I received a question concerning practicing the draw. I offered to do a thread on the subject and was met with an enthusiastic response.
When I was involved in teaching this we called it grip and draw. Grip and draw breaks it down into the component parts.
Sadly, some ranges prohibit shooters from shooting from the holster. I have heard others require a shooter to be holster qualified. Not sure how they conduct or grade those qualifications.
I suspect that we also have some concealed carriers out there who have purchased a holster with little thought given to draw practice with the kind of clothing worn for concealment. There was one agency that trained with J frame S & W revolvers from an ankle holsrer. The Agency correctly believed that if they were going to authorize this type of carry they should make sure their Agents could execute.
Our Agency, primarily uniformed, trained from the point of the hip. That is to say from the three or nine o'clock depending on hand preference. This will be the best place to start I believe. I find it very easy to apply this practice to other kinds of holsters and body positions once you have the foundation. Please use a covered trigger guard holster.
The first step is to establish your shooting grip aimed in on the target or imaginary target with an empty weapon and two hands. Take away the support hand. Place the pistol in your holster without changing or turning loose of your grip. Make note of the position of your anatomical parts while your grip is still as when we started. This is where a nylon or an unreinforced leather holster will mess things up. Buy a real holster if applicable.
Now draw the weapon from the holster with the grip you have never changed from the start of the practice. You should do this in slow motion. The support hand meets the preferred hand in close and the unit is punched straight to the target. You have to walk before you can run. Once you think your mind and body have memorized all this you can start speeding up.
Now we can start with your hands relaxed at your side. Later on you can practice from the surrender position and from the seated position. Slowly establish the firing grip alone. We memorized this earlier, right. Repeat just the grip as many repetitions as needed to establish confidence. Slowly increase the speed.
Now we are ready for the putting together of the entire process. Grip and draw!
Slow down when you screw up. Be honest. Do not cheat yourself. You will be ready for Hollywood soon enough.
Been patiently waiting for this thread, Chuntaro. Will you be going into more depth/specifics on the subject, or is this the "whole ball of wax"?
I do not think anything else can be said It is pretty KISS principle. That is precisely the way we taught and it worked out well.
Okay, thanks. I was just thinking about when to rock the barrel forward, lock the first finger of the weak hand under the trigger guard, etc. I've also been told to bring the weak hand to flat on the belly at the same time the strong hand hits the pistol grip so it is in the proper position to come up and meet the pistol as it is pushed forward.
The main problem I have, personally, is I do just fine from and open carry position. It's when I'm concealing (all the time) that I'm forever getting my cover garment mixed up in the who process.
The advice Chuntaro offers is excellent. Start with the absolute basic - the grip - which is the key here, go slow and practice, practice, practice.
As for cover garment fouling, again start with the basic. Since you've been told to keep your weak hand on your belly, use it to grab the hem of your cover garment and pull it straight up and out of the way. This will work even if you are using a sweatshirt as a cover garment and carrying AWIB (as I do).
Alternately and more commonly, the method to use is to use the back of your strong hand thumb to sweep the front (unbuttoned or open front) back behind the pistol grip to acquire it. A variation of this is used when carrying AWIB and the weak hand is otherwise occupied. Again, all this takes practice - and the patience to keep practicing.
One thing that has not been mentioned that I teach for obvious reasons is drawing into a retention position as part of the draw stroke. Since we are talking about a self-defence skill set, one also need to practice (beginning with dry fire) shooting from a retention position.
"Yup" to what both of you have said. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for reminding me about practicing shooting from the retention position. I've not done enough of that under the restrictions of a timer. Good advice.........I can imagine a lot of situations where the need for that training might come into play.
There's all kinds of stuff about grip and draw since the popularity in the last ten years or so with tactical shooting and whatnot (sure wish the flood of "tactical" rifles would make the cost of custom Turkish walnut blanks go down, as I'm building my last rifle, a Mannlicher stocked Husqvarna in 35 Newton).
I digress... the elements of the draw, or the "draw stroke" as you prefer, have not changed very much, if at all, since I was first taught 40 years ago and then later taught. Both police and military. If one thing captures it, it's the line "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is lethal" - or whatever variation of that line which you prefer. My Grandfather would have said "You don't put a solid foundation under an outhouse"... and that might be more accurate in describing what I think is the real key.
The key is building and then burning in solid basics, a real adrenaline-proof foundation. Once the foundation is there, practice and the speed and smoothness will just appear all by themselves. Two big things in my mind: practice no faster than your practice is perfect, and the initial grip of the weapon is the key to everything afterwards. Sloppy practice, bad habits being repeated in practice is a killer in practicing any skill, no matter what skill it is. Second, if you get a crappy grip on the weapon, then you are going to be behind the curve from that point onward. Just like "Front sight, front sight, front sight", without a good solid grip, you've really handicapped everything afterward.
We trained (and I prefer to do it this way) with the draw broke down into stages. You can break the draw down into however many stages feels right to you, but this is generally how we broke/break it down:
Obtaining a solid, proper grip on the weapon with the master hand. Because of the stress on the importance of a perfect grip, this is usually the slowest portion of the draw. We teach taking the time to get the perfect grip, no matter what. In reality, you're talking about a fraction of a second of "slow" here, to ensure you get it right.
