This is a discussion on Empty Holster within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I had a bit of an embarrassing (and somewhat scary) situation today. In fact, it's embarrassing enough that I'm a bit reluctant to post it ...
March 26th, 2007 05:36 PM
I had a bit of an embarrassing (and somewhat scary) situation today. In fact, it's embarrassing enough that I'm a bit reluctant to post it here. However, its nowhere near as embarrassing as taking a chunk out of your hand with an ND (though for a little while today, I thought it might have been) and I figure that if Eric can fess up to that in the interests of helping somebody learn something, I can follow his example endure some (well justified) ridicule for what I did today.
I'm a graduate student at the University of Utah, which gives me a rather flexible schedule, and allows me to carry my gun at school (gotta love Utah's great preemption law). Today I spent most of the morning futzing around doing a bunch of little stuff (including reading this forum) before leaving for school. When I finally left, I was in a bit of a hurry, but I made it to class on time (I'm the instructor for this class, so it really doesn't behoove me to be late). After teaching my class, I decided to go get some lunch before my office hours started. About halfway over to the student union I (finally) noticed something funny. It took a second to figure out what it was, then I realized my holster was empty!
Oh crap! I must have left my gun at home.
Then, a couple of seconds later, the other possibility hit me.
OH CRAP! What if I didn't leave my gun at home? Could it have come out or gotten left somewhere, sometime during the morning?
I think back, did I have the gun out of the holster anytime during the morning? Nope. At school my gun stays strictly in the holster (unless I'm disarming to go in the post office). Did I do anything where it could have fallen out? Well, my carry method is pretty secure (a good IWB kydex holster under a cover garment, in this case a 5.11 vest). I've never had the gun come loose before. Even if it did, I think I would have noticed it clattering to the ground. I'm not oblivious enough to miss that, am I? Well, until today I thought I wasn't oblivious enough to walk around with an empty holster for a few hours without noticing, so it might just be possible.
So at this point I'm not quite in a panic, but I'm getting pretty close. Trying to keep it together, I retrace my steps back to my office, check around my desk, go back to the classroom where I taught and check around the podium there. I decided this was serious enough to skip out on my office hours and head home, so I packed up my stuff. My apartment is a 20 minute walk from campus, and I retraced the path I took this morning exactly, trying simultaneously to hurry and to keep an eye out for a carelessly dropped pistol.
All this time, the prospect of having to call the police and report loosing my pistol was hanging over me like a dark cloud. The supreme embarrassment of having my friends and acquaintances find out I carry because I lost my pistol was just too much to consider.
Finally I make it home, rush into the bedroom and find my pistol sitting next to the bed in the usual overnight spot. Whew! Was that a big sigh of relief!
Obviously this situation could have been a lot more dire: I might have needed my pistol sometime this morning and not had it, if I really had lost it somewhere someone could have taken it and used it to commit a crime or some kid could have found it an accidentally shot himself or someone else, the list goes on (I live alone, but if I had kids, there are obviously a bunch of dire consequences that could have arisen from leaving my pistol unattended on the nightstand as well). Half an hour of severe stress on my part is probably the best of all possible outcomes for this situation.
So how did this happen? Well, before I left for school this morning I transferred my EDC gear from the pair of pants I was wearing yesterday to a pair that had just come out of the wash. To do this, I generally take the gun out of the holster and put it on the nightstand (it's a lot easier to get the holster slid inside the waistband and the clips properly in place without the pistol in there). In my rush to get out the door, I must not have replaced the pistol in the holster. My holster has a sweat guard, so the pressure of the holster against my body isn't really that different whether I've got the gun in there or not (especially since I've lost a little weight). The only real oppurtunities to notice are the weight lack of weight on my hip, the grip's interaction with my cover garment, and whether my arm brushes up against it. Before today I would have said that I'd easily notice these things, but that obviously isn't always the case.
What lessons will I take away from this? #1 is that I need to check to be sure I have everything important before I walk out the door: keys, mags, cellphone, flashlight, knife, and gun. This is like a preflight checklist, no flying unless everything checks out. Second, I won't assume that I'll immediately notice when something is missing or out of place. I need to make a conscious effort to check the status, not just when I leave the house, but throughout the day.
