Tactics and techniques taught by self-defense shooting instructors vary greatly. One such topic that divides instructors is the topic of re-holstering, or better yet how and when to re-holster. My opinion on re-holstering is different than what many have been teaching for quite some time. Agree or not, here is my take on re-holstering and the mindset that you should have when doing it.
I have heard many instructors tell their students this:
You have to be able to re-holster your firearm without looking down at your holster.
You can't look down while re-holstering so you can keep your eyes on the threat.
There are several serious problems I have with this school of thought and training. Firstly, Re-holstering and drawing the firearm under stress are arguably two times you would be most susceptible to a negligent discharge. We know drawing the firearm must be done with speed, and we train this process over and over so that it becomes automatic. But re-holstering, what is the urgency to put the gun back into the holster? As a civilian concealed carrier, your likely to draw your firearm as a last resort, and besides your hands, you are likely not carrying a lesser force option that you would transition to. This is different from a law enforcement officer who may draw a firearm during a high-risk vehicle stop and then transition to a lesser force option like a taser or baton. Secondly, because re-holstering as a concealed carrier is often times done with an inside the waistband holster and under clothing, this is more difficult to do, compared to an outside the waistband holster that is not covered with an over-garment. Why would we NOT want to look at the holster and ensure no clothing etc. get bunched in the holster or trigger guard? Some answer this question by saying, you can't look down because you have to keep your eye on the threat. This logic makes no sense to me. Why are we training ourselves to re-holster our firearm when we are in proximity to such an eminent threat that we can't even look away? The fact is, you should NOT be holstering your firearm if there is still a threat anywhere around you. Once the threat has been completely eliminated (and this doesn't have to be from shots being fired) then you can re-holster and take all the time you need to do it safely. This may include…looking down at your holster.
No doubt after hours of practicing your draw, you will be able to re-holster in hard holsters without looking. This will come from your hand knowing where it went to draw the firearm and know where it needs to go to return it to the holster. I am not ashamed to say I can re-holster with kydex holsters easily without looking, however, most soft holsters you simply cannot re-holster without using two hands because the holster collapses once the gun is removed. I am also not ashamed to say when I have a loaded firearm, I look at the holster as I re-holster, or I put the gun in the holster and then put it on my body. I haven't had a reason to rush my re-holstering as a civilian concealed carrier.
Whichever school of thought you follow when it comes to re-holstering, I always say, train hard and stay safe.