How’s Your Draw?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Back when I started carrying, many years ago, I became a bit preoccupied with my draw. It’s not that I expected to be in a shootout, like the old western movies; although I have to admit, I felt a bit foolish, like I was actually practicing for one of those movies. But when I found out that the average armed encounter is three shots in five seconds, I realized I didn’t have any time to spare.

Part of my personal problem is that my eyes aren’t very good. I wear glasses, which allow me to see, but the glasses don’t focus well on my front sight. Therefore, although I practice shooting with iron sights, I have laser sights on anything I carry. So, to me drawing includes getting the laser on, so that I can shoot more than ten feet away with accuracy. Fortunately, I discovered laser sights that come on when the gun is gripped, saving me the couple of seconds it took to get the laser sight on.

Nevertheless, with only five seconds of time available in the average armed encounter, I can’t see any reason to waste time. If I can’t have my gun drawn and aimed in a second and a half, I’m not going to have more than about a second per shot. While I do practice rapid-fire shooting, I recognize the inherent inaccuracies that come along with it. considering that there may be others around, I don’t think those inaccuracies are something that I can afford.

So, how does one manage to draw a concealed gun, get a two-handed grip on it and get a sight picture in less than two seconds? Basically, through a lot of practice. But there are a few things to consider.

How consistent are you?

One of the most important things you can do, in order to give yourself the opportunity to have a fast draw is to be consistent in what you’re carrying and where you’re carrying it. If you have more than one gun that you carry or more than one position on your body where you carry it, your first thought is going to have to be “Where’s my gun?” That question will take time you don’t have to spare.

What are you carrying?

The first consideration is what sort of pistol you’re carrying. While any pistol should be able to be drawn quickly, I’ve found that some are easier to draw quickly than others. A semi-automatic pocket pistol I used to carry was difficult to grasp, due to the small grip and lack of any sort of horn on the bottom of the magazines. When I changed magazines to something that had a protrusion on it, I was able to draw considerably faster, because the gun wouldn’t slide out of my hand.

Regardless of what you’re carrying, make sure that the gun is easy to grasp and draw. Along with that, you want it to come up to eye level with the lights level and in alignment. Part of that is how you raise the un up to eye level; but the gun has a part to play as well.

Where are you carrying?

There are some places on your body that are easier to draw from quickly, than others. The common 3-o’clock position is not the best. An appendix carry is even worse. But the absolute worst is an ankle carry, because you’ve got to bend down to get your gun.

When I’m involved in tactical shooting competitions, I use a drop-leg holster. If I had my way; that would be my everyday carry. But unfortunately, even though it is legal, it attracts too much attention. I prefer to be stealthy with my carry, keeping it concealed for the tactical advantage that it gives me.

Leaving the drop-leg out of the picture, two of the fastest positions to draw from are cross-draw and from a shoulder holster, assuming the holsters are set up right. If a shoulder holster is too loose, it will slow you down; but if it’s adjusted right, the draw is one long smooth movement.

What sort of holster?

Speaking of holsters, where that holster is located isn’t the only thing you should consider. It’s also important to consider how tightly the holster is gripping the gun and how easily you can grasp the gun while still in the holster. If you can’t get a good grip on it, you can’t draw it quickly. If the holster is gripping it too tightly, your hand might slip or even slip off the gun.

I’ve had holsters that were too tight, to the point where I got rid of them. Now I try to make sure that any holster I buy has a means of adjusting how tightly it grips the gun. I want tight enough that it can’t fall out; but not one bit more.

What is your normal clothing like?

Clothing can be the biggest impediment to a fast draw, especially if you’re not accustomed to practicing with that clothing on. Even if you have to take your jacket off at the range, make sure you practice drawing with that jacket on, when you’re at home, doing dry fire practice. Either your thumb has to lift the hem of your jacket (or shirt), while your fingers wrap around the handle or your supporting hand has to move your clothing out of the way, while your shooting hand grasps the gun. In either case, it’s going to require coordination and is going to have to happen faster than thinking about it.

All in all, being able to draw your gun from its place of concealment and get into battery quickly is going to take a lot of practice. If you haven’t already been practicing, then I’d recommend starting soon. This has to become muscle memory, so that when the time comes, you don’t have to think anything more than “DRAW.”

The ability to draw quickly is an important part of carrying; perhaps just as important as keeping your powder dry or your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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