Look Down While Re-holstering?

With Instructor Zero constantly showing his shooting exploits, its nice to see Funker Tactical take a break from Zero making the rest of us look bad. Instead, they take a gander at re-holstering a firearm after a stressful encounter and if one should look at the holster while doing son.

Daniel Shaw, Director of Training at Thunderbirds Academy in Wichita, Kansas Tactical contends that one can and sometimes should look while re-holstering. I, for one, agree with the trainer and that one can look at their holster, but don’t think one can go wrong with the choice to or not to do so.

What do you think? Is Daniel (and your humble writer) off their rocker?

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.

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


  • Nicks87

    Yes, I agree, it’s ok to look. That being said, why are you in such a hurry to holster up anyway? If I’m involved in a deadly encounter as a civilian, I’m going to have my gun out until the police show up. If I’m involved in a shooting as a police officer I’m going to wait for back up before holstering my weapon. In both situations I’m going to be sure there are no more threats in the area before doing anything and I’m going to look at my holster to make sure it’s free of obstruction and to avoid fumbling around with my weapon just like he stated in the video.

    • Giolli Joker

      I would add that if I’m a civilian involved in a deadly encounter and I’m positively sure that the threat is over, I’ll be waiting for the police with my gun on the ground close to me and my hands clearly visible…
      The incoming policemen don’t know what they’re going to meet and being the armed guy might not be particularly healthy.

      • Jeff Smith

        Agreed. I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to inform the 911/emergency operator of your name, a description of yourself/clothing, and what the police should expect to find when they get to the scene. I’m not a police officer, but, if I were, I’d feel a lot more comfortable responding to a situation with information like “Jeff Smith, the white male with curly hair wearing a blue t-shirt has a CCW permit and has placed his unloaded gun on the roof of his car.”

        • Bill

          I duuno about that. By unloading the gun you have effectively altered evidence that may not be really relevant, but attorneys specialize about picking on the not-really-relevant. I also don’t think leaving a gun outside of your immediate control is really prudent. A holstered pistol is safe, one on the ground may wind up getting kicked around, the object of a struggle with a new bad guy or any number of things, Holster it, we can secure it under controlled conditions.

          • Don Ward

            What is the more realistic scenario? That after engaging a threat and discharging one to multiple rounds that more threats (hearing the gunfire) will come running towards you in a Zombieland scenario where you have to continue to engage in multiple targets.

            Or once having fired, the usual suspects make themselves scarce and your greatest threat at that point is being “accidentally” shot by a law enforcement officer? And you are going to be made to relinquish your firearm and any other weapon that is on your person anyway.

          • Bill

            I don’t get your point. It isn’t about speed back to the holster, it’s about efficiency and situational awareness. Why do two things: 1 – look, and 2 – reholster, when one will suffice, and you can keep your head up, lookng for those cops.

            And you aluded to multiple attackers yourself: “the usual suspects.” Assuming that they’ve all bolted is just that, an assumption. If there are guys willing to take on cops, why won’t they take on you? Even the guy in the video values not being in a hurry to reholster.

            Do you have to look to put on your shoes? If you can stick a foot in a shoe without looking, why not a handgun into a holster? Even those of us who have to shake spiders and scorpions out of our boots first know that you can’t look for them while they are in there.

      • Nicks87

        The police will probably show up and point guns at you anyway, better to let them see you put the gun down and raise your hands as they are arriving on-scene. It shows you are being compliant. Just don’t wait too long, your point about the over zealous cops is valid.

        • Bill

          It’s all situationally dependent. I work where it might take a half hour or longer for backup to get there, and if the weather’s bad and nobody’s answering the phone or listening to a scanner it could be longer. If you and the gun are separated that’s one more thing that I have to watch. There is constant ongoing debate in LE about whether we should separate people from weapons, or leave the weapon on them, secure the person, then the weapon. We also operate under the assumption that there is always more than one weapon, so the fact that your gun may be on the roof of your car or on the ground only divides my attention while not reassuring me a bit that you are unarmed.