The segment between lifting the weapon from the holster to the point of the meeting with the support hand, generally around nipple level in front of the chest.
The segment from establishing the full grip to driving the weapon forward and up to the line of sight (rather than dipping the head to the sights). One, Two, Three.
The "Sul" thing so popular in some circles today has it's place, and if it works for you then say no more. If you don't see yourself drawing while stacked in a brick, or while moving through crowds, I don't see where it helps, personally. We teach hands meeting high for various reasons, not the least of which is if the support hand stays high, it is positioned to be useful if some other interesting event happens during the draw, and hands positioned high helps encourage driving the weapon forward rather than sweeping the weapon up in an underhand motion.
We always encouraged students to develop a solid draw that worked best for them (aside from anything that was obviously ineffective or flawed), not "do it like Sgt WhatsHisName showed you". Show the how, present the why, the alternatives, and then help them work the personal nuances out.
The only real change with concealed is, unless you walk around in a 5.11 vest or something similar all the time, the support hand is going to have to find a bomb proof technique for getting clothing out of the way. The absolute requirement that the grip on the weapon by the control hand has to be perfect does not change. It just might take longer to get past your garments to establish that perfect grip.
I'm sure there's tons of tips and techniques on the 'Net from guys much faster and much more accomplished, guys who excel in competition. But somewhere along the way, to get that good, they established really solid foundations and then perfected everything from there. And I bet when they have trouble, they go back to the basics to sort it out.
Anyways, that's one variation on the "how to" theme.
Thanks, Jäger. Very helpful.
Just saw this. Don't know where I've been. Thanks Churtaro, well said; and Jäger too.
I don't practice near enough and it is difficult to find a range that's friendly toward this kind of thing.
For me, the toughest part of the draw is getting the grip right. Finding the angle, getting the holster in the right place. I do well enough with a 3 o'clock placement and at straight drop rig. The next hardest thing for me to do is to lift my hand and elbow high enough. I'm getting stiff as I get older. I like the idea of starting with the gun in a proper grip and then going into and out of the holster without any shifting. I'll try that.
I have a Tucker Texas Heritage tuckable holster I wear when carrying a HP and needing to look more dressed for success than an untucked shirt. As far as the draw goes, the shirt tucked inside over the gun, the angle and position of the gun for the ultimate in concealment, etc., about as unfriendly a setup for a perfect smooth draw as you can imagine. But you work on the basics to simply work around those issues and still end up with a perfect grip before the pistol starts moving.
Even if you have the absolutely wrong, worst holster, with a cant, offset, position, etc that you just can't stand, the most important thing about the draw is that the pistol does not begin moving from the holster until you have the perfect grip/hand position on it. If that means that your elbow and everything else is at a weird angle to establish that perfect grip, so be it - the weird angles or whatever will disappear as soon as the pistol is free of the holster. But a bad grip won't... so get your grip perfect before doing anything else with the gun.
If this means it takes you a second and a half to get your grip perfect on the pistol before anything else happens, so be it. Practice perfection; increased speed will follow perfection.
Just about everybody arrives for initial training with Hollyweird ideas of how the gun is drawn, huge emphasis on how fast, etc. We tell newbies during their introduction that they can start out by taking all day to get a perfect grip, all day to move their hands to their rendezvous point high on the chest, all day to punch the pistol forward and the final bit up to align the sights with where their eyes are looking. Video is common now that everybody and their dog has a cellphone capable of that - we buddy the students up and encourage them to video these perfect draws they are trying to execute. Nothing like seeing your mistakes - and the stuff you are doing right - to clarify that in your mind.
After that, you just keep doing everything perfect, and eventually still perfect - but a little bit faster. We aren't trying to create Bob Munden type shooters. We're trying to create shooters that can smoothly get a grip on and draw their pistol with a grip that will enhance their ability to put lead on man-jammies - not consistently miss with all their shots to the left, the right, too high, etc because they drew with a bad grip and then shot with that same bad grip.
As for lack of flexibility... yoga is your friend. Or a stretching regime. Or whatever it takes to minimize the effects of aging. Old, old farmers in Asia and the Middle East can squat with their asses on their heels for hours, practically cross their arms behind their backs, etc. Not because their nutrition and health care is superior to ours, because it surely ain't. But because they never stop working, their work involves a wide range of motion all day, etc. Their bodies are worn out as well, but they aren't so stiff they stagger around and have to think about it before getting down on the ground like so many seniors in North America are like. So many of us spend so much time sitting on our asses in front of work desks, in front of computers, in front of TVs. And we do a lot of damage to our flexibility and mobility, regardless of whether or not we are talking about guns.
I started doing mobility/stretching exercises with my wrists, shoulders, ankles, and hips after I noticed I could barely reach down and twist around enough to do up the buckles on my ski boots any more.
Shooting or not, once we join the senior citizens club (unhappy member here), it is a matter of use it or lose it. A physiotherapist can explain the physiology of all that to you if you're curious to know the gory details.
Anyways, start with stages, take all the time you need to perform each stage perfectly, without worrying about how much time you're taking. Do it in front of a mirror, watching what you are doing - that helps if you don't have a training buddy. The goal is perfection, without any variation from perfection. You will start getting faster and smoother if you concentrate on just that alone. Then you can start putting the stages together, putting a little pressure on, etc.
It will all come together with practice.
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