Bottom line is I did something stupid today. Thankfully, it turned out that my stupidity never really posed a danger to anyone, but there were some anxious moments in there. Now I need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
March 26th, 2007 05:52 PM
I did almost the same thing a few weeks ago. I got home from a day of shopping with my wife and headed to the bathroom. I opened the door and saw my gun sitting on a hand towel by the commode. I reached for my holster and found it empty. I thought how could I do that!! Just think about what if I had to use it and went to draw and .....NO GUN.
I don't know what would have happened if I had found it missing when I was out like you did. Panic comes to mind.
There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those that don't.
March 26th, 2007 06:00 PM
Hey, forgetting your gun and leaving it at home isn't that big of a deal. Losing it would have been. In December of 2005, I took my 4handguns to the range for some shooting. The last gun that I fired was my Keltec P11. I hated that gun from the first time that I shot it, (and it has since moved on to another owner). The Keltec had one of it's failures to load, and was completely locked up. I was a newbie at the time, not very good at clearing these things, and I planned to take it to the gun shop down the street. I set it down, and pro ceded to load the range bag. At the time, my gun collection had outgrown my range bag, and I really needed a new, larger one. I left the range and went home. I brought out the guns for cleaning 2 days later. When i went through mt range bag, I couldn't find my Keltec. I searched everywhere, including the car, but I just couldn't fin it. I didn't sleep very well that night, and called the range the next day, and they found the gun, sitting on the shelf pointing down range.
I was relieved, and told them that I would be down. When I arrived, I found that they had called Metro Police, who couldn't find it as registered (the gun was registered, but new, and not yet in their computers). Metro came down, and picked it up. I then had to go down to the unclaimed property section to pick it up. Man I was so embarrassed. But, it wasn't found by a ne'er do well, and it wasn't picked up by a kid. We all make mistakes, and some of them are really bad. But as long as we learn from them, we can make sure that it doesn't happen again, or even worsen. I know that I will inventory my weapons every time that I take them out. And I know that you'll check your holster when you leave home. Learning from mistakes is the way that we grow.
March 26th, 2007 06:05 PM
I have become so comfortable carrying that I have found myself several times downstairs at home realizing that I'm wearing an empty holster - because I left my gun upstairs.
I mentally beat myself in the head as I go get my gun, but I also understand that I have to physically check because I really will not notice whether the gun is there or not.
March 26th, 2007 06:08 PM
Funny story, and I'm glad nothing worse than a little worrying came of it. I always run my little "pre-flight check" before running out the door, usually out of fear of remembering my gun and forgetting my CHL.
March 26th, 2007 06:23 PM
I know how you feel, but the, "Hey, where the *#^& is my gun!" thinking only lasted a minute or two for me. I work days, my wife works nights, so I am the one who gets the kids up in the morning and drops them off at school. Everyday, my routine is the same. Get dressed, figure out how I can best carry with what I've chosen to wear, get holster, retrieve gun from under my pillow where it spends the night with me. After that, I take the kids to school, then come home and wait for the car pool to arrive.
About three weeks ago, I get home from dropping my kids off to gather up my things for work before my car pool shows up. As I walk in the door, my four year old is just getting up. Whenever I walk in the house and see a child, I always check my gun to make sure it is securely in the holster... well this time it wasn't. My first fear was that it fell out in the parking lot at one of kid's schools. I was just about to run out the door and head back to the schools, when I thought, "What if it is still in bed?"
I walk into the bedroom, where my wife is sitting up in bed, holding my Beretta. She checks every morning to make sure I take it with me, or lock it up in the rare case where I can't carry that day. I'm glad she checked. I'd hate to think if my four year old had cralwed into bed with her, which he sometimes does.
Now, we go over the rules everyday about what he should do if he sees one of my guns or any gun lying around, but I really don't want to have to put those rules to the test. Thankfully, I've got a wife who knows to check up on her husband, or I might still be searching the school parking lots.
Needless to say, I don't think I will be making that same mistake again.
So, learn from it, and make an extra effort to not let it happen a second time. The great thing about being human is that we are all human..... or something like that.
When the messenger arrives and says 'Don't shoot the messenger,' it's a good idea to be prepared to shoot the messenger, just in case.
March 26th, 2007 06:32 PM
I had something similar happen yesterday. It wasn't my handgun, but worrysome to me. As I was prepping for bed, I gathered all of my daily garb: wallet, car keys, both sets of work keys, sunglasses, cell phone, pocket knife...oh, crap...where's my knife?
