Whether self-defense or competition, as a shooter, you still must get the gun from the holster and, under control, into a solid shooting position to make the best shot possible. The draw is generally considered the one part of the shooting cycle where you can save – or lose - critical time. This is also the time you establish your ‘fighting grip’ on the gun, get it aligned with your forearm and pointed toward your target. The fewer movements there are, and the smoother and more efficient those movements are, the faster the draw will be.
There are probably as many ways to get a gun out of a holster as there are shooters. There’s the 6-step draw, the 3 point, et al. Regardless, there are some key points that must be met in order to meet the main goal of getting an efficient hit on the target. It is best to keep it simple with as few movements as possible. If done correctly, a smooth, efficient draw can appear blazing fast. However, trying to move too fast and out of control can lead to potentially disastrous results.
The best sequence for drawing I have found, is a five-step cycle which is easy, simple, and allows for some shooter flexibility. The steps in this draw include the grip, rip, rotate, merge and up strong. Let’s examine each step more closely:
Grip – When you move your hand to the grip of the gun, move both hands at the same time. You will find when moving both hands simultaneously, you will move faster and there are studies proving this. So, when you move your dominant hand toward your gun, you need to move your support hand to the center of your chest or upper abdomen. This accomplishes two things – (1) puts your support hand in a safe position so you don’t sweep it with the muzzle when you draw and, (2) puts your support hand in the best position to merge with your dominant hand when they merge later.
Also, when establishing your grip, you must defeat any retention devices the holster may have. It is best if your holster is placed so you can get the best possible grip on your gun, so you don’t have to adjust your grip as the gun is being moved toward your target.
Rip – After obtaining your ‘fighting grip’ on your pistol, you need to ‘rip’ it straight up out of the holster. Many instructors will blend this step with the next step in the
cycle to cut down on the number of steps. I leave it in to be sure (a) the gun is completely out of the holster and (b) it puts the gun and forearm in the proper position for the next step in the cycle.
Rotate – After your gun clears the top of the holster, you should drop your elbow and index your wrist/forearm against your side (ribs). I use my lowest rib and the inside of my wrist as my index points. Some instructors will have you index your thumb next to your chest muscle to help aid in retention. You must find what works for you.
Hands Merge – At this point in the cycle, your support hand will come together with the dominant hand at the ‘natural hand-clap’ position. This is the position that your hands naturally meet when you would offer someone celebratory applause. It should be in the center of your torso about 10 inches in front. Your two-handed grip should be complete at this point and you should begin picking up the front sight in your peripheral vision.
Up Strong – After your hands merge, you should push the gun toward the target while keeping it parallel to the ground. Your focus should shift from the target to the front sight as the gun comes up in front of your dominant eye. If you must, this is the time when you would press/pull the trigger.
Regardless of which draw you prefer; you need to practice consistently to insure a smooth draw in an emergency. The good news is that you can practice your draw for FREE as often as you’d like.
BE SAFE • BE EFFECTIVE • BE READY