PSA: Train for Your Carry Style

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Appendix carry is a great way to carry a firearm comfortably, conceal it easily, and access it quickly when needed. However, it does come with its inherent risks, namely that re-holstering is far more critical due to where the muzzle is pointing.

Unfortunately, 22-year-old Timothy Phonisay learned this the hard way and has passed due to complications resulting from a gunshot wound to his groin, likely from appendix-style carry.

Always train for your daily carry method, including forcing muscle memory to best-safety practices. And always remember to keep your booger-hook off the dang trigger and the weapon on safe until presented on a target.

Story from Fox 6 in Milwaukee:

MILWAUKEE — A 22-year-old Milwaukee man died during surgery at Froedtert Hospital after he shot himself in the thigh Friday morning, August 21st.

Timothy Phonisay was pronounced dead around 1 a.m. Officials say he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh in his home near 44th and Keefe.

According to the Medical Examiner’s report,  Phonisay was apparently posing with a handgun and when he went to holster it, a round was fired and entered his right groin area.

Phonisay sustained two penetrating wounds to the right thigh. There was no bullet recovered or found on x-ray, according to the Medical Examiner’s report.

Authorities say Phonisay developed respiratory distress during surgery, at which time blood was found in the chest. A right-sided thoracotomy was performed and a significant amount of blood was removed through a chest tube.  Doctors were unclear where this blood came from, as no other injuries were identified.

The Medical Examiner’s report states that Phonisay’s cardiac status declined and staff was unable to keep up with the amount of blood loss. Phonisay was pronounced dead just before 1 a.m.  His death was ruled an accident.

Thanks for MadScienceDefense for the title photo!



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • greeekpreparedness

    maybe the holster makers should include a bulletproof tip on their holters?

    • Canadian Vet

      I could honestly see that as a lawsuit-avoiding maneuver by at least some holster manufacturers, at least for those holsters marketed (potentially) for appendix carry. Perhaps a replaceable insert that can take a single round in case of AD/ND, kind of like those portable clearing bays?

    • mrsatyre

      I would think the bullet would bounce right back and shatter the gun in your hand at that close of a range. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

    • Grindstone50k

      Probably not terribly practical in a concealed carry holster, considering it’s not just “oh this spot is magically bulletproof”.

    • noob

      If the bullet is deforming some kind of bulletproof substance the bullet stop would heat up, or it would have to “give a little” or both. also lead could squirt out sideways or upwards back up the barrel.

      the energy has to go somewhere.

    • Anonymoose

      topkek

  • DIR911911 .

    I usually remove the holster and then “reholster” the gun and holster at the same time. simple and safe. putting the gun away should never be done in a hurry.

    • Giolli Joker

      I don’t understand why isn’t everybody doing this.
      There’s not and there should not be any “tactical re-holstering”, it is an activity that does not require to be done swiftly, but slow and safely.
      Besides, if you get involved in a defence scenario where you use your gun, when the threat is over it’s probably better to wait for the authorities with the gun left on the ground… getting shot by incoming cops would suck.

      • Yallan

        I think it’s seen to be necessary if your a cop chasing after someone, and suddenly need two hands. Forcing you to quickly holster. But I say in that situation you should use a pistol lanyard, bite it with your teeth, or if you had wrapped it on your arm beforehand, you can just let the pistol hang off your arm.

        • Bill

          Yeah, except for that lanyard part. The pistol needs to be secured in it’s holster, not flopping around where it could be fought over.

      • Bill

        There very much is “tactical” reholstering – I’ve drawn my gun many times, but never had to shoot anyone, resulting in me needing to put it back in the holster quickly, efficiently and safely, without having to partially disrobe.

        • gunsandrockets

          From concealed carry? That’s … interesting

          • Bill

            Sure it is, I’m the second most interesting man in the world. I was a detective or wore plainclothes for half my LE career. They have to fight to shove me into a uniform now, or get a haircut.

