Last week, Larry Vickers outlawed appendix carry in his classes, citing safety concerns. Now the blog world is going nuts about it. He even says in his Facebook statement that he doesn’t think appendix is a bad idea, he just thinks you are asking for trouble at a high round count class when you have to holster that many times in one day. I can understand his point.
Holstering your gun at the appendix doesn’t make it any more possible that you will have a negligent discharge (ND), but it makes the consequences of an ND a lot more intense. If you have an ND while holstering your gun at the appendix position, you could end your life. There are a lot of things there you don’t want to lose and a lot of ways to make you bleed to death. If you have an ND while holstering on your hip you get “Glock leg”, a not so endearing term for when you shoot yourself in the leg. The slang came about when police officers switched from revolvers to Glocks and shot themselves in the leg. Lots of things contributed to the police officers shooting themselves, switching to Glocks was only one factor, but the name stuck for a while. When cops switched to the Glock sidearm, they normally got new holster designs. The new holsters included thumb breaks that left extra flaps of leather on top of the holster, and the new holsters all had covered trigger guards. If you go back a little further in police history, you will see a lot of speed rigs for six shooters that didn’t have covered trigger guards. So the cops could actually holster their weapons “safely” (at least not have the gun discharge) with their fingers on the trigger. The other factor that was proven more than once was the thumb break getting inside the trigger guard and discharging the weapon as the officer pushed the gun all the way into the holster.
While Glock leg is embarrassing (I know someone personally that has done it coming out of a holster), it won’t kill you. Having an ND with an appendix rig just might.
No instructor wants to see anyone hurt on their range, especially not one of their students. Good instructors take their students’ safety very seriously. Most instructors take on students and quickly think of them as “their men” like a commander in the military thinks of the soldiers under him. None of us want to see anyone get hurt.
Vickers looked at the trends and thinks the possibility is too high at his class for someone to get hurt with an appendix rig, so he simply outlawed them in his class.
On my range, I don’t allow Blackhawk SERPA holsters. I think they are way too dangerous and are a good way to get Glock leg. I suggest that no one use them. But then, my beloved (sometimes stupid) Marine Corps started issuing them, they started getting more popular again. Hopefully it won’t become M9 leg or SERPA leg. It probably won’t because the Marines are required to carry their M9s with the safety on.
My friend that had Glock leg got it from a SERPA holster that he misused in a competition and had the gun discharge into his leg. I don’t want any of my students to ever shoot themselves, so I suggest they don’t use a SERPA holster ever.
I respect Larry Vickers and his opinion. I carry a gun appendix all the time, but don’t draw and holster all the time constantly. When I started carrying appendix, I actually carried an unloaded gun for two days just to assure myself that there wouldn’t be any problems with me carrying a gun in that location. Now it’s just an everyday thing.
In the end, look at everyone’s opinion and reasons (if they don’t have a reason, then don’t listen to their opinion). Hold those reasons against what you know, how you carry, and how you fight. Determine if you should be using their opinion or not. Also take a “no BS” look at what they are telling you that maybe unsafe. Make sure your ego isn’t in the way before you make a decision about how you will operate.