The wife and I had taken the kids to the park to play, and out to eat a bite, and since I hadn't needed my knife, I assumed it was still there. I remebered putting on my pocket before we left, but when I was preping for bed, it wasn't there. I checked the car, the garage, couch, everywhere I could think. I went in to the office/spare bedroom, and checked the floor under the chair and desk. I reached up and grabbed the desk to help myself up and there it was, on the edge of the desk. Have no idea how it got there. I definately don't remember putting it there, and didn't see it when I got down on the floor.
"A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." British Prime Minister Tony Blair
March 26th, 2007 06:35 PM
Man do I know that feeling. Halfway home after a long day in a long week the panic set in ... I have the revolver but WHERE is the 1911? OH CRAP! Rush rush rush...
Not in the car lock box, not in the range bag, the console, or the glove box. Walk into the house ... Not in the OPEN bedside access safe nor the storage Safe. OH CRAP! Tear the house apart looking high and low ... Finally my wife calls and I sheepishly ask if she found anything unusual ... "Yep, and I hid it pretty well!"
Doom on me ...
Wait, my wife is short and the place I ALWAYS miss finding things is ... secured in a case up in the top back of the lowest cupboard behind the lazy susan and tupperware (Appropriatly embarassing for a 1911 to be shoved in with the tupperware :-))
Man was that a bad feeling! Now my non-carry guns stay in the safe and I check the location of BOTH the revolver AND the 1911 before I leave the house EVERY time.
Last edited by plblark; March 26th, 2007 at 06:46 PM.
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March 26th, 2007 07:10 PM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
Thx for ''coming clean'' No one is infallible tho we try to be.
The initial realization of an empty holster (when not expected) is a heart stopper at first. For good reason of course.
My fave was to forget to pick up gun and reholster after bathroom (at home) .. and get down to office (bottom of yard) and realize the error. The real important thing tho is when leaving home particularly and the ''pre-flight check'' is and has to be the way to go.
I knock on wood as I say this - I have never (yet!) gotten anywhere away from home and had this happen - but only because of the check - which for me is sixfold, and carried out from left to right.
Wallet, check ......... Wave, check......... Flashlight, check ........... knife, check ........ keys, check ...... and finally, gun? check!
I have been in truck leaving driveway and done that check - and found all was not correct. Finding that wallet is missing is no fun either until it's found!
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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March 26th, 2007 07:19 PM
I did something bad too, but different.
I was wearing around the house, figuring this is the place to find out what way of wearing a cheapo, clip on holster would hold the gun securly and be comfortable. Then I get busy making dinner, realize that we need brown sugar and head to the store. The problem: I'm still waiting for my license. Lucky for me I didn't get stopped or anything, and I guess I found the right spot on my hip for the holster. Cause I forgot it was there.
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March 26th, 2007 08:34 PM
I keep em in the safe unless I am wearing em, so it helps keep track of em. So far, it has worked out.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
March 26th, 2007 09:44 PM
I have had a similar thing happen to me. I didn't forget my gun, but I had a bad magazine that was in my gun for a couple of months that didn't feed "at all'. I shoot at least once a week(IDPS,STEEL,BOWLING PINS) I had purchased a couple of Mags. I had plenty so what I would do Is pull the mag that has my defense ammo and put that in my range bag, and shoot with my other mags. This went on for a couple of months until one time at the range I happened to try to use my carry magazine. It would fire the first shot and that was It. I guess having one shot in a gun fight is better than nothing but it still made me think!
"LESSON LEARNED" Make sure your equipment works properly. Rotate your magazines
LIFES JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE AT THE "GRAVE" SAFELY ,IN A WELL PRESERVED BODY.BUT RATHER TO SKID IN SIDEWAYS TOTALLY WORN OUT SHOUTING "HOLY S@#$...WHAT
March 26th, 2007 10:24 PM
I have not had this experience and I hope I never do. I am quite comfortable carrying and have on occasion completely forgotten that I had my gun on but so far, I have managed to not forget to put it on.
Glad everything turned out well for you.
March 26th, 2007 10:54 PM
not as bad as a gun but I left my cell phone at a restraurant this weekend and when I went back they were like oh by the way ya'll dropped a knife too.... I was wondering how many more things we could possibly lose at one time.
I would freak out if I lost my gun.
March 26th, 2007 11:00 PM
I know the scary feeling of reaching for something and not having it there. In my case it was my wallet, with my creds. I had my gun, not the creds.
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