Progressive Draw Drill

One of the most important aspects of practical shooting or a self defense situation is your ability to draw your pistol from the holster in a timely fashion. Todd Jarrett says that “If you blow the draw, you blow the string of fire” – a statement I agree with. I blogged a week or so about Mrs. Ahab helping me practice my draw, and here I’m going to elaborate a little on the Progressive Draw Drill.

  1. Clear the room of any ammunition. This is a dry-fire drill, so make sure there are no live rounds in the room with you. If you have them, load your magazine with snap caps.
  2. Check the gun to make sure it’s not loaded. Then check it again.
  3. I’m serious about this safety stuff. Do not shoot a mirror or a wall or a TV – if there is another person in the house, have them inspect the gun to make sure it’s empty as well.

Holster up your gun in your competition/carry rig – it’s important that you practice using the rig that you’re going to be using, so that the draw point in practice is the same as it would be in competition or on “the street”.

From the holster, without a timer, draw your pistol. Your start position should look something like this – your hand being close to the chest to avoid blowing a finger or two off. Do 20 reps of your draw at 1/4 speed – this is to anchor your mechanics for this drill. Each repetition of the draw should be conducted on a mental count, while maintaining fluidity of motion. For example, I think to myself “1, grab the gun, 2 meet the gun, 3 press the gun out, 4 break the shot”.

After 20 reps at 1/4 speed, move up to about 1/2 speed on the draw. Again, you’re looking for consistency and fluidity of motion. No one is in a hurry at this stage of the practice session, and your draws should be taking around 3-5 seconds at this stage of practice. Again, do 20 reps at half speed, all while maintaining your fluid motion.

Now, move up to full speed. I should note that at this stage, you should not feel “rushed” on the draw. “Full speed” in this context means get the gun out of the holster as fast as you can while maintaining control over your body mechanics and a fluid motion on the draw. If you start trying to jerk the gun out faster, your mechanics will fall apart and kill your speed. For this, you’re just trying to be faster than half speed. A good draw time for this is in the 1.5 second range, although if you’re just starting out with this drill, anything under 2.5 seconds is a good place to be. Again, the point of this drill isn’t to be screaming fast – you’re not trying to hit 0.6 seconds on a draw.

The point of this drill is to build the most critical factor in all of competitive shooting – consistency. The perfect draw is the one that is exactly the same every time – hand to gun, gun comes up and meets support hand in the middle of the body, gun goes out to target and then the shot breaks. Doing this drill will definitely help improve on both speed and consistency; because with consistency and economy of motion comes speed.

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