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Cord adjusters: Dangling and dangerous


A task force officer who went to a range for firearms training on a rainy day earlier this year thought his light-weight, wet-weather jacket would keep him dry. He never imagined it would get him shot.

He’d fired several rounds and was reholstering his .40-cal. SIG P229 DAK when the pistol unexpectedly discharged through the bottom of his paddle-style concealment holster.

According to a law enforcement alert sent by a federal agency, “the round entered the outside of the [officer’s] right upper calf and exited the outside of the lower calf,” fortunately without striking any bone or causing serious nerve damage.

As the officer had moved the gun toward the holster, a plastic cylindrical draw-cord adjuster attached to his jacket got caught inside the trigger guard and lodged against the front of the trigger. Pressure from shoving the gun into the holster forced the cord adjuster to depress the trigger and the gun to fire.

You probably train to keep your eyes on the threat when holstering, a good protective measure. But as the federal alert advises, if you’re using your support hand to clear the holster of clothing, be sure that draw cord adjusters, which are common to many jackets, are free of the trigger guard. Or simply cut the adjuster off on your gun side to reduce the risk.

And, of course, make sure your support hand is clear of the muzzle when it’s moving clothing.

Note: Our thanks to Larry Hahn, retired sergeant from the Waterloo (IA) PD, and Tom Conley, president of the Conley Group, Inc., in Des Moines, for alerting us to this incident.

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