Enhancing the draw, a series of articles

Enhancing the draw, a series of articles

This is a discussion on Enhancing the draw, a series of articles within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I found this series of articles about drawing a handgun from concealment to be very helpful. They were written by Massad Ayoob for "GUNS" magazine. ...

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Thread: Enhancing the draw, a series of articles

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mzmtg's Avatar
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    Enhancing the draw, a series of articles

    I found this series of articles about drawing a handgun from concealment to be very helpful. They were written by Massad Ayoob for "GUNS" magazine. Anyway, take them for what they're worth.

    These articles can be found for free online, so I see no problem with posting them in full in this thread. All the misspellings are from whomever originally transcribed the article online, not me :)


    Enhancing the draw, part 1:
    access: a step by step approach to a swifter and cleaner draw

    The draw of the handgun breaks down into multiple elements, though experts debate just how many elements there are. The object is to achieve as close to a single, fluid movement as we can, but in the course of that long movement, several things must happen, and each must be addressed at some point. I've seen four-step and five-step teaching systems. For our purposes here, we'll break it down into two or three.

    First, there is access or getting the hand onto the bolstered sidearm. Next, there is presentation, the act of getting the gun out of the holster and into play. Finally, one could argue, there is completion. It could be firing the shot, perhaps taking a suspect at gunpoint or going forward with the exact task for the handgun as yet unknown. This month, we'll address the first step. Access

    This is the most complicated step, because there are so many different ways to carry the gun and so many different ways to get at it. The first question is, do we come up under the gun in the old-time but still very fast "scoop" draw, in which the initial hand contact is the fingers touching the front strap of the frame, or down from above, making initial contact with the web of the hand on the back strap?

    For a universal technique, come down from above. The scoop draw won't work with many holsters, such as the bellyband, most shoulder figs, a pocket holster, or some low-mounted tactical thigh scabbards. Nor is it well adapted to security holsters, which require multiple release movements. Coming down from above works better in these situations, and is also better adapted to drawing from concealment.

    Each hoister style requires its own technique. For simplicity, we'll focus on the strong-side hip bolster, worn beneath an open front garment such as a coat or vest. Penetrating Concealment

    What is hidden from the eyes of strangers is hidden from the hand of the wearer. To get inside the concealment, every instructor seems to offer a subtly different method. I would go on the assumption that the free hand may be otherwise occupied during an emergency, and focus on a technique that allows the drawing hand to do all the work.

    With an open front garment, I recommend bringing the fingertips of the gun hand to the centerline of the torso, just below the sternum, keeping them in contact with the body. Now, with the elbow to the rear and those fingertips maintaining contact, bring the hand back rapidly toward the pistol. The fingers will sweep the coat back and clear, even if you can't turn your hips to help give the garment momentum to swing away. As this movement approaches its completion, you'll feel the fingertips brushing across the holstered handgun. Now ... Lock On

    Let the web of the hand come down onto its contact point on the backstrap of the handgun. This will be high into the tang of a semiautomatic pistol's grip, or at the top edge of the recurve on the frame of a revolver. This in turn will index the rest of the hand to its proper position. The trigger finger stays straight, "disarticulated'" and working separately from the other digits, as the other three fingers lock onto the gun in a very firm grasp. We're going to have to exert some force in a moment to draw, and you want a hard hold to overcome any resistance, particularly if clothing fouls the gun or something else interferes with the game plan.

    It is at this point that we release any safety devices that secure the gun in the holster. The thumb releases the thumb-break of a conventional safety strap. The middle finger unlocks a Bianchi Carry-Lok or a Safariland concealable security holster. The pad of the index finger trips the paddle of the SERPA from Blackhawk. On some police security holsters, both thumb and middle finger will release locking elements simultaneously. Some holsters may require a little "rock" in a certain direction to clear internal niches that secure on the rear of a cylinder or on an ejection port.

    If the free hand hasn't been fighting off close-range assailants, shoving innocents out of the line of fire, or holding a flashlight, it should have been brought to midline of the body. I like to keep the fingertips pointed forward, better poising this hand to engage in a two-hand hold or to ward off a last-instant physical assault.

