Question of the Day: How Often Do you Practice Your Draw? [VIDEO]

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A gun range that prohibits drawing from a holster is like getting a deep tissue massage with your clothes on. It’s a good experience and all, but not as good as it could be. Besides, how can a gun owner possibly train for effective armed self-defense without practicing their draw from a holster?

When it matters most, the first guy with the on-target shot typically wins. That’s why it’s so important to practice this self-defense fundamental until it becomes second nature and you can do without thinking about it.

Fortunately, all the ranges where I practice either allow everyone to draw from a holster and fire or allow you to qualify to do it after demonstrating basic proficiency and safe gun-handling. And if you can’t find a range near you that will let you draw and shoot, you can always practice the draw and dry fire at home.

If you’re new to guns or concealed carry, you can do a lot worse than taking the advice in the video at the top. And if you take only one thing away from it, make sure it’s the “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” mantra. That and a few hundred (or thousand) good reps will get you on the path to where you want to be.

Once you get your basic draw from open carry down, you can then move on to practicing the draw from concealment. And why not learn from the best? . . .


How often do you practice your draw?


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  1. “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” I wish I had a $100 bill for every time I said that on a range. The other side of that coin is that herky-jerky feels fast. It’s not. I think Wyatt Earp that said, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. Take your time, in a hurry.” I may have paraphrased.

    • GF – IIRC that quote by Marshall Earp ended with “accuracy is final”
      Regardless, the bottom line, as with all mechanical skills is practice practice practice which is the same route one takes to get to Carnegie Hall 🙂

      How often do I personally practice my draw, probably not nearly as often as I did in the dark ages but in around 50 years of toting sidearms I’d guess maybe a gazillion times – ok maybe not quite that many……………………….

  2. I’d like to add:

    The draw should be quick with your focus on the target. The return to holster should be slow with your focus on the holster. Too many people get complacent (or cocky, as I’ve sometimes seen) and risk an ND upon the return.

      • Gadsden Flag,

        I will keep you and all of Florida in my prayers. Please give us an occasional and brief update when you can.

        I recognize that you could be totally unscathed and yet infrastructure could be out of commission for a long time and prohibit you from communicating with the outside world.

        Which reminds me of an important pro-tip following a serious natural disaster: cellular telephone networks may be spotty for various reasons and text messages may still go through even though voice calls may not work.

        • Post hurricane some years back my brother who was visiting our parents was able to get through to me to let me know everyone was all right. This was the last message I got from them for some days as the cell phone towers ran out of battery power a few hours after the hurricane had passed.

        • I’m pretty sure in Florida the cell towers are required to have generators with at least a few days of fuel on hand to start immediately after power is lost…

    • Reholstering is my primary focus always. Because I disarm at my work building (boo) I reholster once or more per day. I used to carry SA/DA and would thumb the hammer during reholster to ensure no trigger pull. I moved to striker fired this year and specifically chose Springfield (boo again politically, guns are nice) Beckie can keep my hand off the grip safety while holstering to prevent any ND.

      Draw practice is approximately monthly, I’m decently regular at my outdoor range.

  3. I’ve practiced my draw tens of thousands of times. As an experienced martial artist, what I learned LONG ago was not to worry about speed. What we learned was efficiency of motion. You practice slow and deliberate motion to establish muscle memory. Speed will follow that.
    What a person strives to gain is mastery of the basics.

    I carry a P229 IWB appendix. Through years and years of practice, I can draw damned fast and accurately. The one thing that could throw a wrench in the gearbox is failure to properly clear clothing, which is an inherent problem when carrying concealed, but assuming one gets their shirt or clothing cleared, a clean draw can be obtained every time with enough repetitious practice. Practice Practice Practice

    • MLee,

      Tai Chi training: slow is far more difficult than fast, but easier for learning.

      I practice draw several times a week, slow draw, but fast on target acquisition. Slow draw is a meditation. But, when I go slowly on acquisition, my aim is terrible. When acquisition is instinctive, my aim is accurate.

      Slow when the brain and body need to master the movement. Fast when thinking is an impediment.

      • ^ This!

        My very first time practicing a “shoot, don’t shoot” (and move while shooting) course (consisting of stick-figure t-shirt “attackers” and stick figure t-shirt “bystanders”), it was simply draw and put rounds on target as fast as possible without hitting any “bystanders”. The only thought process involved was whether or not a “bystander” was in the way of the “attacker” that I was trying to shoot.

        My hit percentage on the “attackers” was astounding (85% or better of rounds fired!) and the only two times that I hit a “bystander” they were grazing shots on the very edge of their t-shirts.

        To reiterate: it was instinctive movement and “point shooting” without injecting too much thought.

