fit? I don’t think so. The gun needs to sit lower in the holster. I mean, the gun is lasering his leg.

Imagine the holster wearer leaning forward and drawing. It looks to me like the rear of the holster top slopes backwards. That might “encourage” the trigger finger to slide down towards the trigger guard during the draw. You might even say it’s an accident waiting to happen, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Before you buy a holster, and/or afterwards, unload your gun, holster that bad boy and do everything you will do when wearing it: jump, run, sit, lie down, bend, etc. And then practice holstering and reholstering. And then do it ALL THE TIME. If your trigger finger somehow ends up inside the guard, ditch the holster. If your draw or reholster degrades as the holster wears, ditch it. Safety first. Comfort second.

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    • I get the same crap for preferring guns with a manual safety. Doesn’t anyone find it the least bit interesting that just about all these “accidental discharge” stories are about Glocks or Glock imitators???

      • But the Block does have a manual safety! Its right there on the trigger! Duh! Easy to reach and impossible to forget. And its double action too!!

        • I know you’re being sarcastic, but its really disturbing that that is the Glock manufacturer line!

          Glocks are really really fun at the range, easy to shoot, but jeez, the marketing department on the safety front just irks me: The only thing that “safe action” trigger means is its drop safe. Just like practically any other pistol sold today [1].

          If you actually wanted a safety that works when holstering, its a thumb safety and/or a grip safety.

          [1] The original CA roster is basically “Drop safe, and fire 100 rounds without blowing up”. Just about every pistol in the US meets that spec.

          • Ugh.

            Glocks are absolute turds. They are only behind the 1911 on the ‘guns I’d never trust to fight for my life’ list.

            If you don’t hold any Glockcrapfest with an iron wrist, it’ll stovepipe every 2 rounds. Total POS.

            In a firefight, I need a weapon that will fire everytime I pull the trigger. Regardless of weakhand, or limp-wrist becasue I’m ready to pass out from blood loss.

            Go ahead, own one. If you have that and an AR-whatever when the SHTF, you’ll be on the losing end of any conflict.

    • No. We safety skeptics usually make fun of manual-safety junkies when they go to pull the trigger and the gun doesn’t go bang. Unless it gets them killed or injured; then we just shake our heads.

      This is an error in holster selection and carry discipline, nothing more.

      And, manual safeties sometimes get switched off while you’re carrying…

      • No matter how you slice it, we’re talking about a system that only needs one point of failure to cause death. Yes, manual safeties get bumped to the fire position, but that doesn’t make them fire. To each their own, but I’d prefer a more space between me and a negligent and potentially deady discharge than “oops, the holster must be getting old”.

        Fail me once, shame on you…

    • I don’t know if beavertail safeties are considered anymore of a manual safety than a trigger safety. The caveat being that XDs and XD(m)s have a third internal safety that only disengages when both safeties are depressed (e.g. when your hand is wrapped around the gun, and finger on the trigger)

  1. Why is the moral of the story: “get a better holster”?

    In the name of safety, maybe we should carry firearms that have a safety.

    • I don’t think so. A .38 with a heavy trigger or a DAO auto pistol is an inherently safe gun. You have to want to pull the trigger to make it go bang.

      This guy bought a holster that didn’t fit his gun. He’s lucky it didn’t cost him more than some body work on his car. It’s not that hard, or expensive to buy a holster that’s made specifically for your gun, no matter what you carry. If you buy the right holster, this kind of thing will never happen to a non-safety gun.

      • I should have put in an “emoticon”. The my revoler comment was sarcasm to Josh’s “in the name of safety” comment. Maybe, in the name of safety” we should have guns that have fingerprint readers in the grip so only programmed user can shoot them! Probably doable, it would just make guns cost 4K each.

        • You may be joking but that used to be a serious idea for patrol sidearms. The issue was officer’s losing their sidearm to an attacker and the gun gets turned on then. Some high-tech ams company developed a smart-gun that had a computer chip which was an “automatic safety.” Basically the owner would have a transmitter chip in either a ring or implanted behind their badge. A receiver was in the gun and controlled the safety. If the weapon was pointed at the owner (who was wearing his transmitter) then the safety would automatically turn on and the gun would just go “click click click,” probably the most terrifying sound to anyone holding a gun. This was in the 90’s, never took off. It think the issue was that if you weren’t wearing your transmitter, you couldn’t defend yourself. Not great for bedside defense, or if you were attacked and lost your transmitter in close quarter. And it was mad expensive. In the end, it was determined that smart guns are really, really dumb.

    • Yes, I think “get a better holster” is exactly the moral of the story. Or one better fitting, as RF put it. And, for that matter, check it on a regular basis to make sure that it’s still performing as when purchased.

  2. I haven’t bought a lot of holsters, but I absolutely loathe buying holsters made for “small revolver” or “large semi-auto.” If the holster isn’t custom to the particular gun, I’d rather not.

  3. I don’t mean to be unkind, but his weight might have contributed to the problem. When he shifted in his seat to buckle up his stomach might have rolled over the butt of the pistol, pushing it down into the holster.

    I would agree, however, that the holster is the main culprit.

    As for safeties, after much consideration I have decided to go all-in for thumb safeties. There are just too many SAO guns out there that I would like to carry, and I don’t want to add to the confusion of the moment by training with both systems.

    • That guy’s a sylph compared to me, so if weight was a problem, my car door would look like an economy-sized cheese grater. For sure, though, that holster has seen better days. Maybe it fit once upon a time, but it doesn’t now. Perhaps the real moral of the story is to replace holsters and other items that become excessively worn.

