Ouch: Utah Man Shoots Self While Re-Holstering After Gun Show

Gun show organizers (and their insurers) typically insist that show-goers unload their firearms before entering the venue as a safety issue. This is a standard practice.


What they can’t control is what happens in the parking lots outside of their gun shows where show-goers re-arm. Unfortunately, not everyone has decent training or equipment or awareness, and at least two out of the three failed in this instance on Saturday.

Sergeant Dean Carriger, public information officer for Sandy Police, says that around 5 p.m. a 62-year-old man was leaving the expo center when he holstered his .40 caliber handgun. According to Carriger, as the man was holstering the gun it discharged, hitting the man in the thigh.

The man was transported to Intermountain Medical Center with minor injuries, Carriger says. No charges are forthcoming.

Details of the incident are of course sketchy, as they so often are. That said, we know from experience that one of several things happened to create this negligent discharge.

  1. His finger was on the trigger as he tried to reholster.
  2. Some outside object found its way inside the trigger guard and depressed the trigger as he tried to reholster.
  3. The holster itself failed, and depressed the trigger.

The fourth possibility, a spontaneous mechanical failure, is so rare that it isn’t worth addressing.

As a general rule of thumb, the first two causes are the most likely.


Shooters who are poorly trained and/or who are tired/distracted/focused on other thing are those most likely to let their fingers slip inside the trigger guard and discharge a round.

It is this same group of tired/distracted/focused on other thing shooters that generally has clothing foul the mouth of the holster, ranging from toggles and strings on jackets, to the simple bunching of shirt material. I will make the observation that in my experience, folks who eat rather well, who have shirttails that aren’t long enough to stay in or who have extremely long shirt tails that create a puff of fabric right above the holster mouth are most susceptible to this problem. I’ve personally seen a lot more clothing related near-NDs than any other kind, and have have several nerve-racking experiences in classes where the guy to my left has constantly battled with his shirt tail, and only narrowly come out on top.

Ballistc nylon, plastic and hybrid (leather and kydex) holsters, and split-grain leather holsters are those most prone to wear-out or fail, but even quality full-grain leather holsters and full kydex holsters can fail under hard use.

The most common failure I’ve heard of (adn I’ve thankfully never witnessed it personally) is the inside edge of the holster folding over or collapsing, pinching in on the trigger guard and trigger. This is rare, but has caused NDs when the holster was not fouled and the shooter’s finger was properly indexed. Check your holsters from time to time for wear, especially if you use inexpensive holsters made of softer materials more prone to collapse over time.


The best way to avoid a holstering-related ND is to make slow, focused holstering a part of your technique. I know some people who use their thumb to feel the holster mouth to check for obstructions before holstering. Others who use hammer-fired DA/SA or Gadget-equipped Glocks holster with their thumb on the hammer or the Gadget to add an extra layer of safety.

No one ever won a gun fight by holstering faster than the other guy, and no one wants to be “that guy.”

Holster slowly, deliberately, and consciously.

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