View Full Version : Slow and Steady Wins The Race
December 14, 2011, 06:59 PM
Well maybe quick and steady wins the race? I am talking about one of the most important aspects of concealed carry. The draw. I got advice from a gang unit LEO on firearms training and how to proceed with this specific task. I will share the information with everyone here.
I unload my gun and make sure that I am in a safe area. I go through the entire process of the draw SLOWLY. I did this since the day I purchased my handgun (the day I turned 21). I put on my standard every day clothes and for 20 minutes a day I would perfect the shirt lift. I then took the next step of getting my hand on the gun. Next step was getting the gun out of the holster and moving it to the first position I would need(2 hands and controlling my weapon). I didn't even bother extending my arms during these practice sessions. I did this slow and steady step by step process for at least a year and a half. I did it so often that there were days I would catch myself going through the motion with no gun, needless to say it started a few odd conversations. Anyway.
I can now say that, while I am NOT Quick Draw McGraw, I am proficient at the draw. Arm extension is not an issue(something I worked on during live fire), and getting a gun out of the holster is a nice and smoothe process. I still have the occasional hang up in practice since I speed up sometimes, but I always go back and do the same process of shirt rise and draw from IWB.
If anyone has any suggestions to help me improve my draw I would love tips, but I will always go back to the slow and steady process.
December 14, 2011, 07:45 PM
I am pretty sure it will never come down to the speed of the draw if you are ever unlucky enough to need to draw. However, equipment is very important. A simple retention holster with a single button that releases the weapon as you pull it out is greatly preferable to just about every other kind of holster and will allow you to draw quickly.
December 14, 2011, 08:16 PM
I think that skills in drawing quickly are good. Possible it just a bad term because of Hollywood but calling it quick draw invokes peoples sarcasm easily so let's call it drawing smoothly. Practicing smooth-draw conjures images of slow fire and is totally misleading in that because smoothness of draw is speed. ;)
Weapon presentation is everything in my opinion. When Democracy fails it usually fails very fast you are likely to be being heavily stressed and distracted at the moment your inner voice says you better draw...if you have practiced this 5000 times or more then you will be more efficient at it and able to free up your attention to more critical issues at the moment. Does that make sense?
December 14, 2011, 09:46 PM
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
December 15, 2011, 10:18 AM
A simple retention holster with a single button that releases the weapon as you pull it out is greatly preferable to just about every other kind of holster
I would like to see an elaboration on that. I have been carrying IWB with a form-fitted holster for a couple of decades without a problem. I am not sure that the potential for human and/or mechanical failure inherent in a button retention/release mechanism is "greatly preferable." Am I missing something?
December 15, 2011, 11:23 AM
Am I missing something?
No, I think youre spot on.
Being practiced enough to be smooth and speedy is good, and should be constantly fine tuned. Personally, I think more importantly, deception and stealth are probably an even more important skill to have. The speed part is more reactive, where having the gun in hand discretely before hand, is more proactive.
December 15, 2011, 11:37 AM
Tactics and gear aside, there is an advantage in training in slow motion: It reveals wasted movement, or in some cases instants of unbalanced motion, that would have been concealed by speed.
This is particularly true if footwork is involved. Picture shooting on the move, reversing direction and drawing, etc. If you can do it slowly, and stay on balance, then doing it more quickly shouldn't be too hard.
December 15, 2011, 12:42 PM
Slow, steady are the way to go.
Prior to joining the SO I had never practiced drawing my pistol. My carry had been strickly military with the standard flap holster or hunting.
When I joined the force I started practicing. I concentrated on the individual steps in the process. Grasp the weapon, activate the thumb break, draw the weapon, grasp with weak hand, align sighte, fire the weapon.
I never tryed for speed. My training officer was considered the fastest in the department.
The first time we did a felony stop we both exited our squad car. My weapon just appeared on target. I was about half a second faster than my partner.
Effectively train your muscles and the speed will come.
December 15, 2011, 07:13 PM
Smooth is fast, fast is smooth.
