Rob Pincus

How to Pick Up a Dropped Gun

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   3  mins

If you drop your gun, there are some important dos and don’ts for picking it up, from both safety and tactical standpoints. Rob Pincus demonstrates the best way to pick up your dropped gun.


During handgun training courses, Rob encourages shooters to drop their gun if they get a piece of hot brass down their shirt or behind their eyepro. Students may also drop their gun on a fumbled draw or if the gun becomes entangled with clothing.

This can happen off the range to concealed carry holders too, whether due to a holster problem, poor gun handling under stress, or other reasons.


1. Do not try to catch a gun in midair. If you’ve dropped it, let it fall to the ground. This is so you won’t grab the gun, hit the trigger, and accidentally fire the gun.

2. Make sure your drop safety, your inertial safeties, are all intact. Don’t bypass or disconnect them. This way, when the gun does hit the ground, it won’t go off.


If you practice picking your gun up off the ground, you’ll be better prepared to do it if it happens during an incident.

1. Body position: Kneel or squat to pick up the gun. Do not bend at the waist and reach down—this is an unbalanced position, and it means your head and eyes are on the ground, not up and observing your environment. It also leads to swinging the gun up with an extended arm. If you squat or even place one knee on the ground, you can keep your head up and see what’s happening around you.

2. Hand position: Do not pick up the gun with your hand shaped like a claw. You may hit the trigger and set the gun off while it’s on the ground. Instead, grab it with a flat hand and open fingers, next move the hand into the grip you want, then lift the gun with a bent elbow and bring it into your ready position. At the same time, you can stand up—or stay down, depending on the circumstances.

Rob also demonstrates what to do if the gun hits the ground in a position that is not convenient for you to pick up.

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6 Responses to “How to Pick Up a Dropped Gun”

  1. Michael Turnbeaugh

    It's not just the brain dead at a convenience store that results in dropped guns. My holster fell apart as I was walking across a parking lot. The actual holster rotated and dumped my gun on the ground. Fortunately it was 6:30 a.m. with no one around so I knelt down, picked up the pistol (just as Rob shows) and returned to the car to change holsters. I was fortunate that I had a spare holster with me.

  2. Lowell R Yates

    Great video. You are actually teaching more than how to pick up a gun. The take away i got was how to be better alert in a fight. Also, no matter how mundane the task is, stay aware of you surroundings and never be complacent.

  3. Gary Truckey

    Great instruction! My question is: As a ccw bearer, what should my response be if I see a civilian drop his ccw? Do I just wait and see if he poses a threat AFTER he retrieves his weapon or should I at least put my hand to my ccw? What's the prudent thing to do without without causing a threat myself?

  4. Mike

    Great points! I am going to add that to mu CCW Classes that I teach! One thing for YOU to consider Rob, enjoy those limber knees while they still work great. There many of us whose knees have gotten very rusty. If we do manage to get knelt, it is often very hard to get back up again. Please give that some thought, as will I. Thank!

  5. David Webb

    Good points all (especially the note about checking your surroundings in a public place before attempting retrieval), but what if mobility issues limit your ability to safely take a knee and/or return to a standing position? I'd opine that you should 1. Ask for help if you're on a populated shooting range and/or 2. Clearing and holstering the weapon before attempting to stand 3. After weapon is cleared and made safe, check the muzzle for any obstructions before resuming the course of fire. In actual defensive shooting (life on the line), you've got to consider issues of cover/concealment, etc. before deciding exactly what to do. Thanks for covering this important topic - more discussion and consideration is a good thing, and visualization of "what would you do?" can't be overemphasized.

  6. Allen D. Benge

    Excellent video. Back in the day, I was a deputy sheriff in Arizona and we trained on this exact act as we often had to recover weapons that had been used in a suicide or homicide. Thanks for a clear concise video.

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