I do see your point, but I think I would hint if the situation was coming down to clearing leather. At that point to hint is another attempt to avoid, and both people get to walk away.
The element of suprise is important, but if he's not carrying you don't want to pull, and shoot. If he is openly armed then only speed matters. If your not sure if he's armed, hinting may be a way to find out, and if he is, then only speed matters! Huh????
I never cease to confuse myself