Why you should (almost) always keep your gun hand empty

Andrew H. was a Toronto police officer. He had been a police officer for over 22 years and was part of the department’s traffic unit.

One day, he was training with a nearby police department when he took a lunch break at a Tim Hortons restaurant around 2 p.m.

While he was eating lunch, a gunman entered the restaurant and ambushed Andrew for no reason.

Sadly, the officer was shot and killed.

A regional police chief said, “He was shot in an unprovoked and, may I say, in an ambush attack.”

Andrew didn’t have any interaction with the shooter before the incident.

The Toronto Police Chief said, “I committed to his family that they will have the full support of the Toronto Police Service every day going forward.”

The horrible truth these days is, police officers have become targets.

This is why police officers have to be careful and on alert, even when doing something as simple as eating lunch.

Police officers have to be ready to draw their guns at any moment.

And frankly, people who conceal carry should be ready to draw their gun in self-defense quickly too.

And here’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you’re out and about…

Most police academies teach officers to always keep their gun hand empty.

Some officers are taught to never carry anything in their gun hand.

Lunch boxes, coffee cups, and flashlights are taught to be carried in the “off-hand.”

Of course, you have to be realistic.

You can’t expect someone to not use your dominant hand when eating with a fork, or when writing notes, etc.

It’s a good ideal to strive for, even if it’s not always possible.

So, here are a few things that can help you keep your gun hand ready when you need it.

Muscle memory:

In a perfect world, we would train ourselves to never put anything in our gun hand so that it’s always free.

For example, maybe you are carrying your child or holding their hand and there is no way you would let go during a shooting incident.

However, there are things we can train to do to minimize how we carry things.

For instance, when clearing your home, you should always carry your flashlight in your non-shooting hand.

This is something that should become muscle memory just like shooting your gun.

Another example is if you are shopping with your spouse or holding a loved one’s hand, you should hold them with your non-shooting hand.

Again, think about all the times that your shooting hand is occupied with something else.

Think through simple ways to change your habits when it’s realistic to do so.

Drop it:

Another mindset to train for is dropping whatever is in our shooting hands when trouble kicks off.

For instance, if you are at the mall and shots ring out you need to be prepared to drop the smartphone in your hand and draw your gun.

It’s not natural for someone to think about dropping their $1,000 smartphone, but this is the mindset that can keep you alive.

Next time you are at the gun range you should take turns with others drawing your weapon when least expected.

For instance, maybe you are taking a break and someone yells “threat” at random.

Practice dropping whatever is in your hand and getting on target safely and quickly.

Dropping items is a learned skill, and it certainly won’t feel natural at first.

So, whether it’s groceries or a drink, let it go and stop the threat.

The “things” can be replaced. You and your loved ones cannot.

Practice with off-hand/one hand:

Realistically, there could be times when you’re carrying concealed and cannot free up our gun hand.

For example, if you are holding your child’s hand and gunshots erupt you might not want to let them go.

This is why it’s important to practice drawing and shooting with your off-hand.

If it’s physically impossible to draw with your off-hand, you should practice drawing the gun and transitioning it to the off-hand.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to practice shooting one handed.

Again, it could be so dangerous that you don’t want to let go of what you are holding onto.

I hope these ideas help you stay better prepared because emergencies happen and criminals attack when you least expect it.

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