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Why an exposed trigger in a holster?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by Jim PHL, Mar 8, 2014.

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  1. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL Member

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    I was just admiring huntershooter's thread in the Handguns: Auto's forum and admiring his engraved 1911 and beautiful new holster. Rather than hi-jack his thread I thought I'd start a new one here. The holster in his thread is completely cut-away from the gun's trigger guard. I happen to have an older OWB holster that I received some years ago when it came packed along with a used revolver I bought. Nowhere near as fancy as huntershooter's (or a lot of others I've seen for that matter) but also has the trigger guard of the gun completely exposed. Can someone explain the reasoning behind this feature? Against this feature I guess there is the obvious safety issue; a completely exposed trigger guard obviously completely exposes the trigger, but also just the general protection of the gun; covering the trigger guard offers the gun that much more protection from the elements. I guess the BBQ rig in that thread might be made to emulate a speed-draw rig if that has something to do with it but I would still think it always would make more sense to have the trigger guard covered. You don't need to access the trigger until the muzzle clears leather anyway and the covered trigger guard would clear the top of the holster before the muzzle does. (And that holster of mine that is cut this way is certainly no high-speed rig, it's just a general duty holster someone would likely carry a revolver around their farm in or hiking trails or woods.)
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That's just they way they made them, pretty much until the Glock & Glock leg came on the scene.

    There was no preaching about keeping your finger along side the slide until you were ready to shoot.

    Old timers wanted to come out of the holster with all fingers where they belonged to shoot.

    The holster shown above is a historic design made famous by those no less safe then the Texas Rangers.
    But they didn't carry Glocks or other guns with no safety's back then.

    http://www.epsaddlery.com/pc-87-12-1930-austin-holster.aspx

    http://www.epsaddlery.com/pc-97-12-5-patton-holster.aspx

    rc
     
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    On revolvers it isn't as necessary to cover the trigger and trigger guard as it is on some of today's pistols - especially those that have a safety lever mounted in the trigger fingerpiece.

    Going back to the 19th century most holsters did cover the trigger guard, as well as everything else. The idea was to protect ones's revolver from the elements when men rode horses.

    Later it was noticed that when carrying concealed one could get a full grip on the gun when the leather was cut away, and the whole rig was easier to hide if the leather was reduced to absolute minimum.

    The whole idea got a boost during the 1940's onward when the FBI adopted holsters with exposed trigger guards.

    Covering up the trigger guard didn't come back into the picture until Jeff Cooper proposed and pushed the idea.

    Personally when carrying a revolver I prefer the open trigger guard style, and I don't have bullet wounds to show because of it.

    Heck!! Some of us went so far as cutting away the whole front of the trigger guard. :what:
     
  4. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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  5. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Historically this style of holster originated with SA and then later DA revolvers. In a SA revolver if the hammers down, your can do pull ups on the trigger and it wont go off. The gradual transition to DA revolvers saw lots of folks sticking with a type of holster that looked similar to what they were used to regardless of whether it met their needs. Additionally with a safety strap around the hammer there was no chance of an AD unless the gun was drawn.

    Lastly the SA automatic (the 1911 usually) was normally carried hammer down possibly with an empty chamber (that's what the US Army usually required). Again no danger of the weapon discharging in this condition.

    For more info I recommend Bill Jordans wonderful book "No Second Place Winner," Chic Gaylords "Handgunners Guide" (there's a reprint out on Amazon with a soft cover so no need to spend a lot for an original printing), John Bianchi "Blue steel and gun leather," and James Mason "Combat Handgun Shooting" (one hardcover copy on amazon for $5 currently). All have good historical info on holsters and shooting techniques.

    -Jenrick
     
  6. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    One of the dangers I've seen in covered trigger guards is that the holster is boned around the guard very closely. Grasping your gun butt with the trigger extended alongside the frame can, and does, cause the leather to bind and sort of lock the gun in place, as som slight amount of pressure is placed against the leather.

    For this reason I've always liked the old Tom Threepersons holsters.

    Bob Wright
     
  7. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    A lot of things have changed over the years. If you remember "Coopers 4 Rules" didn't even exist 100 years ago. Just IMHO those, and eliminating exposed triggers in holsters - are improvements in gun handling discipline we've made over the years.

    With a gun like the 1911 (unlike the Glock) it won't go off with the safety applied (and the grip safely unactivated), but it still encourages a dangerous practice of placing your finger inside the trigger guard during the draw. If you're drawing the 1911 common practice is the flick the safety off (and the grip safety will be depressed) and at that point the gun has a shorter, lighter trigger than a Glock.

