Skip to comments.DHS watchdog confirms holster problems for armed pilots
Posted on 01/10/2009 10:36:15 AM PST by Yo-Yo
Concerns voiced by federal flightdeck officers over poorly designed holsters for their hand guns have been validated in a recently issued report by the Department of Homeland Security's office of inspector general (OIG).
Potential issues with guns in the cockpit were highlighted in March when a US Airways pilot, armed as part of the Transportation Security Administration's federal flightdeck officer programme, accidentally fired his handgun while his Airbus A319 was on the approach to Charlotte Douglas International airport in North Carolina after a flight from Denver, Colorado. The bullet pierced the left side of the cockpit and fuselage but did not cause any damage to the flight critical systems. None of the passengers or crew was hurt.
Although DHS officials will not confirm that the OIG investigation was linked to the US Airways incident, the scope of the project - to find out if the design of TSA-issued locking holsters used by the federal flightdeck officer programme increases the likelihood of an accidental discharge of a weapon in an aircraft cockpit - would appear to link the two.
"We examined the holster and observed that its design renders the weapon vulnerable to accidental discharges if improperly handled," says the OIG. "In a darkened cockpit, under the stress of meeting the operational needs of the aircraft, a pilot could inadvertently discharge the weapon by failing to ensure it is properly seated in the holster, securing the trigger lock, and then pushing the weapon inward to secure the holster snap."
Investigators also found that it was possible to fire the gun while inserting the hasp, or trigger lock, into an "incorrectly seated" weapon. "Using a scale, we determined that only 6-7lb [2.7-3.2kg] of lateral pressure on the padlock was sufficient to induce a discharge," the report says.
The OIG recommends a weapon locking system that is "simple and forgiving" and suggests the TSA should discontinue the use of the current locking holster and consider other methods for federal flightdeck officers to secure their weapons." The DHS declines to discuss the programme due to security concerns.
Give a person command of an aircraft on final approach to an airport surrounded by thousands of homes, but make sure his puny 9mm is safely locked away so he doesn't go bezerk or something.
Demonstration of how dangerous the TSA holster can be:
Why wouldn’t they just keep it in a locked box, holsters are for walking around with weapons.
I don't see why the weapon needs to be locked away at all. What's wrong with either a shoulder holster or just leaving the weapon in the cockpit when the officer leaves?
Given the fact that the copilot could run the whole darn aircraft into the ground, I don't think his unauthorized access to a Glock is going to make a huge difference.
An El Paso Saddlry “Threepersons” type design would be classy,,,maybe in a carved floral design in the tan leather? Unless of course, you’re going to Europe and you need that “modern look” found in todays hit movies. One a little less,, “southwestern lawman”.
And did i read this correctly? A PADLOCK through the trigger guard? Feds crack me up. Do the pilots have a proceedure like launching a nuclear missile??? Pilot and copilot simultaneously turn their keys? HAHAHHAAHAHAAA
I just watched the video demonstration on Youtube. The whole padlock thing is friggin’ STUPID!!!! No wonder the gun went off, with the padlock pulling right up against the trigger.
“It’s not really the holster, it’s the TSA’s insistance on punching a hole in the holster for a padlock, and the hole is place so the padlock hasp fits behind the trigger.”
Is the padlock to prevent a weapon grab? If the pilots go through the same training as Air Marshals, surely they are versed in weapon retention. I think a level 3 holster would be much more practical and safer.
No. When the flight officer is on the flight deck, he removes the padlock and wears the weapon. If the flight officer leaves the flight deck for any reason, he must remove the weapon from his belt and padlock it before unlocking the cockpit door. He must also have the weapon padlocked when walking through the airport.
Here is another youtube with the same expert explaining the procedures. I hesitated to use this clip the first time because it is from the Communist News Network.
“Trigger locks” in guns that are supposed to be ready for use. How stupid can government officials be?
Holsters have been around hundreds of years. Only an arrogant SOB would feel the need to redesign it. It would be interesting to see how much that redesign cost. Our Tax dollars at work.
I have a friend you is in the program. He explained what happened on that US Airways flight. It is as stated, the lock set off the weapon.
Yes, the rules are foolish with regard to locking the weapon when not in the cockpit, but this is what always happens when gov’t gets involved.....the rules get complicated, cumbersome and narrow.
Thanks for the info. Seems to me if the weapon can be discharged even with the padlock, the lock is nothing more than show. I carry the Glock 22 in .40 and the safety is built into the trigger. Assuming the 9mm is the same? If so, maybe they should switch models where the safety is somewhere on the frame. I’m sure the padlock is for PR because it serves no purpose other than to give the false appearance of a secure weapon.
I have dial-up internet and if I clicked on your links now I probably wouldn’t get to watch them until tomorrow this time.
The problem, if I can describe it clearly, is that a standard paddle style holster has a hole punched in it so that the padlock hasp should pass between the rear of the trigger and the trigger guard. When done properly, the gun cannot be withdrawn from the holster, as the hasp of the padlock won't let the trigger pass.
If the gun is partially out of the holster when the padlock is applied, then the hasp of the padlock is between the front of the trigger and the trigger guard. In this position, the flap of the holster at the rear of the slide cannot be snapped. So you push in the weapon to fully seat it into the holster, and the hasp of the padlock presses the Glock's trigger safety, and presses the trigger.
If a weapon such as the M1911, with a frame mounted safety, were used, then if the manual safety were applied then the same scenario would just result in the trigger not moving, and the weapon not fully seating into the holster. If the manual safety were not engaged, the weapon would still discharge when pressed into the holster.
If the TSA insists on this silly locking crap, then they need to provide a small lockbox for the weapon.
Thanks for the info. I’m clear now. I agree, a lock box in the cockpit would be best.
Accidental Discharge by airline pilot = Glock. Plaxico = Glock. Federal Agent in front of school children = Glock. One of my friends had an accidental discharge with a Glock. I won’t own a Glock. Flame away....
That’s not something you want to do with a loaded Glock! (No grip safety or slide safety.) Are they required to use a specific type of gun? They would be better off using one with a built-in lock. (Somebody makes one, but can’t remember who.)
Glock is no more dangerous than a revolver.
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