A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Deep Concealment Discharge

From The High Road:
"I'm not eager to post this, but an airline pilot friend of mine told me that my AD changed his mind about how he carries on duty, and maybe my story will change someone elses' mind as well.

Friday, Sep. 5 is a day I will long remember. I'm 47 y/o, married, father of three (10,18,20 y/o olds) and I've been shooting since I was ten. I've never had an AD or ND; I've never been injured by a firearm. I'm the type that triple checks for safety; the type that reads the manuals of a firearm to know how it operates.

This spring, I bought a CZ 82 which is a Makarov design, 9mm Makarov caliber pistol. I've shot the CZ 75's on several occasions and I like the simplicity of the CZ design along with the all steel frame. I'm not a big fan of autoloaders, as they have a propensity for AD/ND that revolvers don't have. But, I figured the little gun would be a good BUG and good for the wife or girls to shoot and/or carry. At the time, I only had one handgun and that was my full size, Colt .357.

One big problem with the CZ 82 is finding a holster. I had looked at a lot of holsters and was intrigued with the Smart Carry holster for deep concealment. Reno had a big gun show at the end of August, and I had hoped to find the folks from Smart Carry there so I could look at their holsters 'up close'. Instead, I found someone selling a nylon version of this holster. He claimed that this holster was thinner and the nylon was tougher than the Smart Carry material, so the holster would last longer. At $30 the price was right, and the CZ snuggled into the pocket like it was made for it.

So, I tried out the holster first with the gun empty. I normally carry the CZ 'cocked and locked', and I wanted to make sure the manual safety wouldn't come off. The problem I had was that the gun wanted to slide into a 45 degree angle with that double stack grip canted over on the right side, which was uncomfortable. Anyway, the gun seemed to carry safely with the manual safety staying on, but the problem was comfort. I wasn't carrying with the gun trapped under my belt, it was below the belt and not comfortable.

I pulled up the Smart Carry site and the video they have of putting on a Smart Carry rig and tried that technique, which seemed to work. You have the gun carried on the centerline of your body, with the grip under (or just below) your belt and the barrel pointed straight down. On the morning of the accident, this is how I was carrying the weapon.

Friday morning and I've put the holster on, slipped the gun into the pouch and I'm planning to go to town on errands. The dogs are bugging me to go for a walk along the river, and I figure it won't take that much time. We live on a hill above a small river, so I take the dogs and head out down the dirt road to the river. At the river, I check the guns' safety, and it's still on (remember, this is a new position for me to carry it in).

I walked for three or four hundred yards along the river, as usual. Coming back there is a point at which I have to stop and pull the stickers out of my little Schnauzers fur. I squatted down to pull the stickers, and the weapon discharged one round into my groin.

When the weapon discharged, I remember standing up and yanking the weapon out of my pants, wondering just what the #$%^ had happened. It's an odd feeling being shot. The body is screaming that it's in trouble while the mind is racing to catch up on what just happened.

I realized I was bleeding pretty good, but not enough to have hit an artery. I safed the weapon, stuck it behind my back and put pressure on the wound. I then discovered a big mistake I had made---no cell phone! I had to walk back, about 1/4 mile to the house to roust my daughters and call 911.

I'll make a long story short in that I was Careflighted to a trauma center where a very good surgeon took three hours to repair the damage. The round was a 95 gr. Hornady XTP that patially fragmented. I had three holes in my penis and a smashed left testicle. I know this is a bit graphic, but especially the guys need to realize what can happen when you carry a gun 'ready to go' inside your pants.

I was discharged the next Monday, and a full recovery is expected. Folks, everybody needs to be really careful not only how they carry, but in what they carry. I can only figure that having the slide under the belt allowed the safety to come off leaving the gun cocked. The holster material was very thin, which apparently allowed the heavy denim of my jeans to bunch into the trigger guard and set the gun off.

One of the rules of choosing a holster is to get one that covers the trigger guard---but you also need one that is made of a material stiff enough to prevent anything from pushing on that trigger!

