It is time to clean up the way we use words in our community. Often times we may be in agreement with one another, but because we use different words it lends itself to confusion.
A perfect example happened recently with my good friend Craig Douglas. As I watched one of his videos I noticed he was describing something we see often, that we work to remedy in our classes. His discussion had to do with drawing and holstering in tight or confined spaces when muzzle discipline is challenging. While I completely understood the message he was sending, the wording he used made me think. The ensuing brainstorm session resulted in an hour long discussion that was awesome. One of the many points we agreed on was the importance of words.
We have been doing so many Concealed Carry Tactics classes over the last couple of years it has affirmed some issues regarding holster position. In the concealed carry community we fail to adequately define holster positions. For instance, a common mistake is in reference to strong side. We define strong side as being on our strong side hip. Where the ejection port lines up at 3:00, there’s a little fudging so between 2:30-3:30 being acceptable due to body composition and girth. However, strong side is NOT behind the hip and here is where I needed to clean up my language.
Behind the hip
We teach four main holster positions around the waistline. You have cross-draw, appendix, strong side and then small of the back. I believe referring to anything behind the hip as small of the back as lead to more confusion. In our conversation I realized the need to clean up my wording. I needed to better describe the positions and help eliminate confusion. If you move the holster behind the hip, past the 3:30 position then it is no longer called “small of the back”, it is referenced “behind the hip”. It may seem subtle and obvious, but it is absolutely necessary.
The simple solution
The holster position Craig was referencing in the video was technically not on his strong side hip. By describing the position as strong side hip it can be confusing. We were saying the same thing, promoting the same awareness and helping people to see and correct mistakes. I was contributing to the confusion by not defining the holster location when it was not on the strong side hip. The solution was an easy one, while you may carry small of the back, if the holster position is not on the strong side hip, it is now referenced as behind the hip.
Task and purpose
Behind the hip is not a bad position, it has it’s place. We don’t allow it in our classes for one simple reason. The inability to watch the muzzle into the holster. This is a critical step in holstering, you must visually clear the holster of any obstructions or debris to protect the trigger. Typically a student will perform the visual clear in the beginning, but over time they stop. They stop because rotating the body so they can see the holster’s mouth becomes laborious. This small change in wording will greatly improve our ability to communicate among ourselves.
Now here is another important take away. The dialogue we must have as instructors, as leaders in the industry. I’m fortunate to call Craig and several other peers friends and the knowledge sharing atmosphere is unique and rewarding. In the end we are educators, our goal is education and it starts with our non-stop learning example.