Behind the Hip

Don’t confuse strong side hip with behind the hip, there is a big difference. Behind the hip is anything from the 4:00 position and beyond.

The same, but different

I can see why there is confusion, they have a familiar feel or look. Plus, Hollywood has not helped with it being a popular position used by many onscreen actors past and present. When we think behind the hip the idea has more to do with trying to improve the concealability of the pistol. By placing a large portion if not the entire platform “behind” our torso it gives the impression of better concealment. From the front the pistol or most of the pistol is shaded by our torso . It can be difficult to see from the front, but the question you have to ask is what does it look like from the rear. While it would be nice to never have anyone behind us, how does it look from that angle. Usually it looks pretty bad and by bad I mean obvious.

Litmus test

A simple test we ask our students to preform in class is common everyday movements. Movement or activity such as reaching over head, bending and rotating at the waist. During this activity we have their peers watch to observe the behavior of the cover garment, holster position and body types. There is a lot to be gained through this interactive process. Many times the wearer doesn’t realize how noticeable the pistol is because it is out of their sight and therefore out of mind. Having this feedback may change your mind or reconsider other methods of concealment.

Risk management

We don’t allow behind the hip in our classes. Before the adult temper tantrums ensue the reason is safety. Part of the holstering protocol students must follow is to clear the cover garment and observe the pistol into the mouth of the holster. Over the last several years we have conducted more Concealed Carry classes than I can count. As we pay attention and confer with colleagues we have discovered something obvious. The trigger must be pulled to discharge a round. Sounds simple, but what folks don’t realize is many negligent discharges are not caused by our trigger fingers. They are caused by foreign objects or debris that while holstering act as a surrogate trigger finger. Observing the holster’s mouth is the only way to ensure the event is prevented and that is hard to do when you cannot look behind you.

More to the story

It didn’t come easily, early on we allowed this in our classes, but humans have a tendency to be lazy. Students started out putting extra effort to observe, but would ween away from the protocol after time. We had too many close calls that in an effort to ensure safety we prohibited their use. Not only was there the safety issue to contend with, but what was the true benefit and were other positions not able to accomplish the same goal. Truthfully the more popular positions produce the same if not better results without violating safety protocols so it was easy to mitigate risk by prohibiting the position.

Burying your head in the sand regarding holster position doesn’t mean you are doing it better. It just means you can’t see the problem.

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