    The access stage of the draw is now complete, and we're ready for the presentation stage, which we'll address next time. If you're new to working a pistol from the holster at speed, it wouldn't hurt at all to practice the access movement (with a triple-checked unloaded handgun, or a dummy gun) for a month until the next issue of GUNS comes out.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array mzmtg's Avatar
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    Enhancing the draw, Part II:
    presentation: this is the easiest part of the draw, but not as simple as it may seem

    Last month we addressed the first step of drawing a handgun. Getting the hand onto .the concealed handgun, releasing any securing devices, and making ready to rip it out of the holster is the tough part. It's a complex psychomotor skill, a chain of dexterity-intensive events each of which must be accomplished properly, because a weakness in any link will compromise the whole chain.

    The second stage, presentation, is easier. It's pretty much a simple, gross motor skill. But doing it with maximum speed and efficiency is not as simple as it might seem. It involves multiple elements.

    Rock And Lock

    With most handguns from most holsters, it is generally agreed the presentation should begin with a motion called "rock and lock." The elbow was pointed to the rear at the beginning of the draw stroke, to align the skeleto-muscular structure of the arm in the direction we'll be exerting force. As the gun comes up, the elbow comes rearward, snapping the muzzle upward as soon as it clears the holster and rocking that muzzle forward toward the target or threat.

    At this point, we reach a fork in the road of conditional branching. If the target is very close--within arm's reach--the muzzle comes up at waist level allowing for a "speed rock" or "from the hip" point-shooting technique. Any farther from the target, the shooter will probably be better served by pulling the gun up higher until the base of the gun hand's thumb is level with the bottom of the pectoral muscle of the chest. This brings the gun's muzzle more in line with a standing opponent's upper torso. The pistol can be fired from here if necessary in what is called "the protected gun position," or it can be thrust forward toward the target. Because the muzzle is now in line with the target, the pistol can be fired with good effect as it is being pushed forward, before the arms reach full extension.

    Support Hand

    As the gun hand went for the pistol, the support hand brought itself to the mid-line of the body. Some instructors teach placing it flat against the torso. That's OK for a match, but if you're training for a possible close-quarters fight, a hand flat against the body can be trapped there by an opponent's hand. If he continues to push, he'll take you off balance and compromise your draw.

    I prefer to keep those fingers pointed straight ahead, fingertips toward the target. If the hand or wrist should be grabbed, simply thrust the fingertips forward. This win break free of the opponent's attempt to restrain you, and your hand will naturally travel up toward his neck area, allowing you to grab the back of his neck and pull him forward and down, destabilizing him instead.

    If no such thing happens, as the gun hand pushes the handgun forward, your support hand comes in--from the side and from behind the muzzle--and takes its position to reinforce the gun hand. You now have a two-hand hold moving forward as you begin to complete your intended firing stance.

    The draw itself, per se, is done now, but things are not yet over. We've reached another junction on that conditional branching road, and this time, there are at least three paths to choose from.

    Did we draw with the intention to fire immediately? Did we draw with the intention of taking a suspect at gunpoint? Or did we simply draw to a ready position, and if so, what ready position?

    At this point, the safety catch of a single action auto should not yet be released, the squeeze-cocking lever of an HK P7 should not yet be depressed, and no matter the handgun, the trigger finger should not yet have entered the triggerguard!

    Hopefully, the decision about what must be done at the end of the draw was determined before the draw began. In the real world, however, the situation may be taking shape so fast that you have to make that decision during the draw stroke. We'll discuss what to do in each of those three scenarios when we conclude this series in the next issue. In the meantime, if you're new to this whole quick-draw thing, it would be a good idea to take a triple-checked unloaded gun, or a dummy handgun, and practice the access and presentation stages for about four weeks, until next month's GUNS is in your hand.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array mzmtg's Avatar
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    Enhancing the draw, Part III:
    completion: the job determines the tool. Once the gun is out, what do we do with it?

