26 Apr 2020

Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Leg

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I was reading the latest American Rifleman and came upon, forsooth! an entire article on the advanced and technical subject of putting your pistol back in its holster safely.

Representative of the earlier America that I am, my chin dropped, my eyes blinked, my mind boggled. I thought back to the Field & Stream magazines of my youth, and exercise my imagination as I might, I simply could not imagine H.G. Tapply, Ted Trueblood, or gun editor Warren Page feeling it useful or appropriate to undertake to instruct readers on just how to insert a gun into a holster.

But, as I sat there, reflecting mournfully on der Untergang des Abendlandes, it occurred to me that there actually is a justification for such an article, and that justification is The Glock.

Glock Leg is an actual well-known term that has made dictionaries of slang and popular phrase.

My own opinion is that there are a lot of idiots these days publishing opinions on guns and self defense who have accepted the highly dubious proposition that a semiautomatic pistol with a long trigger pull is really the same thing as a revolver and does not need a safety. These dingbats also commonly assert there is this profound hazard that, in the heat of the moment, in a situation where the shooter is under pressure, he is liable to forget to flick off the safety with his thumb when the need arises to fire.

I’d say they are nuts. Are any of these guys hunters? I’ve hunted grouse and other small game since I was in the last years of elementary school, and I have never in my life had any problem moving the shotgun safety with my thumb before pulling the trigger. And I will contend happily that when Old Ruff explodes unexpectedly from under your feet or from directly behind you, you are often startled, surprised, and trying to cope with the situation with all possible haste. An encounter with human adversaries is far more likely to take place over an interval of time providing plenty of opportunity to plan ahead, make ready, and even to contemplate one’s options.

It’s not easy to explain exactly why, but I do think revolvers and semiautomatic pistols are fundamentally different. I have no yearning for a safety on my revolver, like some of the strange continental European handguns sometimes had. But the very idea of carrying around an automatic pistol with no safety and round in the chamber just gives me the heebie jeebies. It strikes me as equivalent to climbing over a fence while hunting, carrying a loaded shotgun with the safety off.

If it were up to me, gun makers trying to sell Glocks and all the other safety-less polymer guns (and, yes, in my book, a trigger safety is the same as no safety) would be going out of business due to a lack of sales.

I once fired a Glock, when I had to take a Gun Safety Course (despite being a gun owner and hunter for decades and decades) in order to get a CT gun permit. I found the Glock easy to shoot accurately. They are good at soaking up recoil. But… Glocks are ugly. And a key reason they are so popular is that they are cheap. Gaston Glock was obviously clever in a number of ways, but he was also clearly coming from somewhere very far from the traditions, ergonomics, and habits of use of American gunners.

If there were no Glocks, nobody would need articles advising them on how not to shoot themselves on the leg putting their gun back in the holster.

As I get older, I find the list of fashionable things connected with guns that I detest gets longer and longer. One of these days, I intend to share my detestation of the Picatinny Rail.

8 Feedbacks on "Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Leg"


What I’m going to say will be controversial and I understand that. I have a glock that I sometimes carry (first controversy). But I carry it without a bullet in the chamber (second controversy). I like the glock and bought it knowing there was no effective safety. But I simply will not risk one in the chamber with it. My revolver I carry fully loaded and it has no safety either (that shouldn’t be controversial but who knows).

H.A. Reynolds

Totally agree, EXCEPT for the reason that Glocks are so popular.

1. VERY easy to shoot accurately
2. Even more accurate for follow-up shots
3. Easy to break-down, clean and reassemble
4. Good capacity

I bought a G-19 on the recommendation of a crack-shot co-worker. Taking our Concealed Carry test, at age 67, I out-shot my 32 yo son-in-law using a Sig Sauer 9mm.

I despise the damned thing, but it shoots straight.

Captain Witold Pilecki

I have one Glock, a Model 21 in .45ACP. I carry it occasionally, and it is in Col. Cooper’s “Condition 1” in an active retention holster at 3 o’clock, usually with 2 spare mags at 8 o’clock. Unless you have a dangerous malfunctioning firearm, using Cooper’s Rule #3 will result in NOT having a ND into your leg, either drawing or holstering.

I carry multiple firearms in different calibers for EDC depending on many different factors. I am thoroughly knowledgeable on each one and NEVER forget which one I am carrying, where it is, what holster it is in, etc. etc.


I didn’t mean to imply that the Glock was controversial. Everyone I know who “carries” carries everywhere, even to church. I only carry when we walk in the woods. I take it with me when we go camping but carry it unless we are going out into the boonies. I also don’t even take it with me if the grandkids are with us.

I like the Glock OK. I sometimes openly carry my Ruger .357 because it would be a better choice for mountain lion or bear. We see cat tracks on every walk, could be Lynx or it could be Cougar. Lots of coyote tracks. There are wolves too where we live but I haven’t seen any. It isn’t really that I’m afraid of these animals, but we are older and there is absolutely no way I want to see my wife attacked and me have nothing but a knife to fight it off.


the last time I picked up an American Rifleman I had to stop and look around to assure myself I hadn’t been teleported to a hair salon.

it’s so incredibly dumbed-down and generalized. it used to be packed with tech info, etc.


There’s at least one video on YouTube of someone perforating their leg with a Glock. I have two Springfield XD’s. For all practical purposes, they are Glocks (apologies to Glock shooters, but come on.) The XD line has a a grip safety. I have shot in competition some, and I find this feature reassuring. I re-holster very carefully, making sure not to engage the grip safety (which all 1911 shooters are familiar with anyway.) Best of all worlds. And I shoot my XD(M) 5.25″ Competition better than any pistol I’ve ever owned.


I agree. They are easy to shoot accurately, especially for follow-up shots. But I find them so ugly, and I would uncomfortable carrying one with a chambered round.


Don’t put your finger on the trigger unless ready to shoot. “Nuff said.


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