I was watching ESPN this morning while doing Crossfit, and during the course of the workout they showed a few clips from an interview with Plaxico Burress, former NY Giants wide receiver. For those not up to speed, Plaxico was convicted on Monday of felony firearms charges stemming from a negligent discharge he had in an NYC nightclub last year. I think that it’s valuable for us as gun owners to revisit the incident and see what lessons can be gleaned from Plaxico’s experience.
- Don’t carry illegally: Plaxico did not have a New York carry permit for his pistol, and as such was in violation of the law by carrying his gun. Seriously, don’t carry firearms illegally.
- Use a holster: during the interview I saw, Plaxico described the circumstances of his ND. He said he was ascending a flight of stairs, and felt the gun slipping down his pants and sliding towards the ground. He grabbed at the gun to keep it from hitting the ground, and got his finger into the trigger guard resulting in the “bang”. Get a good holster and a good belt.
- Don’t try to catch a dropped gun: most modern firearms, such as Plaxico’s Glock are “drop safe”, meaning they can be dropped on a hard surface and not discharge. If you drop your Glock/XD/Beretta, don’t do something dumb and try to catch it. That leads to NDs. Of course, if you carry a gun that isn’t drop safe, like a some com-bloc import Makarov or something, you should still NOT try and catch your gun, just pray a little harder as it heads to the ground.
- Seriously, get a good holster.
All illegalities of the situation aside for a moment (I assume we’re all smart enough to not carry illegally) the holster/belt issue is probably the best lesson to bring home out of this. In the interview, Plaxico said he had the gun in his waistband, which we’d call Mexican-style carry, and as mentioned above it started slipping when he went up the stairs.
In IDPA, we have what’s called “the jump test” for holsters and ammo carriers. Wearing your gun, you should be able to jump 3 inches in the air (toes off the ground) and land without your firearm getting dislodged by the movement. If your carry rig doesn’t keep the firearm stable during this kind of extremely LIGHT psychical movement, then it’s not going to retain the gun properly if you have to run, jump, or perform strenuous movement often associated with fighting for your life. Get a good holster, and get a proper belt to wear it on.