    In Part I of this series, we addressed access--getting your hand onto the concealed pistol and preparing to pull it from the holster. In Part II, we discussed presentation, getting the handgun from the holster and bringing it to bear downrange. With those things accomplished, the completion of the draw stroke is determined by the task at hand.

    Draw To Ready Position

    The "draw to ready" is done preparatory to a building search, or to some courses of fire in pistol qualification. The situation--or, in qualification, range rules--will determine the attitude of the muzzle, i.e., whether it is down 45 degrees in "low ready" or "guard" position, up by the same margin in a "tactical high ready," or straight ahead of you as is popular with Special Forces. If the pistol is double action and has a manual safety catch, particularly if the catch is mounted on the slide where you might find it awkward to manipulate, the lever should be pushed into the "fire" position at this point. However, if you have a single-action auto pistol with a short trigger pull, it is best to leave the safety engaged at this stage, though your thumb should probably be on the lever and ready to press it down into the "fire" position.

    In any case, no matter what type of firearm you have, the trigger finger should be on the frame and completely clear of the triggerguard at this point! Do not place the finger on the front edge of the triggerguard! This will hold the finger taut, and a startle response can cause it to snap back against the trigger hard enough to cause an unintentional discharge.

    Draw To Gunpoint

    The various studies by Professor John Lott, Professor Gary Kleck, and the California Attorney General's Office all indicate the overwhelming majority of cases where armed citizens pull guns on criminal suspects end with the suspect at gunpoint, not with the suspect having to be shot. This is unquestionably supported by the collective experience of the law enforcement community.

    Therefore, if the shooter carries a gun on duty or for protection purposes, it is safe to postulate at least 90 percent of drawing practice should focus on the draw to gunpoint, and not the draw to the shot. It is universally agreed what we become habituated to practicing is what we will do under stress. If all our drawing practice ends with a shot, it is entirely possible we will reflexively shoot a suspect we must draw on under stress, even if his danger level has not yet reached the level where he deserves to take a bullet.

    Taking a suspect at gunpoint, your double action auto's safety should still be off, and your single action auto's safety should still be on, with the thumb prepared to wipe it off and fire instantly if the necessity arises. The trigger finger, however, should still be "in register" on the frame.

    Where should the muzzle be oriented? Decide beforehand. Aiming at the chest or head will block your view of his hands with your own hands and gun, and this could put you fatally behind the curve. You may not see his draw in time to stop it with your own gunfire. I prefer to level on the pelvis. This allows me to see his hands. It also creates a high level of psychological deterrent effect. If firing is necessary, a hit in this area can have great stopping effect, and the angle is such a miss or an exiting bullet minimizes danger to unseen bystanders behind the suspect.

    Some currently suggest pointing the gun at the ground in front of the suspect, essentially a 45-degree low-ready range position. While I feel this sacrifices a good deal of the deterrent effect that can end a gunpoint situation without bloodshed, if it's the policy of the department you work for, you're bound by it and should practice accordingly.

    Draw To The Shot

    If the situation is so urgent deadly force must be immediately unleashed, take the double action's safety off as soon as possible, and wipe the single-action auto's lever into the "fire" position as soon as the gun is coming up into the target. By the time the front sight is on the target in this urgent situation, the finger should already be pulling the trigger. If you carry for defense, remember, this is the least likely outcome, so it shouldn't constitute the bulk of your quick-draw training time.

    Some suggest you begin "trigger prep," the initial pulling of the trigger, early in the draw stroke. Remember, however, the faster you get and the more the time is compressed, the earlier the finger will find itself entering the guard. You can get to where it's too early, and you risk shooting yourself in the leg in a max-speed draw. The finger should not enter the guard until the gun is coming up on the target, even if you've determined beforehand you must fire as soon as possible. Consider thoughtfully. Practice realistically. Build your skills carefully.

  4. #4
    Member Array Arkhangel's Avatar
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    Good reading.


  5. #5
    Member Array TechGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhangel View Post
    Good reading.

    +1, I agree, you can never have enough training or practice info. Thanks.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Good basic info for the new folks , and great review and food for thought for the more experianced , nice find .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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