You are doing a great thing for yourself by training the way you are. Trying to be fast right off the bad will give you bad habbits has you haven't worked on the basics yet.
December 15, 2011, 11:40 PM
Good job on getting the reps. I don't prescribe to that smooth is fast idiom that became popular with "The Unforgiven" with Clint Eastwood. Although you do want to start out smooth and slow, the whole idea is to develop your technique to be as fast and smooth as you can accurately. On the street it's a function of your situation. You should always get out of the holster as fast as you can and place as many rounds down range as accurately as you can. Look at pistolcraft as a wheel where accuracy, speed, and efficient body mechanics or a smooth draw are the spokes. All components are interdependant and build on one another. To say speed is not important, though is just incorrect. If speed were of no consequence then why does every LEO academy, that can afford it, have a timed course of fire with turning targets that require you to get rounds off in a prescribed or optimal amount of time?
December 16, 2011, 12:17 AM
It's useless to draw fast if you don't get a good grip on the gun and throw it across the room instead of pulling it out and presenting it in a controlled fashion. Or if you have to waste all the time (plus more) you saved by rushing things trying to cheat your grip around so that you can get a decent shooting hold on the gun after you've drawn it. Or if you don't clear your cover garment and end up getting the gun partially out of the holster before something binds and stops the draw stroke short. Or if you get your finger on the trigger before you intended to and shoot yourself or maybe just waste a round into the floor if you're lucky.
Practice doing it RIGHT. That generally means that you need to intentionally go slow so that you can be sure that every move is exactly correct.
When it becomes second nature to do it RIGHT every single time, you will find that speed comes naturally too.
Trying to draw fast before proper technique is fully ingrained is a recipe for bad habits and carries the potential for disaster.
December 16, 2011, 12:35 AM
"More time is required to master the handgun than any other type of firearm. To become an expert sixgun shot, one must live with the gun. Only by constant use and practice can one acquire a thorough mastery of the shortgun. You must work and play with it, eat with it, sleep with it, and shoot it every day - until it becomes a part of you and you handle it as surely as you would your knife and fork at the table."
Elmer Keith, Sixguns, page 57
December 16, 2011, 01:03 AM
This isn't directed at any individual so please don't take offense.
I'm forty seven and I don't feel old, but it must be catching up with me, because the idea of novice practicing speed drawing and firing with live ammunition is a disquieting thought.
I realize if someone wants to do it, they have to learn somehow, but I'd hate to be there. I guess we just have to hope for the best.
I can't relate a lifetime of gun handling into a single post. So if I could just offer two words of advice...be careful.
December 16, 2011, 08:08 AM
Like anything else, to get fast, practice slow. It's much like learning to play hot licks on an electric guitar. You start off very slow, playing it perfectly, then gradually play faster. If you start out trying to play a lick full speed, as so many do, 10 years from now you'll still be struggling with it.
Do the same with your draw, dry-firing. One point with drawing is that you do it in stages. First is "purchasing," actually moving your hand to the weapon and taking proper hold of it. You can do this part slightly slower than the actual draw-and-fire. The purchase is critically important. It's amazing how fast you can draw and fire once you have a secure, correct grip. But again, in any case, start slow, get down the details, then gradually speed up over a period of a couple of weeks or so. Just go through the motions say, 50-100 times a day, and get it all ingrained in your muscle memory.
December 16, 2011, 01:03 PM
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Said twice already, but I will say it again.
December 16, 2011, 03:39 PM
When I was a puppy I used to try fast but finally settled for smooth and not dropping my gun. It makes my first shot more likely to be the only shot I need.
December 16, 2011, 05:00 PM
In the little force-on-force training I've done, I've seen very few situations where a fast draw would have been useful - and most of those could have been avoided to begin with by better situational awareness and/or tactics.
On the flip side, I've seen (both firsthand and as a bystander) pistols slingshotted across the gravel after they got stuck in the cover garment, pistols dropped, Master-class IDPA shooters missing shots on an entire human being at distances of less than 5yds because they got in a hurry and missed their master grip on the draw, etc.