You also really need to think about a worst case scenario if you're carrying a semi-auto IWB that is ready to fire. Is that really a good idea? Or would a revolver be a better choice. I know that some jurisdictions have rules on firearm carry that make it almost impossible to carry except in deep concealment. But do yourself a favor and carry as safely as possible."
I want to be clear on a couple of items. First, this unfortunate injury did not happen to me. No further telephone calls or condolences to my spouse are necessary.

Second, I use the SmartCarry holster frequently with a cocked and locked 1911. I believe it is a safe and superior product. I have never had a 1911 become cocked and unlocked in it, much less discharge. Most holsters, if one looks at them critically, place some part of somebody's anatomy at risk some of the time. The difference between the holster used here and a SmartCarry holster is significant in the thickness of the material surrounding the firearm. That bit of thickness protecting the trigger makes all the difference.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

OUCH! I bet he is embarrased. Lucky though. I wonder if he contacted the MFG. Seems the flimsy design is partly responsible. Maybe they'd give him a refund?

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...


I see a lot about carrying weapons on the 'net, but little about HOW to carry them. And I would never be comfortable carrying with the pistol pointing at any part of my body.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Bob@thenest said...

I've carried both a 9mm and a .45 in my SmartCarry and see no likelihood that such an incident would happen with it. As the poster said, the material needs to be sturdy, and the SmartCarry material seems to be fit for its use. My take on it is that a cheaper (I assume) knockoff is going to cost you in the end.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...


I'd always worried enough about that to never try one of those holsters, Now I guarantee I'll be sticking with leather IWB...

10:10 PM  
Blogger Reno Sepulveda said...

Yikes! Here's to a full recovery. You see a lot of adds for cheap holsters in the back of gun rags. Sometimes cheap is pretty darned expensive.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous tjm said...

I am not so sure what to think of this. I use thunderwear (like smartwear) and when I carry my 1911 I always carry cocked and locked, I do find myself checking the safety a lot but that has to do with how light it is. I do not use these holsters in the normal or intended fashion. I wear it up high so that the grip of the gun clears my belt and makes it easier to grab. I find if I am wearing a belt and it is under that I can not get to it. I also like small of the back style carry when ever possible. But most importantly, even when I carry in the front I use a cross draw and angle the gun to the outside of my leg and NEVER towards my groin. Stories like this make me rethink how I do things or at the very least remind me to be extra careful when I carry in certain ways (I am always careful though, no matter what). A groin is a terrible thing to waste so I guess the lesson is “don’t shoot yours off”.Thanks for the reminder Xavier.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

Thanks for posting this. I am sorry that it happened to someone, but I am grateful to learn from it.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Screw a refund - that's a product liability suit. And a big one. Assuming, of course, that the holster isn't simply a no name concoction.

The holster is clearly not fit for its intended purpose and dangerously so. Those that manufacture, sell, and distribute it could be held liable.

I'm not an attorney, and I'm not giving out legal advice - but I think this gentleman should contact a lawyer and soon. (And it's impossible to tell precisely from his story if a product liability action would stick with the present facts, more information is needed) If for no other reason than to get a potentially very dangerous product off the market.

That said, it obviously goes without saying that personal responsibility is paramount - no amount of money is going to make this gentleman whole again, and he's lucky it missed that artery.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

Sadly, a lot of people read "Cocked & Locked" on the intarwebz and just figure that's the way to carry a gun.

There are a lot of firearms that can be carried in C1 that I would never carry that way in a rigid belt holster, let alone a soft nylon sack.

A 1911? Sure. It has multiple redundant safeties that block the sear, safety notches on the hammer in case of sear nose failure, and a thumb safety that can be adjusted until it is quite positive in its action. But I'd still want a holster that holds the gun firmly in position and covers the trigger...

8:23 AM  
Blogger Matt G said...

I sure do appreciate his courage in being so candid.

