Sticking a gun into the waistband without a holster is a popular image. It seems like we have tough guys do this in many movies. While it may be convenient, I do not expect it to be very comfortable. If you have ever doubted the value of a good holster (and a good sense of personal values), consider this story from Chicago.

On Halloween last year, 19-year-old Terrion Pouncey made a decision that would change his life forever. He decided to rob the Maxwell Street Express, a hot dog stand at 1058 W. 87th Street in Chicago’s notoriously sweet and loving south side. His choice of intimidating weapon was a .38-caliber pistol, which was then and is now almost certainly prohibited in this all-American “gun-free municipal zone.”

Pouncey approached the hot dog stand at about 6 a.m., pulled the gun and demanded the money in the cash register and the two employees’ personal wallets. One of the victims, a 39-year-old man, was carrying a bucket of grease when Pouncey flashed his semi-auto and pressed it to the victim’s head. I imagine that Pouncey was loud, insistent and threatening, and the muzzle jabbed into the victim’s face must have felt like a howitzer to the frightened employee. Making an effort to comply, however, this employee called for his co-worker to hand over the cash from the register. He himself reached for his wallet. The co-worker attempted to hand him the money from the cash register (which, at this hour, was no more than a stack of one-dollar bills). Of course, you know what comes next: The bucket slipped, and grease splashed everywhere. The employee slipped and slid and dropped the money.

Pouncey scooped up the scattered greenbacks and started to run, all the while attempting to secure the gun in his waistband. The gun fired, and according to multiple reliable newspaper accounts, Pouncey shot himself in the penis. Chased by the 39-year-old restaurant employee, our master criminal ran a couple blocks, slumped on the steps of a nearby home and collapsed from blood loss and pain.

Pouncey was eventually taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was arrested by the Chicago Police and charged with two counts of armed robbery. Judge Stephanie Miller ordered the young master criminal be held without bond. Police recovered the two male employees’ wallets as well as the .38-caliber pistol.

The Sun-Times said “the gun accidentally went off.” Of course, even we, not being clever, sleuthing newspaper reporters, know that a gun goes off only when someone pulls the trigger.

Moral of the story: Buy a good holster or two and teach yourself to use them quickly, comfortably and efficiently.