Personally, if I could choose between spotting a situation develop 2 seconds earlier and having a 0.5 second draw, I'd take the situational awareness edge every time. Execute the draw correctly with perfect form. Concentrate on doing that and forget about speed and you'll be fast enough without much problem.
December 16, 2011, 05:45 PM
Personally, if I could choose between spotting a situation develop 2 seconds earlier and having a 0.5 second draw, I'd take the situational awareness edge every time.
I agree, I have a half second draw and I'd much rather a) not have to use my pistol period, by avoiding the situation, or b) already have it in my hand before the shooting started.
Putting it all together and drawing a handgun, then firing full power defense ammunition, that actually strikes the target, takes lots of practice. Its also dangerous, lots of people have shot themselves in the leg or foot doing it.
Having a good holster is a place to start, I suppose mine are old fashioned and not tacticool, but so am I and the 1911 style platform I prefer. :)
From left to right: N-Frame Bianchi Cyclone, K-frame Bianchi L58, El Paso Saddlery Tom Three Persons for the SAA, S.D. Myres for 4" j-frame, S.D. Myres for 2" j-frame. Bottom: El Paso Saddlery Yaqui Slide
I've got lots of holsters, but I'm fastest out of the above. I really don't practice with revolvers much anymore. So I can clear the Yaqui Slide the fastest.
I took that pic of my timer, because I thought eight rounds of +P 230 grain .45ACP that all hit the A-zone of an ISPC target 5 yards away was pretty good.
You can see I drew and fired one shot in .53 and then seven more in 1.55 for a 2.08 total. If I draw at my own volition, instead of in response to the timer beep, I can cut that first shot time in half.
All it took was a lot of practice. Is it worth it, or practical? I dunno, but its fun doing it and then seeing the look on peoples faces, while .45 ACP cases are still falling from the air. :)
December 18, 2011, 07:50 PM
This sounds like the "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" training methodology from the 1980's. To me, this type of training seems to be motivated by the idea that more firearm control = less liability and not so much about winning the race.
December 18, 2011, 08:32 PM
To me, this type of training seems to be motivated by the idea that more firearm control = less liability and not so much about winning the race.No, that's missing the point.
Here's a quote from a post a few posts up from yours.On the flip side, I've seen (both firsthand and as a bystander) pistols slingshotted across the gravel after they got stuck in the cover garment, pistols dropped, Master-class IDPA shooters missing shots on an entire human being at distances of less than 5yds because they got in a hurry and missed their master grip on the draw, etc.More firearm control = not screwing it up and losing more time than you could have gained by rushing.
If you don't have time to fumble around and pick your gun up off the ground or if you don't want to deal with a self-inflicted gunshot to the leg, then you have the time to do it RIGHT the first time. Even if it takes you a tiny bit longer to do it RIGHT than it would to do it as fast as you possibly could.
December 18, 2011, 11:08 PM
if I could choose between spotting a situation develop 2 seconds earlier and having a 0.5 second draw, I'd take the situational awareness edge every time.
So would I but a man may not always have a choice due to a human's capacity for treachery. Many o' police officer has learned this the hard way. My point is unless you view all other persons as an immediate threat and you hold the handgun in your hand during these chance contacts with strangers, you may very well be reacting to their action. In that event, I think being as quick as you can be, while still controlling the pistol in regards to holding onto it correctly and getting the rounds in the right spot is the right attitude. Fractions of seconds could mean the difference between living and dying. Even if you are hit first, getting your shots off quickly could keep you from taking another hit.
I like the whole idea of starting slow and working that to perfection before continually picking it up. Push the envelope in training until things start to get sloppy then come back to where they aren't. I like what an earlier poster (Chileverde 1) said about disregarding the need for speed being an incorrect attitude. It is just one more piece of your complete package if you are to be a finished handgunner. Good stuff nate45 on the 1/2 second draw and hit at five yards. That sort of mastery epitomizes the serious handgunner. I've done it in less than second but no where near a half second...yet.