9:04 AM  
Blogger pinkandgeek said...

oh my dear goodness. thats a tremendously cringe inducing story

9:15 AM  
Anonymous buzz_knox said...

How does one get a full recovery from a "smashed left testicle"? That would seem to be one of those "when it's gone, it's gone" items.

9:44 AM  
Blogger "Tarak" said...

Yyyyyyyouch. Yeah, I'd be on the horn awful quick with that company.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should give proper attribution to the site you lifted this article and pictures from:


11:15 AM  
Blogger staghounds said...


I would have thought she'd get offers...

I lose, drop, break, misplace, spill, and bump into things all the time.

As long as there is some way to unleash a stressed spring, I figure I'll find it eventually.

If it's on me, it's DA for the first shot and no hammer spur. And while it's on me, it's not pointed at any part of me.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Martini said...

this is gonna sound shitty, but here goes... you get what you pay for. I have no intention of ever using smart carry or thunderwear, but at least I know that they are well made and have a price tag to match, in short the guy saved 20 bucks by purchasing a cheap knock off and got shot for it. I think I will stop complaining about the cost of good holsters.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

Product liability? Whatever happened to "You are responsible for your bullets?"

I feel really bad for this guy. But, you're responsible to make sure your carry is safe for you and for others. People will sell things they think people will buy and can use. It's up to us to make sure we can use them safely.

As to deep concealment not covering any part of your body, that's probably pretty hard to avoid, too. Right now, the muzzle in my IWB is partially covering a bit of my butt. You've got to keep stuff off of your trigger - and not just your finger off of it - everything.

I have a CZ82. The DA pull isn't that bad. I've never been sure exactly why I'd feel a need to carry it cocked and locked. Plus, the safety is ambidextrous - two sides to watch.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

You should give proper attribution to the site you lifted this article and pictures from:

Anon, if you look at the top of the post, you will see a link to the thread. that, and I PMed the gentleman who shot himself for permission.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Corsair, The Mostly Harmless said...


Here’s my $.02.

First, I hope for a speedy and full recovery for the correspondent.

Second, I am trying to figure out how an IWB (Inside The Waistband) holster allows the muzzle to ever cross the groin? Now I’ve only been carrying for the past decade or so, so I don’t claim to be an expert. During that time ALL my holsters have been IWB holsters, carried strong side either just to the right, or left of the back pocket. I can’t feature how you do an IWB in the front half of the body without causing problems?

Third, while some fine folks I greatly respect use the “Thunderwear” holsters, they (as far as I am able to tell) do so only with snubby double action revolvers. NO WAY I am allowing an autoloader NEAR the groin (My apologies to St. John of Browning.. I love your work, but machines sometimes fail). If I have an AD/ND with the configuration I use, the worst I would get is a crease in the buttock to remember it by.

Again, let me say: I bear no ill will to the writer. I hope he recovers fully, and retakes his place amongst the Good Guys.

After 10 years of carrying, I have YET to find a nylon IWB holster that I felt I could trust. ON the belt, yes. Uncle Mikes makes a range of fine belt holsters. INSIDE, I will opt for good stiff leather every time.

Corsair, The Mostly Harmless

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

He is lucky that the injury wasn't more severe, esp. considering how far he had to walk. The femoral artery (a large artery), femoral vein, and femoral nerve all run along the inside of the thighbone. If a bullet fragment had cut the artery or vein, we would not be reading this gentleman's letter. I am glad the injury was not any worse than it was.

Of Note: It would be great if all shooters/hunters took at least a basic first aid course. An ambulance is not always just a phone call away. One can bleed to death in the amount of time it takes help to arrive, and this can sometimes be avoided just by knowing where a few arterial pressure points are.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Geriatric Nursing said...

What a story! I use to work in the OR in Wyoming and have seen a number of gunshot wounds. Thanks for sharing.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, but i think he had something else in his holster (keys?) or in his pocket.
his explanation posits putting primarily lateral and some rearward pressure on the trigger with hammer cocked and safe off.
trying this with my own cz82 shows this to be very difficult with just cloth and pressure.
i would not wish his injury on anyone but i feel some important information is missing


12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one to wonder how he got three holes in his penis?
Did he have it folded for storage?
Did he coil it or flake it?(navy)
I'm just curious!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Matt G said...

