The Triad of Handgun Retention

The problem is real, each year in this country officers are killed with their own guns. Learn the foundation of handgun retention and keep control of your duty sidearm.


  • A final note on holsters. Remember to inspect your duty holsters regularly . With the advent of plastics we don't have the stretching and tearing that used to occur with leather, but we can have cracking and breaking. Regardless of the material, holsters were not designed to last your whole career. Inspect and replace aging and defective gear!
  • Handgun Retention

    Finally, we come to handgun retention training. Whatever method we revolve our survival training around, it must: be:

    1. Based on gross motor skills,
    2. Work under stress, and
    3. Be practiced.

    We should also have plans for when we are on the ground, whether on our back or on top, straddling a suspect, and they attempt to take our gun. Emphasis should be on keeping the pistol in the holster by pushing straight down first and foremost, and then affecting the release. Whether a gross skill such as repeatedly striking down through the suspect's arms or a leverage technique is attempted, it should be able to be done by any officer regardless of size. Remember, physical skills follow the law of diminishing returns, which states that the farther from the training event you get, the less able you are to perform the skill. Even without a training partner, you can and should practice securing the pistol in the holster and affecting the release, which builds a motor program that can be reverted to under stress.

    Maintaining your pistol is a function of all three components of the triad of retention--the mind, the holster and retention skills--not just one part. By always paying attention to your surroundings and suspects, by selecting the most secure pistol that you can quickly draw from, and by learning and practicing your retention techniques, you can keep control of your sidearm and not be victim to it. In the end a triumvirate (you, your equipment and your training), can beat one scumbag any day.

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