December 19, 2011, 07:09 AM
I was practicing this last evening with my Ruger .45. Because you (or at least I) wear different clothes all the time, you have to keep in practice drawing under different arrangements to keep yourself "warmed up," in a manner of speaking. Some concealment arrangements are great from a concealment standpoint, not so good for making a smooth draw. But a fairly quick draw is still possible nevertheless. The Ruger (P345) is a fairly good compromise for size and weight and has a good smooth profile. It also is a double action, which I prefer for the first shot. In fact, I wish it were double action only.
I did that a few times and as usual, I reach a point where I think it is almost meaningless because it all has to do with watching a clock, rather like drag racers waiting for the light to change. In other words, it is completely unrealistic. To win, in real life, you have to somehow come to a mental "ready" position before the game starts. That's were the problems start to show up. It just isn't possible to be in a fully alert and "ready" condition all the time. If you are, well, that just isn't living.
And, oh, yeah, you still have to hit the target.
December 19, 2011, 08:49 AM
Since speed seems important, I hope "quickly" moving offline while drawing and shooting is part of your drill.
No sense being an easy target standing there performing a reactionary quick draw. ;)
December 19, 2011, 08:57 AM
I like the whole idea of starting slow and working that to perfection before continually picking it up. Push the envelope in training until things start to get sloppy then come back to where they aren't. I like what an earlier poster (Chileverde 1) said about disregarding the need for speed being an incorrect attitude.
The reason I concentrate on accuracy, and not speed, in training, is that doing it right leads to both accuracy and speed. Trying to push yourself in terms of speed, inevitably leads to poor accuracy and if done frequently enough, will build in bad habits.
My point is unless you view all other persons as an immediate threat and you hold the handgun in your hand during these chance contacts with strangers, you may very well be reacting to their action.
Again, just from what I've seen in Force-on-Force training, the sticking point for most people isn't the speed of their draw; but the speed at which they recognize they are in a life-or-death fight. And considering that we are in Force-on-Force where people pretty much know that is the point of the whole exercise, I can't imagine what it must be like for officers who have to face that situation in real life. Either way though, my point is that draw speed is rarely the sticking point in the OODA loop.
To give an example, we had a video on here not too long ago where a guy who was open carrying got into a gunfight. On video, you can't see ANY reaction from this guy until after he has been shot, and even then, it never occurs to him once during the whole incident to put his hand on his pistol. He may have been faster than Jelly Bryce for all I know; but it didn't help him much.
December 19, 2011, 02:22 PM
I'm forty seven and I don't feel old, but it must be catching up with me, because the idea of novice practicing speed drawing and firing with live ammunition is a disquieting thought. That's why I'm a big fan of plastic training bullets powered by primer only. I use Speer's plastic training bullets. I'm sure there are others. They allow me to practice in the garage (well ventilated.) I practice draw to first shot. My times and first shot accuracy have improved enormously since I started practicing.
December 19, 2011, 02:27 PM
Here are some good questions for anyone contemplating the fast draw...When are you going to use a fast draw? Why would you need to? Are you by necessity in a high risk position? Are you really bad at situational awareness?
IF someone has a firearm trained on you and IF they momentarily avert their attention, you might be able to draw, fire and hit them, before they shoot you. Maybe, depending on who it was and even if you do hit them first, they might very easily still shoot you. By the way, the proceeding only applies to someone who has lots and lots of practice and is wearing their handgun in a manner that can be quickly accessed.
If its a situation where someone starts shooting at you first, when you least expect it. Well, unless your assailant is a terrible shot, you've been shot and what any human would be able to do from that point is highly uncertain. I try to keep an open mind and I know there are exceptional people in the world. However, if anyone claims they can calmly respond to an unexpected assault by gunfire...lets just say I have my doubts.
