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Hum Factors. 2013 Apr;55(2):425-34.

Response time, pistol fire position variability, and pistol draw success rates for hip and thigh holsters.

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  • 1School of Physiotherapy and Curtin Health innovation Research, Curtin University, Perth, Australia, G.P.O. Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.



The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of pistol holster position on pistol draw time and performance of police officers.


Proficient use of the lethal force option is critical to an officer's ability to survive. Traditionally, pistols were worn in hip holsters; however, recently, thigh holsters have also become popular. The effect of holster position on pistol draw performance has not been investigated.


For this study, 27 police officers, representing a range of holster familiarity, years of service, and gender, were assessed drawing a training pistol from both the thigh and hip holster positions via a 3-D motion analysis system. Participants were required to draw and fire toward a target as quickly and accurately as possible following a visual stimulus, three times successfully. Temporal characteristics, accuracy variability, and draw success rate were compared between the thigh and hip holster with repeated-measures ANOVA both unadjusted and adjusted for familiarity, years of service, and gender (p < .05).


No differences in the temporal variables, accuracy variability, or success rate were detected between the hip and thigh holster positions, either adjusted or unadjusted. Holster familiarity was found to significantly affect draw success rate, with participants more successful when drawing from their familiar holster.


Hip and thigh holster positions are both viable options in terms of draw time and accuracy. However, draw success rate will be negatively affected during initial use of an unfamiliar holster position. Further research should address the effect of familiarization on draw performance.

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