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I’ve already pointed-out the necessity for self-defense-oriented shooters to train at what they’re bad at, whether that’s off-hand shooting or shooting without your prescription glasses (wearing safety glasses, USMC be damned). Learning how to draw your gun with your support hand certainly fits that remit. In terms of getting your gatt into play with a right hand, limb or shoulder sliced to ribbons or shot to bits, the SIG SAUER guy’s got it going on. He’s also a lot slimmer than a lot of us. For OFWGs, the knee pinch technique is the better of these two suggestions. Which is like saying walking on water is easier than making the blind see. Not to mention that both techniques present a convincing argument against using a retention holster for concealed carry, FWIW.

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27 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Master the Art of Drawing with Your Support Hand

  1. It ain’t gonna work. I carry IWB at 4:00. Even if I was a slender guy, I could not reach my pistol with my support hand unless I had the wingspan of a California condor. Being a not-slender guy with normal arms, I can just about reach my navel.

  2. As RF stated, that technique works well for OSWF – old, skinny, white folk. Also, it predicates that the holster be at 3pm or closer to the front. For those that are heftier, or who carry at 4pm, a reach behind the back is probably the better choice.

    Another option is cross draw which is very easy to draw from either hand. And yes, a security holster can make support-hand, draw impossible.

    The best option is a spare gun (or two) accessible to the support hand. Far faster than trying to reach, then turn a strong-side. mounted handgun, and it offers all the other benefits of a back-up gun.

    David Kenik
    ArmedResponseTraining.com

    • I’ve been considering getting a small revolver to carry in an ankle holster on my support side. What are your thoughts about that?

      • I don’t like ankle holsters for primary carry as they are slow to get to and you can’t get off the line of attack since you have to anchor yourself in order to draw. That said, they are easy to reach in the car. If concealment/carry options are restricted, ankle may be your only choice.

        I do carry on my ankle for a 3rd gun. Many people find that carrying an ankle gun on the support side to be the easiest way to access. For ground fighting, many find carrying an ankle gun on the strong side to be preferred because support side draw will be impossible if there is someone on top of you. Nothing is perfect 🙂

        • “Support side draw will be impossible if there is someone on top of you.”

          PS… unless you use your support hand for your support sided ankle holster.

    • I think I fit into the skinny crowd relatively speaking (6′, 185lbs). I tend to carry at 4 o’clock and I think the behind the back would work better in my case than across the front. I’ll need to do some experimentation to find out. In either case its not coming out in a hurry.

      I wonder what the stats are on people being injured prior to a gun coming out. I would hope to at least be in the game before being injured to that level, but being prepared for anything can’t hurt.

      • Unknown, but I am not a believer in “stats.” If statistically, it happens once in a thousand gunfights, what happens if you are the second?

        We do know, that there has NOT been a recorded instance of a private citizen needing to reload during a gunfight. That does NOT mean that I won’t practice reloads. I prefer to be prepared for as many contingencies as possible.

        • Totally agree with you, I’m just curious to how often it has happened if at all.

          I try to cover all the skills that I might need, but I do focus more on things that are likely to happen. Any way you slice it if you are in a situation where you have been wounded prior to bringing a gun into the right your pretty deep in it.

        • Since none of us have the time to practice everything, I do agree with your theory of practicing what we are most likely to need.

          As Eric states below and I confirm, strong hand injuries are very common in force on force training. I have not seen any stats on real life gunfights in that regard and doubt there is any kept.

          If you are “deep in it” as you say, that’s when we need our skills and equipment the most.

        • Have to disagree with you on the reloading there Rabbi. There was an incident I read about a decade or two ago (but now can’t find) where a cit was driving by and saw BG(s?) shooting a downed cop or trooper (in AZ maybe?). He pulled over and started shooting, emptying 3 or 4 mags (and hitting no one) in driving off the BGs. It was in an article (possibly by Vin Suprynowicz, maybe by L. Neil Smith) about why “civilians” would need “high” (i.e. normal) capacity mags. I remember that only reason he had so many loaded up was he was on his way to the range.
          Nothing like hard evidence to back me up, I know. I’m hoping one of the AI will remember it.

        • I am always open to correction! If true, that case is not remembered by many folk, none that I asked.

          Regardless of the fact that reloads are rarely been done in private citizen gun fights, reloading is a required skill. Carrying a spare mag is necessary not only for extra ammo but as a replacement as magazines are the weakest link in semi-auto firearms.

      • In force on force training with airsoft, the number of hits that occur to extremities is pretty impressive.

