Skip to main content

Training Thoughts

Training Thoughts

When are security holsters bad, and why can't we just kick ass?

While models such as Blackhawk's SERPA are great retention holsters, some designs out there have so much security they can be hard to use. Simpler is better.

In last month's column, I discussed a few thoughts that came to my mind after attending the 2008 International Law Enforcement Education and Trainers Association annual conference. A number of additional thoughts on training have come to mind since then, and I wanted to share them with the readers of Handguns.

Is it just me or are we getting carried away with the security duty holster? It seems that a race is underway between the holster companies to see how many levels of security can be placed on a duty holster. Let me make this perfectly clear: The more levels of security placed on a holster does not make the officer safer; it actually endangers him or her.


For any holster to be effective in a fight, it must release the gun to the shooter's hand with a minimal amount of manipulation. Take a moment and place your hand above an imaginary duty holster and acquire a shooting grip. Take note of how the hand goes down on the grip/stocks and then closes in. If the holster's security devices cannot be manipulated/released while the hand performs some version of this action, then the release is too complicated.


Yes, I know that anything can be mastered with training, but the fact is that many officers do not take an interest in their duty holsters and, like it or not, this must be taken into account. Weapon security is the function of an alert officer who has the needed training to protect his or her gun, and this training should meet the task.

Let's face it, time must be spent on weapon security. It will either be spent on learning to draw the gun or on weapon retention techniques. I think a little of both is an excellent idea. But this can only happen if the holster is simple enough that the officer can learn to use it during in-service training.


Speaking of training, when did we start training our officers to use minimal force instead of reasonable force? I am now retired, so I can speak out without concern of retaliation, so I will just say it: I believe a large number of police administrators nationwide have become more concerned with liability and public relations than they have with officer safety.


I have seen a disturbing trend across America where hand-to-hand combat training is being replaced with "control tactics" or "response to resistance" training. A suspect coming at me with a 2x4 or a knife is not resisting, he is attacking, and I should have the skills to kick his ass.

This means that we need to train out officers in real fighting techniques where the hands, elbows, knees and feet are employed in the fight. Police sergeant Chuck Humes reintroduced his dynamic-striking techniques program at the ILEETA Conference and I, for one, was glad to see it.

I have nothing against grappling, joint manipulation or pressure points--they have their place. But they require constant training and re-training, while dynamic striking can be learned and retained very easily. Court cases Garner v. Tennessee and Graham v. Connor hold that police use of force must be reasonable based on the circumstances at hand. These cases said nothing about a minimal level of force.

Grappling a suspect to the ground (like is done on the UFC) and holding them there until they submit might be minimal, but it is also a good way to get hurt. What if the ground is covered with rocks or broken glass? What if your suspect has a friend you did not know about who decides to kick you in the head while you grapple?

I know that I don't want to go to the ground if I don't have to, and neither should you. Ground fighting techniques are great if you end up there, but I would suggest that you get up ASAP. There is even a move afoot to do away with Use of Force Continuums as officers seem to think that escalation through a series of steps is required and not just a guideline.

A few knowledgeable trainers think that Use of Force policy should be established and taught as case law instead of as a colored chart. Maybe, just maybe, its time to reevaluate what we are doing.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball

Pistol Skills Drills - Hardball's Headache

The Hardball's Headache pistol drill is very similar to the El Presidente drill with a higher level of difficulty due to two added twists.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in PikeKahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ Industry

Kahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ

Handguns Online Staff - June 04, 2014

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in Pike

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice Training

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these...

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability.Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you.KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot Rimfire

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should be based on careful consideration and practice.Discovering What Pistol Manipulation Techniques Work for You Training

Discovering What Pistol Manipulation Techniques Work for You

Richard Nance - May 15, 2019

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should...

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these two models – the KelTec PF9 9mm and the Ruger LCP II .22LR – are no exceptions. They are effective for personal protection but only if you put in the time to practice.Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice Training

Compact Carry Pistols Are Effective With Practice

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Small, compact semi-auto pistols are popular with concealed-carry firearm buyers, and these...

An ordinary smartphone with slow-motion capability will reveal flaws in your draw stroke you didn't even know you had.Improve Your Draw Stroke Through Slow-Motion Video Training

Improve Your Draw Stroke Through Slow-Motion Video

Richard Nance - September 17, 2018

An ordinary smartphone with slow-motion capability will reveal flaws in your draw stroke you...

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw.Perfecting the One-Handed Draw Training

Perfecting the One-Handed Draw

Richard Nance - July 02, 2019

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw.

See More Training

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now