    As a matter of fact, the only ND I've ever witnessed I was RO'ing a USPSA match and it was a guy with a 1911 during the draw. Buzzer went off and as he was drawing he put a bullet in the ground about a foot in front of him - finger in the trigger guard while drawing. Thankfully he had at least cleared the holster so there were no injuries.
     
  8. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    In a word, NO. You pull the trigger when you intend to fire. You disengage the thumb safety when on target before you pull the trigger, not during the draw. Until the thumb safety is disengaged, it doesn't matter what you do with the trigger or your trigger finger.

    "But you have to remember to disengage the safety and you might forget."

    Not if you train with your weapon, and especially not if you tain with one design. I don't own a Glock or any gun with a trigger mounted "safety". I don't forget because I don't have to remember. My thumb wipes off the thumb safety before firing, even on my revolvers (which don't have thrimb safeties).

    With a 1911, the trigger is blocked by the grip safety and the sear is blocked by the thumb safety. Neither of which can be disengaged by pressure on the trigger. In addition, when holstered and strapped, the hammer is blocked by the strap. So covering the trigger accomplishes nothing. Though certainly not recommended practice, you could hang the entire rig as pictured on a nail through the trigger guard without any chance of an incident.

    A Glock or other firearm with a similar "safe trigger" design, in a similar rig would be completely unsafe. With a Glock especially, the only mechanical safety is on the trigger, which means there is no safety at all when the gun is holstered except what can be provided by covering or blocking access to the trigger.

    The Mantra of Glock shooters is "My trigger finger is my safety" My mantra is "My thumb is my safety". In either case, safety must be a habit. It's just different habits.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  9. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I have to say that you're simply practicing a different set of habits than most shooters I know.

    I own and shoot a 1911 myself, and know plenty of others who do as well, and the practice for every single person I know is to disengage the safety on the draw, while keeping the trigger finger along side the frame until on target and then move your trigger finger to the trigger and engage the targets. As you move about the finger comes back off the trigger (safety still off) and then it goes back when you reengage more targets. The safety is never reapplied - typically in competition at all (because the hammer is dropped on an empty chamber), but in real life it would not be reapplied until holstering a hot weapon again.

    An holster with the trigger guard covered is simply a nice reminder to keep your finger out of there until you're ready to shoot.
     
  10. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    I've only been doing it for 40+ years. Apparently the shooters you know never developed safe habits. :uhoh: During competition, while moving, yes, safety is off and finger is off the trigger and muzzle generally follows the eyes while scanning for targets and stays on target once located

    The introduction of Glocks into competitions has brought about rules changes that makes it almost a requirement that all shooters develop habits that are appropriate for Glocks. Keeping the finger out of the trigger guard makes learning proper thumb safety habits less critical.

    But the question here is the exposed trigger holster, and while moving in competiton as described, the holster is not an issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Sorry but this is pure hogwash. Safe handling practices should dictate you keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire, not a holster.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The arguments here are much like the one that surrounds Smith & Wesson’s internal lock. Apparently some like it, and a much larger number apparently aren’t concerned. That leaves some mostly senior citizens (such as the Old Fuff) who having no use for it, so they go out and buy older guns that don’t have it. The bottom line is that everyone should be happy, because whatever you want is available one way or another, so you can obtain whatever floats your boat.

    I usually prefer exposed trigger guards on holsters made to hold revolvers. Pistols are another matter. If I want a holster for a particular gun I can buy whatever I like, although it’s more likely I’ll stitch up a rig myself. It’s not all that hard to do, and I doubt that anyone will be surprised to learn that when I’m finished it will fit my perspectives perfectly. :D ;)

    Others can do the same, and if you feel uneasy about exposed trigger guards simply buy or make a holster that meets your requirements.

    Now I ask…. Just why are we having this debate?
     
  13. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    That one's easy. I got nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon. :D
     
  14. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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    The simplest explanation is that when that style of holster was in vogue there was far less concern and emphasis for safety in our culture. A statement that applies to many procedures and pieces of equipment of the past. When that holster was in vogue, safety doesn't sell was the mantra of automobile makers, and that is just one example on a nearly endless list. Narrowing it down to firearms, just look at the many designs of the past that would never be considered well designed for safe use. The decline in use of the exposed trigger holster has nothing to do with Glocks or "Glock Leg". There was plenty of "Peacemaker Leg", "S&W Model 10 Leg", and "Colt Government Model .45 ACP Leg" before Gaston even knew which end the bullet came out. Just look at some vintage IPSC holsters from the 1970s and you will notice the non-exposed triggers.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Be glad that rain isn't white, because if it were you would have something too do... :evil:

    And if nothing else, you could be practicing making holsters. Save a lot of money that way. ;)
     
  16. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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  17. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    But first I'd have to kill a cow, or find a stray kydex...
     