        • Yupper, especially injuries to the strong hand. The reason is three-fold: 1: most people aim for center of mass 2. Most people place their gun in front of their center of mass in order to shoot. 2. Shooters tend to focus on the threat which is the often the strong hand–so they subconsciously aim there as well.

          We see #3 with static paper targets as well. Shooter who shoot center mass on plain targets tend to shoot to shoot to the side on a photo target of someone holding a gun to the side. The mental focus on the threat does effect aim.

          In one exercise I took an airsoft hit right to my middle finger of my strong hand (just under the trigger guard) that probably would have disabled by hand AND my gun since it would have gone through my finger and hit the grip. A second gun would have been my only option if that was a real gunfight.

    • Yeah, for 4:00 carry, it is just plain easier to reach around the back.

      For 1:00 (appendix), it is pretty simple to reach across left handed. When I do this I first grab the grip with the entire hand, index included, so there is zero chance of ND with this more uneducated hand. I shuffle the grip slightly once the barrel is pointed downrange. It is still clunky, but not nearly as ponderous as the draw demonstrated in this video

    • +1 for the NY reload. Just watching the video, one can’t help but cringe at how long that’s taking, and how many opportunities there are to drop or fumble the weapon, especially in a situation where seconds count.

      That said, I find I can do a weak hand draw from the small of the back much faster than illustrated here. Plus with a mag up orientation, it’s about as easy to grab from either side without complicated manipulations.

    • I refuse to admit to ‘old’ but will claim ‘slim.’ I carry at 3 p.m. but also at 9 p.m. and 11. I’m convinced that a light little G36, G30, J-Frame, or such in each coat pocket (weather permitting) or pants pocket (suit) is a fine solution. If it prints, just put a checkbook or CD jewel box in front of it. It just works, and you have a New York Reload (well, back when New Yorkers could have a load to begin with). Can’t carry? A 2 oz pepper spray in each pocket works.

  3. I enjoy the video and that it offers some instruction on how to present in a few different ways. However, what is shown isn’t really helpful for the reasons in which it would have to be used (other then a disabled gun hand).

    For one I would say you are drawing with your support hand because your good hand is tied up. This would indicate very close defense. Normally if you are in hand to hand combat with someone, reaching across your torso with your other hand is a great way to get yourself willfully one-armed in a knife fight. If you catch my meaning. I would say that in the circumstances when you are this close and you have to do what this instructor is showing you would be better off using that other hand to gain some distance or time so you can draw effectively.

    Two guns (or better a knife in a support hand location) is the real solution to finishing the fight on the winning side or helping to get to the gun easier.

    I say this as a guy who has done eight years of self defense training (not the pussy sport karate crap) and has been in some squirrely situations. From my standpoint, reaching across your torso like that opens you up to ramming of thumbs into your eye socket until you stop moving. Never mind the balance issue of your hand not being able to steady you in case of a fall (which happens after about ten seconds of any average fight – this is almost guaranteed).

    Keep it free and keep trying for distance is my opinion. Better yet, get some self defense training if it is a thought that enters the mind.

  4. I’ve taken a class from this guy at the Sig Sauer Academy. His name is David Bruce. Part of his resume was as a combat medic in the 82nd Airborne so he has a pretty good handle on the kinds of injuries people can sustain in combat, hence his focus on weak side engagement.

  5. This is one of the reasons I carry in a shoulder (armpit) holster; the drawback being that I laser my entire chest cavity when I draw with my support hand.

  6. I agree with a knife in the support hand location (although one of my carry knives is difficult to open with my support hand). If you can carry a gun there, even better. LEO’s carry almost exclusively at 3 pm (for righties and 9 pm for lefties) and carry their taser, if so equipped, with either a cross draw with the primary hand or standard support hand draw. Either way, it’s certainly good training to prepare for the worst case scenario.

    Plus I tend to think that being overweight / out of shape is not particularly helpful in a defensive situation, although it does however allow a whole lot more real estate along the waistline to place holsters and such.

    • As for real estate for the holster, my heart surgeon said I had the biggest chest cavity she’d ever been in.
      Another reason I carry in a shoulder holster.

  7. Good of you to feature an article emphasizing this type of skill, though I’m surprised Dave Bruce still teaches the leg pinch.

    As someone who’s constantly carried dual AIWB for 3 years, I think the viewers should know this is a very basic how-to intro.

    Once you feel comfortable doing weak hand draw, try these same techniques in Force-On-Force drills against 1 then 2 or more aggressive, noncompliant role players.

    The leg pinch will go extinct, as will many other square range oriented facets of the video.

    I would recommend something similar to 1:47 in this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_zS5Q1dDNU
    That’s what I do (though not quite as deftly as Sonny P.).

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