It occurs to me that there is never any good that comes from a story that includes the words "discharge" and "groin."

8:38 AM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

Anonymous - I find the SA on the CZ82 very light. If, in walking, one had disengaged the ambidextrous safety, I could see a fold of some jeans zipper getting into the trigger guard. Remember that the trigger guard on a CZ82 is quite oversized so that gloved fingers can still fit.

Squat down and watch what your jeans zipper does - it folds and creates points that go in and out. One of those points pushing into the trigger guard through thin nylon could do it.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


you might be right. it is an awfully large triggger guard, and my cz82 may have a harder trigger pull than others.

an unfortunate story all around.


4:33 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

It was courageous of him to share his experience with everyone.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

A painful story, sorry he had to endure, glad he didn't drain out.

I think anyone who carries Condition 1 should be using quality leather or Kydex, or whatever will keep the gun in exactly Condition 1.

A friend has told me that my concern was not warranted when I asked why he would continue to carry his mini 1911 loose in a belly pak, after it turned up with safety off. (He confirmed that it had happened before). If something pushed back on the trigger, it might push the grip safety against some resistance like clothing or junk in the bag.

I don't even have to discuss that further.

I bought a holster for my 1911 that would actually contribute to the safety's dropping, the thumb snap would work on it. It now only occasionally carries a Glock 34. Safely!

Anyone who would carry cocked and locked in "anything" without 100% fail safe coverage of trigger and safety, including during the draw, should simply re-think things!!!

Bruce Hinton
Antijihaddi at large.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used a SmartCarry for a couple of years, it's the only concealment holster that I feel comfortable wearing anywhere. I tried going with a round in chamber a couple of times with my Kahr MK9 and I just couldn't do it, I was deathly afraid of the thing going off, even with the long trigger pull. So I use it knowing that I'll have to rack a round if I ever need it. I figure if I don't have the extra second to do that I'll be in over my head anyway. The nice thing about carrying to this depth is that if you're blindsided and KO'd there's a much smaller chance that they'll find your weapon. Good to have an example of what can possibly go wrong, thanks for sharing! Oh and as for the comments relating to quality...the SmartCarry is a quality item but it's soft fabric, you can manipulate the trigger to a degree while the gun is holstered, quality or no, that's enough to give me pause!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It took "Balls" he he he (nervous laugh), no pun intended, to post your experience Xavier, thank God your "Child Bearing" days are gone like mine! I like to carry a Glock and am always XTra careful about what I put it in, mostly Kydex or Kydex/Leather combinations, I have a little fanny pack I will sometimes wear with a J-Frame snubby tucked in there but NEvEr one of my Glocks, I love them but dont trust them ifn you know what I mean?

I had my AD with one of the little Freedom Arms .22 Mag derringers when attempting to put the loaded cylinder back into the frame, I killed dead an old piece of cedar and a piece of drywall in my old cabin in Kodiak. Thumb slipped off the hammer as I had it pulled back to clear the cylinder, half the bullet down the barrel via a glancing blow to the forcing cone the other half alongside the barrel at a .45 deg angle luckily avoiding my left hand fingers, ears ringing, wondering Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Wife looks over and says nonchalantly "Are you happy now" and continues reading her book....Oh, and there was this 30 below zero day I just HAD to go to the range and play with my new XP-100 pistol, I closed the bolt on a live .223 round and it sent it into the dirt in front of the bench, extreme cold weather, greasy 8 oz. target trigger..I still would SWEAR I did not have my finger anywhere near that trigger but I could not reproduce the failure so who knows...nuff said...Se la vie..Be careful out there...


8:53 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Again, this was not me.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I bet that guy would give his left nut for a good holster...

oh wait...he did!!

10:55 PM  

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