3 handgun retention options for open carry

You never—ever—want to let anyone take your gun away from you. Anyone trying to take your gun away may very well try to kill you with it, which is what I will assume if anyone ever tries to take my gun off me.

First, if someone is trying to take your gun, then it’s reasonable to assume they don’t or can’t legally have a gun themselves. Second, if someone goes for your gun, most likely the situation will meet all the elements needed for a justifiable use of deadly force. It doesn’t mean you have to use lethal means—that’s up to you—but a wise person who trains in self defense knows the eight fundamentals to consider before using force.

Frankly, retention is one of the biggest reasons I’m a fan of concealed carry.  Open carry gives outsiders access to grab at your weapon, no matter how good your carry system. No one can grab your gun if they don’t know it’s there.

I support open carry… sort of… but for this reason and many other reasons I cannot say that I am a fan of open carry. Alas, my choice to pursue a career in law enforcement has demanded that I open carry on a daily basis and as such, I have had to adapt my training to this practice.

So, whether you’re a cop like me, and you have to open carry, or if you’re on the range, etc., here are some tactical options for weapon retention.

1. Keep your gun in the holster—fight and bite if you must

Press down on your gun and don’t let anyone get it out. Having a retention holster—level I, II, or III—makes it more difficult for someone to get. Also, depending upon the brand, make and material, the entire holster may break or someone could be able to pull off a round while the gun is still in the holster.

There are several techniques designed to fend off attackers. Some of them include, going to the ground and laying on your gun. Others involved racking the guy’s eyes with your claws or twisting your body away from the attacker. Whatever you do, don’t let the attacker grab your gun. In other words, bite a hole in his neck, gouge his eyes out with your fingernails or take a pounding, but whatever you do, don’t let go of your gun. If the gun does come out of the holster, control the muzzle and fight for your life.

2. Use an edged weapon as a defensive tool

Be sure to try to keep the gun in the holster because pulling a knife won’t work well if the attacker pulls your gun out first and shoots you with it. That’s one of the reasons I prefer having a support side edged weapon that I can manipulate with one hand, which I wrote about in “3 pistol retention must haves for survival.”

Knives and guns are two totally different lethal tool options. I like to carry both and they complement each other famously. If you can’t shoot ‘em, stab ‘em.

3. Remove the gun and use it on the attacker

Although taking the gun out of the holster is an option which is neither wrong nor right (remember, situation and terrain dictate tactics), removing the gun from the holster could further lead into a struggle with the gun.  Additionally, if you’re not justified to shoot, can you fight holding a gun? Does your holster allow you to put your gun back quickly? Is that even a good idea?

Perhaps pointing the gun at your attacker would make him run away or fight harder. Either way, you need to be legally justified whether you’re going to pistol whip someone (which I don’t recommend) or shoot them, even though they may not be armed.

Alas, watch your back and keep your head on a swivel.

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time self-defense professional and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.