  18. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    :scrutiny: I don't have any doubts about it, but that doesn't invalidate my methods. The way I see it, when you say, "keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire," You are really saying, Keep the firearm in safe condition until ready to fire."

    The simple fact is, with a 1911, there are several stages of keeping the firearm in safe condition and trigger finger discipline is just part of the process. With a Glock, it is not a part of the process, it is the process.
     
  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I never found that to be a problem, but one rancher did get a bit upset... :what: :evil:
     
  20. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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    Your simple fact is, in fact, a fallacy. The moment a finger is placed on the trigger your 1911 can no longer be considered to be in a “safe condition” regardless of how many of “several stages of keeping the firearm in safe condition” have yet to be passed. If you have the thumb-safety engaged, but your finger is on the trigger, your 1911 can no longer be considered to be “in a safe condition”. Keeping your finger off the trigger and the muzzle pointed in a safe direction is the only time a 1911 is “in safe condition”. So what is the safer process for keeping a firearm “in safe condition"? One where the shooter need only to divide the focus of his attention to safety on two sub-processes: muzzle in a safe direction and finger off the trigger until ready to fire, or one where the shooter needs to divide the focus of his attention to safety on the previously mentioned two sub-processes and additional sub-processes? This is especially important because those additional sub-processes have in the past, present, and probably will in the future will result in shooter complacency and assumption resulting in an ND. Then there is the other safety aspect they compromise; they can function when not intended thereby preventing firing when it is essential to do so for the safety of the shooter. Since the intensity of human mental attention on one point of focus cannot be divided between multiple points of focus and still maintain the same level of intensity, your additional “several stages of keeping the firearm in a safe condition” are a hinderance not a benefit to safety. Take the thumb-safety off a 1911 equipped with a firing pin block safety and it is just as mechanically safe, and if your finger is off the trigger and the muzzle pointed in a safe direction it is in a “safe condition”. The thumb-safety is there because someone demanded it not because it is necessary on a 1911 with a firing pin blocking safety.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  21. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Now you are just being ridiculous. At least, I hope you aren't trying to be serious.
     
  22. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    That's somewhat true. The 1911 doesn't need a grip safety or a thumb safety to be almost as safe as a Glock It only needs a firing pin block of some kind. The SA trigger might make it little less safe though in that configuration but finger (and anything else) off the trigger covers that as well a possible. But someone wanted to be safer than that so it does have a grip safety and a thumb safety.

    I'm about to find out how safe that might be. I injured my strong hand thumb last year and it is still difficult to operate a thumb safety, especially on my BHP so I'm going to have to do something different. I still dislike DA and striker fired pistols, so I am going to look at the new Remington R51. That will change the mantra because once the gun is firmly in hand, the trigger finger is the only safety.
     
  23. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Many years ago, I did a fair amount of fast draw with a Model 19 (actually a Combat Magnum, pre-Model 19). Somewhere, I have an old film strip showing my draw out of a Bucheimer Federal Man holster. I drew with my finger on the trigger, and the film shows the hammer half way back with the gun at about a 45 degree angle coming up on the target. The gun fires as it comes level with the target, but the DA pull started almost before the gun cleared the holster.

    A modern range officer would have three heart attacks just watching that!!!

    Jim

    P.S. Yes, I still have all my toes and nothing else is missing that I know of.

    JK
     
  24. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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    I'm being ridiculous?! Next time you are with a friend and have your 1911 in hand, engage the thumb-safety and point the muzzle at your friend. Please post to THR your friend's reaction to your explanation that your pistol was "in safe condition". No, wait, please don't point your 1911 at your friend. I don't want to be partially responsible for you killing your friend or you getting shot, beaten, arrested, or both of us being parties in a lawsuit, etc. Just ask your friend what his reaction would be to your explanation that your pistol was "in safe condition", then post to THR what it was.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  25. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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    I am sincerely sorry to hear about your injury. I suspect even when you pick-up the R51 you will still be attempting to wipe the safety off. I hope you will really concentrate on keeping your finger off the trigger until time to shoot. I fear your years of relying on a manual safety may make you prone to an ND until you recondition yourself. What I really fear is your going back to the 1911 after an extended period of using the R51 and having an even greater chance of an ND. Good luck and may you make a full and speedy recovery.
     
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