As others have noted being able to smoothy access you handgun without fumbling it, is a more valuable asset than a split second draw. Being able to shoot accurate 1.5 second Mozambique drills and 2 second magazine dumps is neat, but I'm not sure how valuable it is in the real world.
December 19, 2011, 02:38 PM
Trying to draw fast before proper technique is fully ingrained is a recipe for bad habits and carries the potential for disaster.
Please note that the proper technique is very, very smooooooth. There should not be even a tiny pause point at any point after the gun comes out of the holster, until that briefest of moments while you verify sights and press the trigger.
A lot of people learn a 4-count draw, and they pause between each count. That slows you down and makes you more likely to fumble. Instead, think of each step as a point you pass through, not as an ending point in & of itself. Practice moving smoothly through each of the counts, rather than pausing at each one. The goal is to make the join points so smooth that nobody would ever notice them. The way to do that? Move as slowly as you need to in order to work smoothly and correctly throughout the entire draw sequence. If you have one step that takes you a little longer to perfect, slow down your entire sequence to smooth out that point, then speed up the entire sequence. Don't practice jerky movements -- practice smooth ones.
When it's time to replace the gun in the holster, slow down even more, no matter how fast you've been working. A lot of people have shot themselves in the butt over the years because they never learned that there's no point to jamming the gun quickly back in the holster -- ever. Slow down, change gears, make sure your finger is safely indexed on the frame and that no clothing or other obstructions are in the way. Move slowly enough that you have time to stop completely if something hangs up as you reholster.
When I intend to reholster, I bring the gun to my comfortable low ready position with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. I take a long, deep breath and let it out slowly. I look around: who's on the range with me? What are they doing? I make sure my finger is safely on the frame. Then (and only then) do I put the gun away... slowly.
What, not tactical enough? But it is: I just described the really important behavior of calming yourself down and breaking out of tunnel vision after you shoot. It's a skill that needs to be done with deliberation and thoughtfulness, and isn't simply a matter of swiveling your head around as fast as you can move.
December 19, 2011, 04:18 PM
I went on youtube to try to find some examples of proper technique. After having my eyes assaulted by various donks, that swung their pistols around in a dangerous manner and re-holstered them as fast, or faster than they drew; I ran across the videos of the young man in the links below, who in my estimation, knows the right way to handle a pistol.
Corey USPSA 12 18 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD7tybt26m0&list=UUbYFBbrZnKYS-i4paROwJyg&index=2&feature=plcp)
He's smooth on the draw and subsequently quick, his fire is controlled, accurate and his gun handling safe.
Corey Fast Draw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1JUx4x9N98)
He seems a little overly impressed by his own performance in the above video, but he does demonstrate the proper way to re-holster a pistol. As Cathy pointed out, no need to hurry then, safety is the only concern.
December 19, 2011, 09:36 PM
This thread reminds me of an incident that happened in the DFW metroplex area awhile back. A criminal knocked on a house door and when the resident answered, the criminal made it clear that he was there to rob them. The resident was not compliant and the criminal (who hadn't drawn his gun yet) tried to draw his gun rapidly. He shot and killed himself.
December 20, 2011, 09:52 AM
Either way though, my point is that draw speed is rarely the sticking point in the OODA loop.
Yes, and that is a sound point. My counterpoint is that even though rare, it is a possibility and has been a reality for some unlucky folks. As a result, it is something to be considered instead of being disregarded as inconsequential. It is not everything, only one thing, and as the old addage goes, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
You are correct when you talk about situational awareness being very important. Equally as important is the warrior mindset when forced into a fight. Good folks will be forced into some sort of defensive action by the offensive actions of criminals. The quick response to this offensive action gets the OODA loop going in our favor and puts us on the offensive until the fight is won. In some cases, that will include getting the pistol out of the holster and on target very quickly.
December 20, 2011, 10:24 AM
Plastic training bullets seems like a good idea. Wax bullets used to be used when cowboy-style fast draw was all the rage, even though most of those contests just used blanks. One of the basic problems here is finding a place to actually practice drawing and firing (fast or otherwise). Just like rapid fire, some ranges frown on such things.