        • sabasarge

          Why do you feel the need to reholster “quickly”? If you’re reholstering, the danger has passed……take your time, and even…..horrors!……take a look.

          • Bill

            Maybe I wasn’t clear, and no one has settled on semantics. I reholster when I’ve decided that the fight is over, or isn’t going to occur. That means I’ve moved to cover and ensured that no other threat(s) exist. By quickly, I mean without fiddling, fumbling or dithering, just the same as I put my wallet back into my pocket when I’m done with it, one handed, without having to look where it’s going. I DO NOT mean that immediately after firing my rounds I race back to the holster, as many competition shooters seem prone to doing.

    • USMC03Vet

      That’s not very practical at all and certainly not if you change holsters when you get into a vehicle. Reholstering is where grip safeties shine. A simple reposition of our thumb and even if a Tasmanian Devil suddenly appears in the trigger well and depresses that trigger it’s not going off.

      For the life of me I cannot explain why that type of additional safety isn’t the standard for conceal carry for that reason and especially when it reinforces proper grip on small frame guns when you want to use it.

      • Dan Atwater

        FWIW, the gun this kid accidentally shot himself with has a grip safety.

        Not a fan of grip safeties personally, I’d prefer something like a Gadget for SFA guns, or an exposed hammer on DA guns, so I can block the striker/hammer from moving with my thumb while holstering. YMMV of course

        • Joshua

          it’s an interesting problem, I would say some form of safety is required, either a manual safety you engage before you holster, or a grip safety the automatically engages when you loosen your grip. then you only have the morons who keep their firing grip and their fingers in the trigger guard when they go to re-holster.

          as is, has, and will always been the case, any safety, regardless of type is useless if you do not know how it works and how to work with it. nothing is “idiot-proof” because there will invariable encourage the creation of a better idiot

          • Bill

            Non-morons keep their firing grip when reholstering, drawing or manipulating the pistol in any way. While you are re-holstering is just when bad guy’s lay-off man may decide to take you on, which would be the wrong time to have some spasmo grip on the gun. Non-morons also know that the finger doesn’t touch the trigger until its more likely than not that the gun will need to be consciously fired.

            Grip safeties are really sort of pointless, like the trigger safety on a GLOCK, and I can say that, being a 1911 guy.

          • Joshua

            I’m not re-holstering till the cop gets there, at which point its more likely I’ll be setting the gun on the table and raising my hands.
            and why does what gun you carry have any bearing here?

        • USMC03Vet

          Got a link to that? a ND with a grip safety while holstering is something I can’t even.

      • gunsandrockets

        Another option is empty chamber carry.

        • Anonymoose

          Another option is just to have a manual thumb safety and not carry it pointed at your junk or femoral artery. :^)

        • All the Raindrops

          A crappy option at last resort

  • drew

    Its not comfortable at all if you are fat like myself…

    • Bill

      or even just pudgy or moderately pear-shaped.

    • Nick J

      As a skinny guy, I can’t even carry an LCP appendix style without it poking me in either the stomach or groin, so it’s not just limited to “fat guys”.

  • LT

    A couple years ago we had a guy present to the ER with a gunshot wound to the inner thigh. The medics called it in as a .45, and I was thinking the guy stuck a 1911 in his waistband and popped himself…and inner thigh, I was kind of surprised he made it until the ambulance showed up!
    When he arrived, turned out it was a .45LC revolver (!), and he missed the artery, so it was kind of anticlimactic. Sent him to surgery to get cleaned up, even the chief surgeon looked disappointed.
    But, definitely a cautionary tale – even with a revolver you can get an ND, and trying to carry in the waistband without a holster sure doesn’t help.

    • Martin Grønsdal

      Isn’t 45cl a very powerful catridge? more powerful than 45 auto?

      • Giolli Joker

        No, roughly same level.
        Hunters may load it to much higher pressures in custom 5 rounds revolvers, basically to .454 Casull levels, that by itself is just a commercial hotrodded .45LC.

