No one likes to hear about accidental or negligent discharges (depending on your school of thought, those two are one in the same), particularly when they result in someone’s death. The case of a 24-year-old Detroit woman who was killed when she hugged an off-duty policeman at a party—the embrace discharging his IWB holstered .40 Smith & Wesson into the young woman’s chest—resonated very strongly with me. The policeman was a veteran on the force, a man who was not new to carrying a firearm and was not engaging in irresponsible behavior. He was simply doing what many of us do every day, and it ended in disaster. Though this tragic occurrence may have been one of the true accidental discharges, it serves as a reminder that we must be just as vigilant in the physical means by which we carry and secure our firearm as we are in maintaining its function and knowing when it’s appropriate to use it.

Choose the right holster.

It’s a bit of a catch-22: You need your weapon to be quickly accessible in order for it to be useful as a defensive tool. But you also need a holster that keeps it firmly adhered to your body and to prevent your weapon from coming loose or getting in the way during your daily routine. If it’s more secure, that often means it’s slower to access, too. A well-made holster should bridge those needs, keeping your firearm secure and held comfortably while still providing fast access when needed. With such a holster, accidental contact from an embrace, a fall, a collision, etc., should not be able to cause your handgun to discharge. Period. This is why finding a holster that fits your needs is never as simple as grabbing the first or the most inexpensive one you find. Spend the extra money on one that fits the necessary criteria and test it with an unloaded weapon before using it for everyday carry.

Secure your weapon at home, too.