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Its Not Your Gear, Its Your Training

Green ear muffsGreen ear muffsI recently read two articles that each targeted a specific piece of equipment stating that they were unsafe for use. The first article spoke specifically about the Blackhawk Serpa holster and the second about handgun mounted lights. Both articles which were totally unrelated to each other point to the fact that both the holster and the gun mounted light encouraged accidental discharges and thus should not be used. Having extensive experience with both this particular holster and with handgun mounted lights, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with the conclusions of both the articles authors. (I will say, however, if you don’t feel safe using a particular piece of gear, then don’t use it. I only speak for myself based on my personal experience.)

I will be doing an article soon to address some of the other issues that are alleged to accompany the Serpa holster, but for now I will stick to the issue of accidental discharges. Let me first explain how the retention system on this holster is disabled for those not familiar with it. The Blackhawk Serpa has a button on the side that is activated with the index finger to release the holsters retention mechanism allows the firearm to be removed. It is the depressing of this button with the index finger, the very same finger used to pull the trigger that is the source of concern for those who don’t like this holster.

I have used the Serpa holster for open carry while on the job and have trained, and trained with hundreds of other using this holster with no issues what so ever over the last 5 year. If activated properly with an extended and ridged index finger, it is impossible for the finger to accidentally engage the trigger causing an accidental discharge. It simply cannot happen. A square peg won’t fit into a round hole.

As for the gun light, the issues some have appear to arise because some have been trained to engage the gun light with the same index finger used to manipulate the trigger. In a high stress situation, it is possible to overdo it with the index finger and inadvertently hit the trigger. It is also possible during this same kind of high stress situation to completely miss the gun lights activation button hitting the trigger inadvertently instead. In both instances, an accidental discharge is possible.

In the case of the gun light, manipulating the gun lights on / off button with ones trigger finger is bad technique and should not be taught. The proper way to activate the light is with the thumb of the support hand making accidental trigger manipulation an almost impossibility.

In both the holster and gun light scenario, poor technique encouraged by poor training was the real cause of the increased incidents of accidental discharges, not bad equipment.

I harken back to the early days of the Glock pistol when its distractors believed that the lack of an external safety and the lite trigger pull was the reason for so many perceived AD’s. It had nothing to do the either, rather, it was caused by the trigger finger being on the trigger when it wasn’t supposed to be. Again, poor technique and or training.

As in so many other areas in life, we always look to blame the “object” when bad things go wrong instead of the person in control of the “object.” It wasn’t the SUV that ran over the pedestrian in the crosswalk, it was the person driving the SUV, and it is the gun that kills, it’s the person pulling the trigger. But the SUV and the gun are always to blame when bad things happen.

As a responsible gun owner, be it a private citizen, law enforcement officer, security guard or member of the military, it is on you to receive proper training in the safe handling of firearms and to practice said training always. It is also incumbent upon you to point out an unsafe condition when you see it. Guns do not shoot themselves; it is the person behind the gun who initiates the firing sequence. It time that this fact is accepted. Absolutely there is bad gear out there, but not every bad thing that happens is a result of bad gear. Sometimes when things go wrong, the answer to how and why can be found in the mirror.

Don’t just survive, thrive!


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.