          And before anyone gets all huffy about disarming law abiding citizens in any case, remember in LE it’s a numbers game. I cant’t remember the last call I went on that involved securing a legally possessed firearm, whereas taking them off bad guys is a relatively common occurrence. So, in the extremely remote situation in which you’ve either shot someone or are holding someone at gunpoint, I’m likely to respond to the statistical norm and secure everybody and everything and then sort out what happened, and/or recognize real quick that you’re OK and the other person needed shooting or having a gun pointed at him.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Which part of “I reluctantly reholster” was unclear?

      The instructor even went on about that for a bit about how one should be reulctant to reholster, but there ARE times the work is done and it’s time to get your hands off the weapon.

      It’s not like we’re going to be trying to radio in and have a perp against a squad car trying to cuff him.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    Yep, I agree…

    • Roger V. Tranfaglia

      Me too…

  • Will

    If you’re involved in a shooting and you have taken it to a successful conclusion that means the threat is ended. Of course it’s okay look down in order to re holster.
    Just my humble opinion.

  • MrEllis

    Solid logic.

  • andrey kireev

    Now can he do a same thing while getting sprayed in the face or with bag over his head ? Those things are essential you know….

  • Paul O.

    I shoot a lot of IDPA which means shooting with a cover garment. I always look the pistol back into the holster. That makes sure that there’s no sneaky objects trying to share the holster with my gun. Works for me.

  • Nicholas Chen

    One thing I learned from my friend and fellow USPSA shooter, Howard Yee, there is no reason to holster fast. LEO might have a reason. But people on the range? What is the hurry to drive your gun into your holster at 100 MPH?

    Looking into the holster is great for avoiding a Negligent Discharge.

    • Roger V. Tranfaglia

      Your last sentence is a VERY good point, especially on the range.

    • Bill

      People have negligent discharges loading guns and cleaning them, both of which require looking at the gun. Trigger finger discipline is what prevents NDs, not eyeballs.

      I’ve only heard of one ND that was allegedly caused by the holster while reholstering. The Training Officer attempted to replicate it, and followed the same process the officer claimed he used. In 100 repetitions, the holster did nothing to cause the gun to fire.

      • Nicholas Chen

        I know of two instances Bill. One was an article here on TFB. A guy used a leather holster. He used it all the time. The last time he used it, the leather had worn and made a crease/fold. That fold went into the trigger guard and as he applied pressure to holster, the Glock went off.

        Another instance involved a Police Chief. He was in a gun store. He drew his weapon for some reason. He reholstered it. The drawstring of his jacket went into the holster and the cinch thingy got caught in the trigger guard. As he pushed down, the jacket pulled up. Boom. Gun went off.

        Yes trigger finger discipline is crucial. But it is still the shooter’s responsibility that nothing else pulls the trigger.

  • jpcmt

    Agreed. I’m not sure who actually says to do a no-look holster but they’re morans….or perhaps its needed when you’ve emptied your primary, and you’ve used your secondary (handgun) and the fight is over, you reload the secondary, then holster quickly perhaps to get your primary loaded and safed. Still, i don’t see a reason to holster quickly unless you have to detain someone with your flexicuffs and need the hands…still, you can look for half a second.

  • The_Champ

    As a LEO I’ve had the experience where I had to transition from gun out and in hand to gun holstered and fighting hands on with someone. The transition happened as I had my support side hand already on the suspect. After all of those repetitions of holstering without looking, and firearms instructors ragging on you to do so, it’s amazing how thoughtlessly and seamlessly one can holster quickly when needed.

    I think the advise given in the above video is ok for most people/situations. My above scenario is just food for thought. And of course a concealed holster isn’t gonna reholster quick as a duty rig.

  • Don Ward

    What sort of stupid, rinky-dink BS is this? Why is it even an issue of discussion whether you should look down at you holster in order to make sure your firearm has actually gone into it? Are there people running around with firearms who are actually trying to advocate a Reverse Quickdraw McGraw?

    • John Shore

      I always imitate the bar-room scene between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo from the film ‘Tombstone’ while holstering.

    • RickH

      I know I look down at the Johnson before zipping up…….