  4. Or… he could trade that Glock in for an XD/XDm 🙂 By having the “stupid and unnecessary” grip safety, it wouldn’t have discharged. Then again, I don’t know of a single, self-respecting XD/XDm owner that would carry their pistol in a slide holster anyway… do people (other than this guy) actually use these thing? They’re hideous, hold the gun too high, don’t cover the trigger, and they point the gun directly at your leg.

    • Ditto. And they dont protect the gun and sights from getting banged in to stuff. Only thing they are good for is showing off you finely engraved, polished up, BBQ gun.

  5. Thanks for a fascinating post and comments. What I understood is the guy in the story needs a new holster and Ralph needs to lose some weight.

  6. The safest system I’ve found for carry is a single action revolver in a Tom Threepersons holster with a hammer thong. The thong slips off easily with a brush from the thumb, but it won’t come off accidentally. The gun can’t fire unless the hammer is manually cocked, regardless of how hard you pull the trigger, and the hammer can’t be cocked with the thong on it. If you’ve got a Peacemaker or one of its clones, just keep the chamber under the hammer empty, and the possibility of accidental discharge is eliminated.

  7. I see another difference between the holster the guy was using and the new Galco in the other picture. Notice the new one has stitching along the border to reinforce that area. I don’t think you’d have the same problem with the newer design.

  8. Does it really take that much longer to rack the slide and then shoot? I’m just an old fart from Texas but I don’t generally drive around with one in the chamber. Depending upon where I am, I do walk around with one in the chamber but not when I’m driving.

    • Short answer: yes… and you’re assuming that you’ll actually be able to use two hands to rack the slide.

    • Jeff,

      Many shootings take place at bad-breath distance. If you are fending off the gun/knife hand of an assailant, you can’t use that hand to rack the slide.

  9. For almost two years I have been carrying a Taurus 709 “Slim” 9mm in either a Kholster (rarely used now), a HighNoon Split Decision, or DeSantis Tuck This II. These are all tuckable IWB holsters, which are necessary for me because I often have to wear slacks and a dress shirt (tucked in).

    There has been a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about the need and use of an external manual safety, with sentiments about evenly split in both directions.
    My choice is to have the manual safety ON when carried, even though the Taurus 709 has a trigger safety a’ la Glock, it is still striker fired. I have practiced drawing and developed the muscle memory to quickly disengage the manual safety as I draw the pistol, and feel more comfortable with it ON while carried.

    Every morning, and any time I need to re-holster, I check to see that the manual safety is engaged.

    As soon as I can qualify with it, I will be replacing my Taurus 709 as my concealed weapon with a Ruger LC9 which (according to the holster manufacturers) will precisely fit both the HighNoon and DeSantis holsters that I already use most often.

    I recently had a discussion with my youngest daughter, who is an agent for a state police agency, and a sworn peace officer. In her academy class, her firearms instructor warned them to never carry with a manual safety on, as there have been too many police officers killed who in panic situations, never disengaged the manual safeties on their pistols. They were told that the risk of not engaging the safety when needed was higher than the risk of an accidental discharge, so they were emphatically told NOT to engage the safety! In the academy she used her issued S&W M&P .40 (with thumb safety disengaged), which her agency recently replaced with a Glock G22 .40.

    I guess that I am too old fashioned, so I choose to use the safety on my concealed carry weapons.

  10. This reminds me of a story my Dad told me about a guy he used to know. The guy recently got a gun, was keeping in his waist band, had just picked up his girlfriend and was trying to pull it out to show her. Anyway the gun went off and he lost one something he was supposed to have a pair of.

  11. I carry a Sig P220 (DA/SA) and always use a Kydex holster (Galco IWB or Blackhawk Serpa paddle) that completely covers the trigger guard. The combination of a 10-pound trigger pull for the first shot, constant practice with the trigger finger along the frame outside the trigger guard until the sights are on the target, and the rigid holster with no access to the trigger seems to be reasonably safe to me. I agree however that a gun with a manual safety, grip safety, trigger safety, double-action only trigger with 10-pound pull, no round in the chamber, in a fully enclosed holster with a flap is even safer but I am too old to get such a gun into action in a reasonable amount of time. Every gun toter needs to have a gun/holster/training/practice/habit combination that he or she has carefully considered and is comfortable with the safety and minimized risk of unintentional discharge. Please remember that with guns and gun saftey, one size does not fit all. One reason I like to read the gun blogs is to compare the consequences of the bad decisions portrayed and review my habits and procedures for any improvements I should make. I have handled many guns over the last 48 years and and am pleased that I have never had an unintentional discharge and, together with the ability to get rounds on target fairly quickly, I am dedicated to keeping that record for the rest of my life.

  12. A bit more to the left and this could have been a real pain in the @$$ lesson on checking the condition of one’s equipment every so often.

  13. Wait a minute! many times I’ve carried a fully charged glock in front, in my Thunderwear, pointing at my Sir Richard Longfellow! ‘Course, then again, I’m already missing my left saddlebag…… Seriously though, ya shouldn’t be putting a buckle over your carry piece anyway-try crossdraw!

  14. The user of this holster must have observed that it was well-worn and that because of this, the trigger guard area was impinged. This is user error–simple. If a person feels safer with a traditional manual safety, great, but that’s not what the core issue is here. And, I’ll hazard a guess that this user “broke in” the holster using something like mink’s oil because that indention is pretty significant. I don’t know that based on the evidence presented, but that kind of misshaping didn’t “just” happen, this took time and a negligent owner to keep using the holster.

  15. This is Jim From Hidden Holsters. By looking at the title of you article, it looks as though you had a problem with one of my holsters. I make pocket holsters based on proven designes from my mentor. If you could change the title of your article so it does not look as though my holster caused this. I would be very thankfull.
    Jim Surrusco

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