Note: I recieved this email from Mrs. Mom whose husband had recieved it from a LEO friend. I have not verified it as true, but it does logically make sense.
“What the hell was that?!?” she said. It took me a half a second to realize that my gun had just gone off…on my hip…in its holster. My wife and I had just finished breakfast at our favorite café and got into the car.
Me being the passenger, I rotated my torso to the left to fasten my seatbelt like I always do. When I straightened again, my Glock 19 discharged, blowing a 9mm hole through my pants, under-wear, the leather seat and bottom of the car’s door frame.
The bullet nicked my hip, but the wound is nothing a bandage couldn’t cover. So what went wrong? Guns never go “Bang” all by themselves.
After ensuring I wasn’t hemorrhaging profusely and didn’t have to make a dash for the hospital, I stayed seated in the car as my wife came around to my door and opened it. I undid my belt and slid the Galco JAK202 Slide Belt Holster, with the gun still in it, off my belt. Why it went off was immediately apparent.
The trusty, comfortable, leather holster I had been using for a year and two weeks had done what a baseball glove does after lots of use; It got soft. This particular holster carries the pistol outside the waistband, but inside the belt. The belt slides through slots in the outer side of the holster.
The problem stemmed from the leather on the inner side of the holster getting soft. A crease formed, which eventually was large enough to extend beyond the trigger. Manipulate the gun in just the wrong manner and this crease is no different than a finger on the trigger.
I can’t say I didn’t know the crease had been formed in the holster. I trained myself to be sure that when holstering, to make sure the gun was fully in the holster, with the trigger protected. On this day, did I forget to do that when I holstered up? Did the leather finally get so soft that a combination of body movements and interference by the cushy leather seat move the Glock enough to create a situation where the trigger was engaged by the holster?
I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, but I’ll humbly admit to the former as the likely culprit.
However, if it was the latter, then those of you who use this type of holster need to be aware of its limitations and the possibility of experiencing what I did.
It might have been a very different story had the incident happened while we were dining. That bullet ricocheting off the concrete floor could have done untold damage and just as easily killed somebody. Fortunately nobody got hurt and damage to the car was minimal. It will be an interesting conversation with the insurance company to see if they’ll cover the repairs.
Holstering your gun can be just as important as drawing it. Make sure you pay attention when doing so. If your leather is getting soft and worn, be sure that it won’t interfere with your trigger or just replace it.
The back of the slide and/or grip was being pushed downward into the leather holster…or the holster was being pushed upward with some force. My guess is the firearm was being pushed and the fold in the holster acted as a finger and depressed the Glock trigger safety.
This truly brings home the importance of taking care of your equipment and ensuring it’s in proper working order. Hopefully you can learn from my situation and prevent an accident like this from happening to you.
Lt. Michael R. Berry
Delaware State Police
Firearms Training Unit