Last week I promised a story. I heard this from “the horse’s mouth”, and if you knew this particular horse the story would not surprise you…
Anyhow, I happen to know a fellow (I’ll call him “Ted”) who, back in the ’70s, was a Detective in a very large eastern police department. He had just been promoted from patrol, which meant that for the first time in his career he got to dress in plainclothes.
Ted and his more experienced partner were headed to lunch one day. They worked in a not terribly good part of town, and picked a restaurant in the vicinity of their last call. They pulled up in front of the restaurant, just behind a taxicab.
As they were exiting their unmarked vehicle a male climbed out of the cab ahead of them. He drew what Ted described as “a chrome-plated automatic” and started firing at another person who was still in the back seat of the cab.
(Allow me to digress as I explain that Ted, taking advantage of his now much looser dress requirements, had taken to wearing all manner of holsters. He alternated between a shoulder holster, crossdraw, strong side hip, appendix, and even ankle. He made the decision about which one to wear almost on a whim each morning. I’m sure you’re beginning to see where this is going.)
Ted, who was exiting on the curb side of the vehicle, was in direct line of sight of the suspect. Being the gung-ho young cop that he was, he yelled “police, freeze!” as he reached for his gun. The perp turned toward the source of the command, and seeing two witnesses in suits raised his pistol in their direction and started firing.
Here’s where the story gets interesting: Ted habitually reached for the spot where his uniform belt had always placed his gun. Of course, it wasn’t there! I wish I could convey the level of comical panic that he did, but the gist is that he started patting himself all over, trying to find his gun while at the same time diving for cover behind his car door. “I couldn’t remember where my gun was,” he exclaimed to me. “I suddenly had the horrible thought that maybe I’d left it on my dresser!”
In the meantime his older and wiser partner simply drew his “snubby” revolver from the crossdraw holster he always used, and proceeded to drop said perp in his tracks. Ted found his gun just in time to help clean up the mess.
Ted told me that this incident convinced him to carry his gun in the same holster and in the same place every day. His advice to me was that I should do likewise – and I do.
A firefight, gentle readers, is not the time to try to remember where you put your gun, or where your bullets are landing relative to your sights. Standardize on your load and your holster, and practice regularly so that you can quickly draw and reliably put your shots where they need to go!
-=[ Grant ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On May 19, 2008