      • Phillip Cooper

        Yeah, but other people’s junk doesn’t count…

  • Bill

    Well, sure, it’s OK to be average. If you practice reholstering without looking, it can be done, and there’s no benefit to looking. I don’t have to look at my pockets to replace my wallet, pen or pocketknife, I don’t have to low at my fly to secure the twig and berries, why do I need to look at my holster? It isn’t like it’s going to run off from me. Sweeping cover garments out of the way is part of reholstering, and shifting the thumb to the back of the hammer or slide will give an indication if anything is catching the trigger, or in the way.

  • John Shore

    Considering that re-holstering is just about the LAST thing one has to worry over, and that the act is the slowest thing you should be doing, there is no harm in taking a glance at the holster at the point where muzzle meets ‘mouth’ to verify that everything is going to mesh. It’s surely better than using the other hand to reach across to ‘help’, like many new shooters do.
    If you have been in an actual shooting, you only holster if you are sure that no more gun is required because the subject is down and out, there are no more threats, or the cops are there. If the cops ARE there, your gun will end up gently laid on the ground if you’re wise.
    While practicing, an occasional glance at the holstering process ingrains the act by how it feels, so that eventually, no glance is needed. The idea to looking while training is to train yourself NOT to look.

  • USMC03Vet

    I do both. Where I carry I can’t really look anyway but when I’m on the range I look due to using a different holster.
    Thanks, grip safety.

  • Grindstone50k

    If you believe there is still a threat around that you cannot divert your attention for one second, then you should not be reholstering. You should be reloading.

    • Bill

      You should reload anyway, after you’ve moved to cover. Why holster a partially empty pistol?

  • Edeco

    Small of back: I’d need a mirror or a corner or something against which to contort myself.

  • Don Ward

    So do I look down when I reholster with my handgun sling?

    *Let’s see,the string goes here, the coin goes there and…*


  • Shmoe

    I just throw my pistol to the ground and let my caddy reholster it. Peasants.

  • noob

    why has there never been a holster that catches the top edge of a pistol’s slide and pushes it just a little bit out of battery before the trigger guard enters the holster? a part of the holster could cover the open ejection port and prevent ingress of dust. since no modern pistol will fire if the slide is out of battery it would save you from getting injured by a negligent discharge.

  • noob

    why has there never been a holster that catches the top edge of a pistol’s slide and pushes it just a little bit out of battery before the trigger guard enters the holster? a part of the holster could cover the open ejection port and prevent ingress of dust. since no modern pistol will fire if the slide is out of battery it would save you from getting injured by a negligent discharge.

    • wclardy

      Because that the resistance of the recoil spring would make it harder (maybe not significantly from a functional point of view, but definitely noticeably from a shooter’s perspective) to fully seat the pistol in the holster.

  • Phillip Cooper

    Totally agree with the trainer. He nailed it.

    If it’s time to put the gun away, it’s not critical that you’re looking anywhere but the holster.

  • flwolf

    I have made it a habit to hold my carry pistol not on the grip to re-holster, but to put my hand over the slide and ‘guide’ the nozzle with my forefinger into the holster opening. I can do this meanwhile very quickly. Give it a try, but do it slowly at first. I can make a short video if so desired.

  • Core

    I think this boils down to abilities. Some folks have better hand to eye coordination. I find it ignorant that someone would discourage an individual to look down while reholstering? If you transition to a backup or carbine, drop the pistol like an empty magazine.

  • Tacbear

    Finally someone that teaches common sense! When it is time to draw and shoot or cover possible threat…then it time to draw and shoot or cover possible threat! When hostilities cease and you determine it is safe to holster the #1 thing is to holster safely. I have seen students that looked down range or did the “Instructor Zero looky/scan” while re-holstering with their finger still on the trigger and have a negligent discharge. This can ruin your whole day .Along with looking at the holster I also teach students to place their index finger and their middle finger over the trigger guard so nothing can get to the trigger while holstering.

  • Stephen Brasher

    It’s easy to situate the appreciation to suit a desired end-state. Shaw’s advice is valid for the situation of a home-owner holstering as law-enforcement officers arrive. But a law-enforcement officer holstering to transition to a less-lethal use of force option (TASER or OC spray etc) should maintain visual contact with the the threat, and that menas not looking at the holster.