  4. I have a 4 n3/4inch barreled Pitta 1873 replica with ivory grips I customed fit, as in 100 thousands 3 finger is different then index finger. Custom fit. along with a snot slick faatdraw holster. And I practice like Superbon do Muy Thai.
    Say when.
    Now why did I swich from my beloved 1911 platform that I have won a few matches with, well matches are matches, but rolling on the street is different.

    Personally I am very tentative about carrying a cocked and locked firearm, Glocks are Snake Bite to me. And just cant do locked on 1911 either, so that makes everything hammer fired now.
    When younger I had no problem with shoving a loaded and cocked beretta knock of(tanfoglio guiseppe?) Then I got older, I’m confident in drawing the hammer and with luck beating Johnny Ringo on the draw. However, Theres a whole lot more going on in most gunfights. I got taught all about weaver stance and speed when I fast drawerd with empty gunms with an acquaintance . I had a 4 inch colt trooper and let him use my 10n1/2 RSBH. He got to make first move. I saw his hand go for the gunm, I flashed drawed on him and wouldn’t have hit nothing. He tricked me cause he ducked my punch and moved. I’d consider him a gunfighter.
    Anyway the way Im l am faster with cowboy gunm then anything else.
    And if you carry a cowboy gunm you just gotta be Matt Dillion fast, right.
    Use the same gunm and practice a lot no matter what you chose.👍

  5. Never. But then, I carry a hi-cap 1911 in God’s Own Caliber. The mere presence of this piece will cause any evil-doer’s knees and arms to shake uncontrollably. Drawing is optional. Shooting is unnecessary.

    • I can’t tell if your post is satire. If it is not, you sound like a member of “Just rack a pump action shotgun. It will scare the bad guys away.” society. Well, Pilgrim, I am here to tell you that I know of a case where the citizen had a .44 magnum cocked and pointed at the B.G.’s chest. B.G. told the citizen he was going to take the gun away and insert it in a body orifice. He then proceeded to attempt such maneuver and promptly received a 240 grain hollow point, copper clad lead slug dead center in his chest which created a rather large through and through cavity in the B.G.’s blood pump resulting in the B.G.’s quick demise. Autopsy revealed that said B.G. had consumed a large quantity of a variety of perception altering substances which could well have accounted for his inane behavior. Ask any patrol cop how many times he has had his service sidearm pointed at a B.G. and had the B.G. offer to perform the same service on the cop. Most cops who have been on patrol more than a few years have experience at least one episode even if the B.G. came to his senses and desisted from such suicidal action. Then there is the suicide by cop which is a whole other problem. While in many cases the mere presentation of a firearm will cause the B.G. to desist, in far too many cases the B.G. has ingested substances which dull his already substandard mental capacity to something approaching the thought process of a slug. Where the B.G. is thus impaired, one cannot count on the “reasonable man” response that the law likes to talk about.

  6. I am remiss to say that I have practiced drawing only a few times. Those few times that I did practice, I was smooth and fast. I think that I am extraordinarily lucky to have an extraordinary amount of innate talent in that regard.

    Note: one of my first few draws was drawing in preparation of shooting a known dangerous German shepherd which was sprinting toward me in full attack mode. I drew from concealment very fast and very smooth. Fortunately the dog stopped as I pressed my handgun forward to shoot (part of the draw cycle) and I stopped my trigger press accordingly.

    I suppose that I really should practice a lot more.

    • I live just outside the district that this rino misrepresented and had to put up with his campaigning thru our local media so nothing he does really surprises me. The ‘only’ thing I can say ‘good’ about him is that he was ‘marginally’ better than the dem alternative.

  7. Police plow through climate protest, arrest activists blocking traffic. (Police activity starts about 5:32. …they are not so tough when the cops get tough)

    • No one ever said that this Doofus had two brain cells to rub together. But being a Democrat from California, his seat is secure for as long as he wants to keep it.

    • .40 – since he cannot define what an ‘assault weapon’ is he might want to have some really deep pockets to ‘buy them back’ (impossible since he never owned them in the first place)

  8. Weekly (or mostly weekly), after I clean my gun and before reloading and stowing.

    Every time at the range. A box with autos or half a box with revolvers is from the leather.

    Is it enough? I hope I never find out.

  9. Practice drawing from different positions. Sitting in a chair or car, walking, while carrying packages or bags, tight places that restrict your movement, etc.. JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOUR GUN IS UNLOADED! There have been a lot of dead TV’s, lamps, mirrors, flower pots, etc. that have been shot while someone was practicing with a loaded gun.

  10. Well, considering everyone should be dry firing every day, you should be practicing your draw every day.

    Active Self Protection has shown time and again if you’re not at under 1.5 seconds, you’re dead in the real world.

    Any USPSA competitor who isn’t at a draw to first hit in under 0.8 seconds might as well not even be playing the game.

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