Top Menu

Everyday Tactical: Keeping Your Hands Free

keep gun hand free

Sometimes the simplest things we do can have a great payoff in the long run. I would like to pass one tip to all of you responsible gun carrying citizens. In a way this concept was ingrained in my mind when I was in Marine Corps Bootcamp. We were trained that, while in uniform, we were not to carry anything in our right hand. This is because your right hand should be free to render the appropriate hand salute to an officer. Once again, this concept was burned into my subconscious when attending the San Diego Regional Police Academy, except this time the reason for keeping your hands free was different. During training at the police academy, recruits were drilled on not carrying things in their strong hand/primary hand. This may seem like an insignificant lesson. However, when it comes to a deadly force incident, you will already be in a reactionary mode. In order to use deadly force, your mind and body must first observe a potential threat and evaluate if the threat justifies the use of deadly force. Next, observe the surroundings, weigh the likelihood of inflicting injury onto innocent bystanders and identify the terrain for obstacles. You will then draw your firearm, fire shots into the threat without missing, assess the effectiveness of your shots and determine when the threat no longer justifies the use of deadly force. Finally, reassess for any other threats, bystanders’ or personal injuries, and remain engaged in case the threat presents itself again, requiring deadly force. All this is happening in real time and all at once. Anything you can do to minimize the tasks you must perform is beneficial and frees up your mind to focus on the other critical calculations and decisions that are processing through your brain at an unbelievably fast rate.

One simple thing you can do is keep your gun hand free. When shopping, if possible carry your bags in your off hand. If walking to the car with your keys in your hand, carry them in your off hand. Obviously there are times, both hands are needed for a task. Nevertheless, try to free up the gun hand as often as you can. Enlist the help of your significant other or friend to “call you out” when they see you with something in your gun hand. You would be amazed at how many times you have something occupying your gun hand that would slow down the reaction time necessary to draw your firearm with a proper grip. Remember that the fanciest gun and all the training in the world do not mean a thing if you cannot get to your firearm in time. Stay safe and keep training.

, ,

4 Responses to Everyday Tactical: Keeping Your Hands Free

  1. Ron W October 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    Sounds like good advice. Won’t work well for me though as I need a cane in my left hand to walk more than a few steps. So when I have anything to carry my only option is to use my right, dominate, hand. I just have to be ready to drop anything I might be carrying if need of my ccw is need.

    • Matthew May 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Ron,
      Thank you for responding. I am happy you haven’t let the fact that you use a cane dissuade you from carrying and training with your firearm. The fact that you have thought about and trained the response of dropping your cane and transitioning to your firearm is building good muscle memory. Adapt and overcome. Thanks again and Stay safe Sir!

  2. greg shafer October 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    I can tell you from police training, range was twice a year, about 300 rounds a day. One round from stationary positions , one round was moving from one spot to another,r taking cover, reloading, standing, kneeling and from the ground. During each round we where on the clock, inducing stress, to get all your rounds off. You wore your duty holster, this helps with muscle memory. When under stress you will do what you were trained, without a thought. So if you should use your conceal holster, your purse or however you carry when at the range. Every officer tries to think of every situation a shooting incident would occur. While that has some pluses, it always happens different then you expected and much faster. I was chasing a suspect on foot, back then I did a lot of running, most suspect are tired after the first minute. We had jumped fences went through back yards with clothes lines, and when we got back out to the street, I saw a large grassy area ahead and a street light right over it. I moved closer getting ready to tackle him, then he took a Buck knife off his belt, and I heard it click open, at this point I was well within his arm reach, that’s too close. As I pulled up to get out of reach, I slipped and went to one knee, he was now turned facing and moving towards me with the knife. With out a thought I drew my weapon and fired one shot, that dropped the suspect to his knees. I told him, put the knife down or I would shoot him again, and he threw the knife out onto the street. I told him to get on the ground and he laid down. I pulled out my radio and reported a shooting at that location and the suspect was down, I needed, an Ambulance and a Supervisor there. It took about one minute for the first 2 backup cars to arrive. That one minute seemed much longer. The suspect was in a stolen car, that had 2 stolen guns and a big bag of pills. The suspect was on parole, and decided he was not going back to prison, he was right, he died during surgery. Be careful out there. You just never know when……..

    • Matthew May 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Greg,
      Thanks for sharing. the world is a dangerous and unpredictable place. Train as much as we can and rely on our instincts and training. Stay safe out there!

Leave a Reply