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Q: “I see a lot of military folks with pistols held horizontally in shoulder holsters here in Afghanistan. When I retired, we were taught to never point our weapons at people you don’t intend to shoot. Has that changed to ‘never point our weapons at people you don’t intend to shoot unless they are standing behind you?’ Can we at least get a sign on their back stating ‘If you can read this my pistol is pointed at your chest. (Hope you don’t mind)’? What’s up with that?”

A: Well, to be honest, this is one of the few times where the question can be longer than the answer. Because, really, this should be a rhetorical question — of course there are safety issues with the under-the-shoulder holster pointing backwards.

But after having asked this question several times in other venues to military officials, the best answer is this: because there is no policy banning the holsters. We agree: one of the fundamental rules of gun safety is not to point a weapon at someone you don’t intend to shoot. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t loaded or if the safety is on, you just don’t do it.

So, until all military commands ban the holsters, they’ll continue to pop up from time to time.

Got a question about goings-on in the Mideast? E-mail Stripes at: news@estripes.osd.mil


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