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Sidearms: Secured in your hand or secured in your holster

In the comments section of a recent article on PoliceOne, a reader advised officers to unsnap their holsters and take off their pistol’s safety when approaching a traffic stop. I disagree with the advice for a number of reasons.

1.)    Unsnapping the holster makes the weapon less secure, and could allow it to be taken away (or lost) more easily in a physical confrontation.
2.)    Studies have shown that officers who train to draw from a fully-secured holster are faster on the draw than when they unsnap a retention device. It appears that when the brain detects something that is missing — as in the case of an undone snap — it slows down the draw process. The change in the motor skills programming — things are out of sequence — causes the brain to hesitate.
3.)    Studies have shown that moving is the best, first response to a sudden firearms assault. Coordinate that with your draw or draw once you are on the move or behind cover and you increase your chance of winning the gunfight.

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