        I wonder if that guy was just carrying a SAA with no transfer bar safety and a live round under the hammer that got somehow hit.

        • Martin Grønsdal

          could one shoot a 45cl through a 454 casull, aka 38 in 357?

          • Giolli Joker

            Yes, it is exactly the same concept: the magnum round is longer to prevent it being chambered in weaker revolvers, but the opposite is entirely possible.

          • Joshua

            indeed you can even do so in a .460 S&W, the S&W X-Frame in 460 will also chamber and fire .454 Casull and .45 Colt with no problems.
            I believe the same is also true for .45 Schofield, but with how uncommon that caliber is it wouldn’t make sense as a low priced practice round.

          • Giolli Joker

            Yep, like Special into Magnum into Maximum/Supermag.

          • tunnelrat

            45 Schofield is available, a lot of Cowboy action guys and girls use it because it doesn’t beat them up like 45 LC and plenty potent for the ranges they shoot.

          • Anonymoose

            Here, I’ll make a handy revolver chambering chart for you. Do not apply this to automatics if you value your life.

            .500 S&W>.500 JRH (aka .500 Special, although I’ve never seen this cartridge offered outside Buffalo Bore)

            .475 Linebaugh>.480 Ruger

            .457 Wild West Magnum>.45-70 (actually a .458 caliber bullet, while .45 pistol cartridges almost unversally use .452, .454, or .457 caliber bullets)

            .460 S&W>.454 Casull>.45 (“Long” Colt)>.45 Win Mag (if in a .454 or .460 S&W cut for moon clips)>.45 Schofield (do not put rimless cartridges in a Schofield revolver!)>.460 Rowland (moon-clipped)>.45 Auto Rim (if cut for moon clips)>.45 ACP/Super>.45 GAP

            .445 Super Mag>.44 Magnum>.44 Special>.44 Russian

            .414 Super Mag>.41 Magnum

            10mm IAI Magnum>10mm Auto>.40S&W

            .375 Winchester>.38-55 Winchester

            .357 Maximum/Super Mag>.357 Magnum>.38 Special>.38 Long Colt>.38 Short Colt

            .327 Federal Magnum>.32 H&R Magnum>.32 S&W Long>.32 S&W

            In addition, anything “(Ackley) Improved” can take the parent cartridge as well (this is mostly for rifles, though).

            Presumably you could also shoot .458 Winchester out of a .458 Lott rifle in an emergency, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you like having hands or a face.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            Hat off!

      • gunsandrockets

        Short answer: yes, but still pretty close.

        Long answer: yes, but it could be a lot less instead, even with factory ammo. And some loads (with an appropriate modern revolver) could be a lot more powerful.

        .45 ACP factory ammo is loaded within a relatively narrow band of power and bullet dimensions because of the operating limits of standard self-loading pistols. Revolvers can function in a much broader range with full reliability and safety. For example the light ‘cowboy’ factory loads used in .45 Colt revolvers for Single Action Shooting Society events.

  • Steven Smith

    I never appendix carry. I use an IWB holster for a Glock 19 with a light, and carry that every day, slightly behind my right hip at the 3:30-4 O’clock position. After reading about someone shooting their balls, I never carried that way, again.

  • Some Guy

    Shot in the thigh and presented with blood in the chest cavity?

    I’m no doctor but that’s either some really crazy fragmentation or there’s more to this story.

    • raz-0

      Not really. Coughing up blood can be the result of pulmonary embolism. Which you can get from a clot forming in any major artery. My uncle had one due to a pretty badly broken leg. I’m sure healing up a gunshot wound to the leg could do it too.

      • Some Guy

        Makes sense. The way the article was written it made it sound as though the bleeding was the result of trauma to the chest, though maybe I was inferring too much.

  • tony

    a few month ago, a 30 year old kid shot himself in the balls in a Los Angles shooting range , his was a sig 229, didn’t bother to decock it when holstering, and the trigger caught on some clothing.

