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The sheathed: should you look at your case?

Within the combat shooting community, many instructors and operators agree that the sheathing should NEVER be done by looking at its holster. For them this act must be carried out in a tactile way while keeping a sharp look at its environment.

Although this point of view may seem very consistent, experience shows that it is not always appropriate. The reality is indeed infinitely more subtle, and teaching this way of doing things in an almost dogmatic way can sometimes have more disadvantages than advantages.

What is the purpose of the sheathed material?

At the risk of breaking down an open door, we will say that the sheathed is used to free your hands from your handgun, and this in two cases:

  • When there is no immediate threat.

  • When during a tactical situation where you will imperatively need both hands to perform another task (eg climbing a ladder, handcuffing, etc ...)

When the situation is under control...

You just used your weapon. Your opponent is on the ground and neutralized. You have taken into account your environment at "720°" and carried out all the necessary checks during the post-commitment sequence. You have communicated with your teammates and maybe even with your hierarchy. Reinforcements and an ambulance will soon arrive on the scene, so the situation seems to be under control. You will have to/be able to put your weapon back in the holster (which will close this cycle of combat).

In such a case, why not look at your case when sheathing?

Some will say, "You never know..." if the situation changes again and other adversaries arise. Or if the hostile on the ground is not really out of action, etc."

Even if this vision seems at first glance struck at the corner of caution and common sense, it seems to us that if there remains the slightest doubt... It makes more sense for your weapon to stay in your hands! "Only say if you're sure the situation is under control... If there is any doubt, do not sheathe. It doesn't matter how long it takes! »

Let's try to project ourselves into context: you just shot a human being, a situation very different from the training sessions you are used to. In this case, your opponent is no longer a motionless cardboard rectangle that does not bleed, scream, and presents no real threat.

If you shot, it was because your life or the lives of others were in danger. Therefore, at this precise moment you must be in a state of intense stress. You have to deal with complex psychophysiological reactions to reproduce in training: adrenaline still pulses in your veins, ideas jostle in your mind in a confused way, your gestures are imprecise and clumsy, your hands tremble...

Let's add a parameter: your case may be hidden under your jacket (because you work in civilian clothes, in concealed wear) or it is equipped with a retention system (more or less complex) because you work in uniform in visible wear.

Taking into account these different parameters, is it really reasonable to sheathe your weapon "blindly"? Don't you risk an accidental start? (occasioned by a somewhat flexible retention strap, the fold of a garment, the drawstring of a jacket, a slightly tired case whose leather has become too flexible, etc.) ; Or to find yourself with the gun on the sidewalk, because you are feverish and you have "missed" your sheathed?

Some will argue that it is also a question of training and choice of equipment. It is certain that inadequate or insufficient training combined with deficient or poorly designed equipment provides fertile ground for this type of incident (or accident). Is it then reasonable to want to systematize a sheathing without ever looking at its case?

For example, it seems essential to us to ensure when it takes service, while you are in a secure environment, that your weapon is correctly positioned in its case (correct locking of the retention system).

When you need to free your hands during the action...

You find yourself in a tactical context, with potentially a situation that can deteriorate at any time. For example, you must put a work a means of break-in, make a crossing, rescue a wounded teammate, make a transition short weapon to long weapon, etc. In addition to the fact that when you take a crew member may be there to take your fire area and ensure your safety, it will be better to keep your gaze in the direction of the danger zone so as not to lose contact with the situation.

In the same vein, in the case of an arrest for example, you will need both hands to go to the contact, control the individual and perform a handcuffing. In this case you must not lose sight of the individual to be challenged or your environment.

An in-depth study of concealed wearing methods will highlight the fact that for a good number of cases and retention systems it is preferable, even warmly recommended, to look at what is done and sometimes even to use both hands to ensure an effective and safe sheathing.

Some circumstances therefore require knowing how to sheathe your weapon safely without having to look at its holster, even for a brief moment.

In conclusion:

In our approach the words "never and always" do not exist: it is all a question of context. From our point of view it is therefore necessary to work on both options, being aware of the limits of each of them.

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