On November 17, 2012 an e-mail from the folks at Cheaper Than Dirt arrived in my in-box, bearing, among other stories, a “revolutionary” method of holstering striker fired pistols (mostly Glocks, obviously) called the “Babineaux Method of Holstering.” I include a screen shot of the original…
because Cheaper Than Dirt has apparently thought better of the matter, and only four days hence, removed it from public access, as this screen shot of my attempt to retrieve the story today demonstrates:
Briefly, the basic idea behind the “Babineaux Method” seems to be that when reholstering—and this seems focused on inside the waistband holsters, particularly those positioned on the belt in such a way that the slightest mistake can produce a retroactive circumcision—one places the index finger inside the trigger guard, behind the trigger, in essence making it much more difficult for the trigger to be pulled if it somehow hangs up on the holster. The photos accompanying the original article illustrate a common inside the waistband holster with a belt clip.
Col. Jeff Cooper, for all the faults he may have had—he was a human being, after all—often came up with a good turn of a phrase, including calling double action semiautomatic pistols “an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.” So it is with this “method.” In the brief analysis that follows, I’ll confine my commentary to Glock handguns, but it applies to all striker fired pistols.
A striker fired pistol, for those not familiar with the technology, is a handgun designed without an external or internal hammer, which prior to the invention of strikers, was the primary method of causing a pistol to go bang. Pulling the trigger, one way or another, caused a large hammer to fall, striking the firing pin and driving it into the primer of a cartridge. A striker is essentially a large, spring loaded firing pin completely enclosed in the slide of the pistol. The primary advantages of this design are reduced lock time (the amount of time between the release of the trigger and the impact on the primer, measured in minute fractions of a second), greater mechanical simplicity and reduction of the number of parts, and the production of a shorter, lighter trigger pull of the kind common in, and much copied from, Glocks.
Here’s why this “method” is such a bad idea even Cheaper Than Dirt—I assume they’ve had an earful about this one—has apparently removed it from public view:
Important Safety Tip: If the finger doesn’t enter the trigger guard, the gun can’t go bang. This is one of the absolutes of gun safety. The trigger finger must never enter the trigger guard or touch the trigger in any way until milliseconds before one is ready to press the trigger and fire the weapon. Shooters are conditioned to put their trigger finger on the trigger, not behind it. Trying to condition oneself for two modes of trigger guard manipulation is a recipe for disaster. Violating this absolute is absolutely likely to cause an unintentional discharge, not only of the firearm, but of various bodily fluids.
If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It: Some products are designed correctly from the start and everyone else struggles to catch up. This is true of much of Apple’s output, and certainly of Glock’s. Glock’s trigger guard is brilliantly designed. It is substantially wider than the actual trigger mechanism, and is shaped in such a way that any hang up on a holster or clothing will occur on the front of the trigger guard rather than the trigger, allowing an aware shooter to correct the problem before things get exciting. In addition, the face of the trigger features a small, spring-loaded lever which must itself be depressed and continuously held down. If it is not, the trigger will not move and the weapon cannot fire. The point is simple: one has to really work at it to accidently fire a Glock, particularly when holstering.
The Joys of Holster Maintenance and Manipulation: Anyone carrying a holster such that an accidental engagement of the trigger is not only possible, but likely during the mere act of holstering is daily providing evidence that Darwin was right: the dumber members of a given species shoot off their means of reproduction, thereby removing those defective genes from the gene pool. Natural selection is unforgiving.
Any such holster not only should never be carried, it surely should not be carried in such a way that a mistake can shoot off what, for most men, is a favorite—even cherished–body part. Buy a competent holster. Fobus, for example, markets an inexpensive polymer holster that does not collapse, and which makes an unintentional discharge virtually impossible. I say “virtually impossible,” because as Einstein said (and I paraphrase), genius has its limits; stupidity doesn’t. Other holster makers produce similar and equally safe products.
Keep It Simple Stupid: As I’ve already noted, I would never carry a handgun in such a way that the muzzle was mere inches from one of my favorite body parts. Not only would I find such carry uncomfortable, the mere thought is as effective as a cold shower in dampening the libido. But if one absolutely must prove (and continually threaten) one’s manhood in this manner—or if one harbors a secret desire to be a metrosexual but lacks the will to act affirmatively–and if one insists on carrying a plainly defective and dangerous holster, use the belt clip and remove the holster from the body, safely insert the handgun without sticking the trigger finger in the trigger guard, and then reposition the handgun—safely enclosed in the defective holster—back in it’s manhood-threatening position.
Slow/Medium/Fast: In drawing the Katana (Japanese sword), one grasps the weapon in the proper manner, and begins to withdraw the blade from the saya (scabbard) slowly, then with medium speed, then as the very tip of the blade clears the mouth of the saya, fast. To do otherwise is inherently dangerous as such weapons are almost unimaginably sharp and the slightest error will not only cut through the saya, but the left hand of the swordsman. Wounding oneself is generally not considered a good way to begin a duel.
Choosing an inside the waistband holster in the first place is a seriously limiting factor on the potential speed of the draw. Such holsters are simply not nearly as fast as other types. For further information, visit installment seven of my series on the rationale for gun ownership.
Anyone carrying such a holster must accept its limitations as well as its advantages. While great for concealment, particularly in hotter climates, such holsters are inherently slow on the draw and provide enhanced possibilities of unintentional discharge during drawing and holstering, which makes the slow/medium/fast model essential. Enhanced situational awareness will help to avoid the necessity for a fast, panicky drawing motion.
That said, what is the necessity for a fast and hasty holstering of the handgun? I can’t think of any situation that would require this, but can think of a plethora of pitfalls. There is no reason—none at all—that one cannot holster their handgun with caution sufficient to avoid any sort of unintentional discharge. What possible set of circumstances would deny one the extra few seconds necessary to do it correctly and safely, even, as I’ve suggested, removing the holster, inserting the handgun, and repositioning both with the trigger safely covered?
FINAL THOUGHTS: Categorize this one with all the ideas that sounded pretty good at the time, but on careful reflection turned out to be pretty dumb. The basic rules of safe gun handling never change. The necessity of keeping the finger out of the trigger guard cannot be over-stated. Carrying a safe and effective holster and learning how to use it properly—in the draw and holstering—is also a must.