Dear Fellow Survivalist;
I’ve never had to fire a shot in anger, thank God; but I have had to draw my sidearm in self-defense more than once. Statistics say that 70% of the times that a person with a concealed carry license has to draw their weapon, they don’t have to fire. Just being armed is usually enough to get the criminals to turn tail and flee. They don’t want to get into a shootout; they just want to intimidate people with their guns.
That doesn’t mean that we can count on scaring them with our guns though. While I have done so successfully, I never assumed that showing a gun was all I was going to have to do. The old rule is “don’t draw unless you’re planning on using it; and don’t shoot unless you’re planning on killing.” The only modification I’ve personally made to that rule is that I will give them time to turn tail and run. But if I don’t see that happening in the first half-second, I’m putting pressure on the trigger.
There are a lot of factors that go into a shootout, most of which are outside of your control. One of the few that is yours to decide, is when to draw. You want to time that to create the biggest emotional impact you can. Catch them by surprise and there’s a greater chance of them responding in fear, forgetting for the moment that they are armed as well.
Doing that requires a fast draw. I’m not talking about Old West fast draw, but the idea is the same; getting your gun into action as quickly as possible. That can be challenging, when you’re carrying concealed. Not only do your clothes get in the way, but the locations where many of us carry aren’t conducive to drawing a pistol quickly.
My favorite way to carry is with a drop-leg holster, as I find that the draw is faster. The standard three-o’clock position requires that your arm be bent almost as far as it can bend, in order to grasp the pistol. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for bending your elbow farther, I order to make the draw. With a drop-leg, you have a lot of room to bend your arm, making a smooth ark from grasping the pistol, to firing position. There’s only one problem… it’s not concealed.
Sticking with a three-o’clock holster position, there are a couple of things that can be done to improve draw speed; both of which involve the holster design. First, having the belt-loops on the holster situated at the top of the holster, rather than midway down, gives you about another inch to inch-and-a-half of draw length. That may not seem like much, but it helps. The only problem, is maintaining it concealed. You might need a longer jacket to keep the muzzle from poking out the bottom.
The second thing that can be done with that three-o’clock position is to cant the butt of the pistol forward, rather than having it hang straight down. This helps eliminate any hang-ups while the pistol is being drawn. The draw becomes more of a single, smooth movement, as the arm doesn’t have to pull the pistol up, before moving forward. It’s a small difference; but it helps.
Most other positions for carry are worse for drawing than the three-o’clock position, mostly because it is harder to get to the pistol to start with. But there are two which are better: cross-draw and shoulder holsters. Both put the pistol in roughly the same place, with the butt of the pistol facing forward, making it easy to grasp. But the big advantage with either is that the draw becomes one continuous movement, just as with the drop-leg. That speeds up the process of drawing, making it easier to get on target.
Besides the location of the holster, a big consideration is clothing. Regardless of how you are carrying your pistol, if you’re carrying it concealed, you’re going to have clothing in the way, concealing the pistol. That means having to move the clothing out of the way, so that you can grasp and present the pistol.
Select and buy your clothing with that in mind. You need clothing that will both conceal your handgun and be easy to pull aside, allowing you to draw. This might require some experimentation, so that you can find the right combination that works for you. Each of us are different, so what works for me, may not work well for you.
Above all, take the time to practice your draw, until you get to the point where you can do it automatically, without thought. The word “draw” in your mind should be enough that your next conscious thought is whether you’re going to put your finger in the trigger guard or not. By then, the gun should be level, properly grasped in both hands and you should have a good sight picture.
Preparing yourself is just as important as preparing your gear. Keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand is important; but it’s more important to train your mind, so that you know what to do.