For years in classes I have warned people of the danger created by plastic draw cord adjusters found in many wind jackets, vests, and similar outer wear. They have an unnerving habit of finding their way into trigger guards while someone is trying to holster, and the result is often an accidental discharge without the shooter’s finger ever touching the trigger.
A couple years ago, I had a student holster his loaded 1911 with one of these adjusters sticking through his trigger guard and out the holster. It was only because his safety was on that he didn’t shoot himself. Students roll their eyes when I tell them to take a knife to their favorite windbreaker or vest… it will never happen to them, right?
In June of this year, a law enforcement officer working with a federal task force wasn’t so lucky. The adjuster got stuck inside the trigger guard as he was holstering his SIG P229 DAK in a SERPA holster (not that this particular accident had anything to do with the SERPA). The arrangement was recreated by the range staff and shown in the photo at right. If you look carefully, you can see the adjuster stuck in front of the trigger, pressing it backwards.
The shooter took a round of 180gr Federal HST to his calf. You can see a photo of the wound by clicking this link. It’s not particularly gory but it’s a real gunshot wound so browse at your own risk.
Luckily, the officer is expected to make a full recovery.
Incidents like these are exactly why I’m an advocate of putting the shooting hand thumb over the hammer while holstering DA/SA, DAO, and similar hammer-fired guns that aren’t using a manual safety. Not only will you feel it if the hammer starts to move, but if you’re really pushing down with the thumb you will usually be exerting enough force to prevent the gun from firing even if something does get inside the trigger guard. A couple years back while teaching a class in Los Alamos, NM, I actually bent the trigger bar on my backup HK45 while demonstrating this… the steel part deformed under the pressure I was exerting on the trigger but the hammer still never cocked and dropped.
If you wear a garment that has these evil little plastic trigger-pullers on them, ask yourself if you’ve ever tightened them down while carrying concealed. The answer is no, because no one wants a tighter garment at the waistline while CCW’ing. Cut those things off. Do it now.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG
(thanks to KJ for the photos and details)