Elmer Keith used to claim there was little need for fast draw, although he practiced it as an art. He may have been it more as a stunt or a form of trick shooting. Either way, I suspect that most of us would lose on our reaction time, rather than our action time.
I am still a little troubled with the difficulty of drawing from cover (concealed, I mean). The better the concealment, the more difficult a smooth draw is and like you say, smooth is a Good Thing, but here I'm referring also to a medium-large auto from an inside-waistband holster. Other carry methods and other size handguns may produce different results. For instance, I notice how easy it is to make a fast draw with a light barreled S&W Model 10, including from an IWB-holster, just because the pistol seems so light, although I'm not at all certain about the "pointability," compared with a heavier barrel, even a 3" barrel.
December 20, 2011, 10:43 AM
As a result, it is something to be considered instead of being disregarded as inconsequential.
Yes; but if you concentrate on doing the draw smoothly and correctly, the speed aspect will appear on its own without any great emphasis on training to be fast. The other side of that is not true, if you train with an emphasis on being fast, you will generally build in bad habits (and often not be as fast as you would have if you had concentrated on accuracy/smoothness).
I am not saying speed is inconsequential. I am just saying that it is a byproduct of a smooth and correct draw and that concentrating on doing the draw right will bring both speed and accuracy with practice.
December 20, 2011, 11:14 AM
One of the basic problems here is finding a place to actually practice drawing and firing (fast or otherwise). Just like rapid fire, some ranges frown on such things.
With the numerous airsoft offerings these days, you can actually do it right in your house, and even against each other. The guns are close enough to the correct size and weight, that you really cant tell the difference, and they will fit in your "real" holster. The "gas" guns work just like the real thing, short the blast and recoil. They do have a recoil of sorts though, and you do need to track the sights through it, so its still pretty realistic
Youre right about ranges and them not being very "user friendly" towards realistic practice. Most places wont even let you use realistic targets anymore.
December 20, 2011, 01:20 PM
Only had to draw and shoot fast twice in my life. I have no idea what my time was but both times I shot and hit before I even realized I had actually drawn the gun. One time right handed when I had to quickly put down a deer that jumped up and was heading for distant parts after we thought she was dead, that was a right handed draw using a 1911 38 super out of a 1940 style military flap holster. The second I had a broken right arm and I had to draw and shoot left handed at an attacking dog less than 10' from me and closing fast. That was with an open top cowboy style holster with a thong over the hammer for a retaining device.
Both were reaction scenarios that were unexpected with retaining devices in place, flap down and buttoned and the leather loop over the hammer. I don't think fast draw training would have helped me much but an awful lot of practice drawing and shooting for score may have helped me to automatically make a smooth draw.
I have never been able to do a fast draw against the clock or in contest with somebody without losing my gun at least once, usually multiple times. And those games were with the gun loose in the holster and no retaining devices in use. Thank God for Snap Caps. I am a firm believer in the old adage, "The hurrieder you go the behinder you get." and it's corollary "Practice makes perfect."
December 20, 2011, 03:14 PM
It is a matter of coolness under pressure, which you may be assured is easier to write about than to do. But it happens frequently to lots of people, although hardly involving life-or-death senarios, though it could be close. The best way I can describe it is a practiced reaction to a sudden event. And it is more than likely something that you've done before. Here are a few examples:
If you wear glasses, protecting your glasses under certain circumstances becomes an almost automatic response. It is second nature. Or to catch a falling object which has been knocked over or something you've dropped. If you have a dog or cat that will snap at you after you have teased it one time too many, you develop real good reactions. The best (worst) incident I had to react to was when the hood of the car I was driving came open.
Frankly, it's still hard to predict how you might react the next time. I only had the hood fly up once but I don't always catch the falling dish, I've been scratched a few times by the cat (sometimes he's faster, sometimes I am) and I went through a lot of glasses when I was younger.
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