Reader RW writes:
We all do it. Buy a new holster — something more comfortable, concealable, attractive, or potentially faster. We try it out a few times, dry fire a little, and then head out to a competition or for a Wally-walk. How much practice is enough? It’s an important question that you may end up betting your life on. How long does it really take to learn a new holster? . . .
A study published in The Journal of Law Enforcement last year explored this question by analyzing 10 officers using unfamiliar holsters in a timed shooting trial. “Participants completed anywhere from 40 and 78 dry-fire cycles,” before self reporting mastery of the new holster and proceeding with timed trials in which draw-live fire-reholster was timed and measured.
Researchers were cautious about drawing conclusions from a small sample, but reported up to a half second additional delay when switching holsters as well as a reduction in accuracy.
In addition to noting that “dry-firing may not have been similar enough to firing live rounds to be an adequate practice behavior for the field” they also speculate that stress could cause “older automatic behavior to reemerge” further delaying the deployment of a firearm and endangering an officer in a deadly-force situation with a new holster. “In other words, it will likely take several practice sessions before the behaviors associated with the new holster become strong enough to overshadow the behaviors associated with the older holster.”
Make sense? Will that change how long you’ll “practice” with a new holster before carrying with it regularly?