    • Giolli Joker

      We could say that there was some decocking involved, indeed.

    • Grindstone50k

      Didn’t bother to pay attention when he was reholstering period.

  • Bill

    The photos don’t make any sense – if I’m wearing a 3 piece suit it’s perfect for using my normal OWB holster in its normal position on my hip.

    I’ve never seen the appeal to appendix carry, find any form of IWB carry intolerably uncomfortable, and can think of all kinds of reason why I don’t want a gun there, such as it being easily blocked from being drawn, easily accessible to an adversary and difficult to defend. The fact that is pointed somewhere around my genitals and femoral artery doesn’t help, but of all the issues that’s the easiest one to fix – trigger finger discipline.

  • Glock Guy

    I agree completely with DIR911911. Safety first!

    However, remember to look to the all the way to left and right (including behind you briefly while your head is turned) prior to holstering that firearm! There can be more threats nearby! If you holster prior to doing this, you risk your life! Once all clear, then safely reholster.

    But if you do not check your surroundings prior to holstering, you are in deep doo doo. An athlete clear 40 yards around the mid 4 seconds. That is super fast! A normal person on adrenaline anywhere between 6-12 seconds, perhaps?

    How fast can you draw your concealed weapon, then aim at a rapidly approaching target without missing, and still hit a vital area??

    Not that anyone cares, but I keep my firearm at a “high tactical ready” which is close to my body, firearm at a 45 degree angle. That is, I am ready to attack if need be, but in a defensive position if a threat has encroached my area and has intentions of disarming, and or using my firearm on me.
    Even if I were to freak and squeeze the trigger, all I would get are some fragments perhaps in my lower left quadrant, which is better than being disarmed and killed by my opponent. I certainly wouldn’t get nailed by my own bullet in this position.

    That is how I was trained and I won’t deviate from it. Just my two cents.

  • Sulaco

    Appendix carry is great….until you have to bend over or sit down…..

  • noob

    hmm did the blood in his chest come from hydrostatic shock bursting blood vessels distant from the bullet path? That would be a valuable data point if that was the case.

  • Paul Swaffer

    I have two concealed pistols. One for summer, one for winter. Summer is a double action only, (no exposed hammer) .38 that is carried in appendix position. Cell phone clipped to belt breakes up any pistol butt printing and it is very comfortable position, (for me anyways). The winter one is a 45 Backup by AMT, which is double action only as well. It goes at the 4 o’clock position with a IWB holster. It weighs a lot more than the 12oz 38 so it rides better in the back. Bottom line, you need to train reholstering, (fast or slow) without the finger on the trigger. Basic safety 101.

  • Canadian Vet

    Except it’s not just dumbasses who have ND’s. Professionals of all sorts have them too and with alarming regularity. A safety device is never going to fully replace training and common sense but it will help deal with the brain farts that everyone, including the best-trained professionals, get once in a while.

  • Jim

    The article didn’t state what handgun or holster, if any, the subject was carrying. If it were a 1911 series, Hi-Power or other single-action auto, in cocked mode and not locked is a recipe for disaster. If it were a Glock or other modern striker-fired pistol and not in a holster designed for that particular model, that also is a disaster waiting to happen. Older ‘pocket pistols’ from the early 20th century designs usually have a grip safety or lever to prevent AD’s since they were meant to be carried inside clothing without holsters. Sounds like negligence by the subject who won’t make that mistake again.

  • Jim

    Here is a great solution to AD. Make sure your weapon has a ‘decocker’ and use it to release the tension on the spring used for the firing pin, Also this is usually the thumb safety and with both the firing pin blocked and no pressure on the firing pin it isn’t going to go boom, even with a round in the chamber unless you pull the trigger after releasing the thumb safety. This is what I use to keep my firearm safe yet when needed al that is required is that I take off the thumb safety, which in my case is simply pressing it downwards with my thumb, and pulling the trigger like it was a DAO in order to make it go boom! Safe and simple.