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Old July 1, 2010, 11:45 AM   #1
BlueTrain
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Old fashioned quick draw

I don't mean quick draw/fast draw with a Hollywood holster and a single action but old fashioned in the sense that it isn't discussed that much here. Or maybe I just miss it when it's mentioned. And I'm also aware there was a difference in quick draw and fast draw back when they were popular sports fifty years ago. That's where Jeff Cooper came in, you recall.

This is not a thread about action type, ammo type, caliber or plastic versus metal. It is about getting your gun into action and getting off your first shot (not necessarily THE first shot). And here I'm mostly thinking about from a carry, not from your bedside table or from under your pillow.

It should be a given that getting your gun, and I mean handgun, into action is critical in a self defense situation. I guess it must be practically an assumed thing since no one seems to go into the subject very deeply, if at all. It can be a problematic issue but maybe we're just assuming away the problem.

I first have to admit that I don't do this so much anymore but at one time I was very interested in the subject and devoted some of my spare time to practice. It can be fun, especially when no one shoots back, and I suspect this was one of the things that got a lot of people interested in guns and shooting, probably more so in the past than now. But it does't take long to run into a brick wall.

For one thing, there is some degree of real danger with live ammunition and there simply aren't many places to practice, at least with live ammunition. Then you run the risk of gaming the thing and using gear that you wouldn't really use to carry the thing. Ever notice the gear they use in so-called practical shooting competitions? So finally you get around to trying out your gear (and your ideas, preconceived and otherwise) with "real" stuff. Suddenly it gets so difficult that your are tempted to forget the whole thing, just the way your finally quit playing with knives. Yet it is a basic problem with a carry handgun, both concealed and openly carried, less so with the under the pillow method.

What have others here done in the way of practice and what has been your experiences both good and bad and has anyone come up with any ideas of their own on the subject.

I will be the first to admit to having dropped my gun at least once and to have finally decided that flipping off the safety on a single action auto is much more difficult (for me) than anyone else here will admit to and finally, a large frame S&W revolver in any caliber is going to be difficult.
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Old July 1, 2010, 12:24 PM   #2
booker_t
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1) Use a blue/red gun with a realistic daily-carry method.

2)
Use your duty/carry gun, fully-loaded mag (for the weight), but remove the barrel or use a Bladetech training barrel (discussed in another thread).

2b) Do your drawing exercises in pieces, commit each part of the draw stroke to muscle memory through short, repetitive, frequent practice sessions. Try them in front of the mirror and with a training partner. Slow and smooth to start, get it right. Speed will come once the motions are internalized, like hopping into your car, starting the engine and throwing it in reverse.

3) In addition to getting your pistol into the fight, equal if not greater emphasis should be put on simultaneously moving to 1) get off a square line from an attacker, especially if they already have a firearm out, 2) create space, and 3) get behind cover. And perhaps 4) communication/target identification/background identification.

4) Finally, for a rather thorough treatment of modern gunfighting, get your hands on a copy of Andy Stafford's Surgical Speed Shooting: How To Achieve High-Speed Marksmanship In A Gunfight. $9 + shipping from Amazon.

5) I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good things about Patrick McNamara's Tactical Application of Practical Shooting. $18 at Amazon.

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Old July 1, 2010, 01:33 PM   #3
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Used to practice a lot but it was limited use because I didn't like dry firing them and live fire didn't seem like a good idea with some of the holsters I was using.

Practice with snap caps was better for the gun and easier on my nerves and I practiced from a variety of positions and with the holstered guns in various places on me, ie. shoulder holster, cross draw, strong side, weak side, concealed and pocket. It helped me choose my holsters and a large number of them will probably never see a gun stuck in them again because of my practice.

Should start doing that again but somehow when I get a gun in my hand its either being shot or cleaned.
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Old July 1, 2010, 01:50 PM   #4
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Thank you for the excellent reply. You have mentioned some things I had been thinking about, especially the idea of doing everything on the move. They didn't even teach that in the army.

Point 2B is especially good, I think. Those who have never mastered a manual transmission find it amazing that people handle those without trouble, "almost automatically." But, it's easy to say, hard to do at first and the first vehicle I had for a long time even required double clutching from first to second. But, if one object is to achieve a smooth draw, I like to compare it to how easy it is to pull the wallet out of your hip pocket with your left hand (for a right handed person). That even led to some experimenting with some novel carry methods but that idea ended up going nowhere. But the point about frequent practice sessions I entirely agree with. It sort of fits in with the idea of frequent "gun handling," including dry firing, to help you with your skills, though frankly only your "gun handling" skill might improve, not necessarily your shooting skill. But that's a start just the same.

For me, the problems have been introducing that degree of tension into the practice session necessary to highlight the faults in methods and so on. Plus the even more important requirement to actually hit something once you start shooting. I've mentioined that some ranges won't allow anything like that but one I patronized did and no doubt that accounted for all the holes in the ceiling and walls, even to include the partitions between the firing lanes.

I think it used to be more common in some circles to use wax bullets for both safety reasons and for actual practice in accuracy, but I don't seem to recall much mention of that here lately, which is another reason for this thread. Accidents were something of a problem in the heyday of Western style fast draw.

And you know, I never cared to see the word surgical used in either a gunfighting or a military context because if you've ever been present at an actual surgical operation, as I have, you will know how bloody it is. But maybe that's the whole point.

This barely scratches the surface, doesn't it? I'd like to say that I think after a certain time of shooting and "gun handling," that many people should be able to devise their own methods of overcoming these problems, all of which will probably be common to all shooters.
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Old July 1, 2010, 02:13 PM   #5
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BlueTrain; many of the things you said ring true, both from my own experience and reading the musings of masters like Enos and Leatham. In particular, having a completely open mind, experimenting to the point of completely deconstructing everything you do, and discussion of how it feels each time, versus results and confidence.

The wallet analogy is excellent. I might have to borrow that! For most men, by their early 20s, it's automatic. "I need my wallet," and 1.8 seconds later it's open in front of us and the bills aren't spilling out on the floor.

Introducing tension to tease out faults.. I think for this, ideally, you have a partner with similar goals with whom you can run through exercises and discuss techniques. Have them hold your off-hand like you draw. Have them pushing or leaning on you from the front or side while you draw. Have them going for your weapon in the holster and once drawn, from various angles. For live fire, there's a good contact-distance drill where you are right up on the target, your partner yells the start command and you draw & fire while back pedaling.

I don't know anybody who uses wax projectiles. I think they have been supplanted by plastic, paint, and simunition.

Leatham's YouTube channel has some good practice drill videos that are worth checking out.

In recent years, across the military and LE there has been a trend to incorporate use of cover and effective movement into training. I suspect that will continue.
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Old July 1, 2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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Back pedaling is a dangerous tactical move, stumbling, balance, falling losing your weapon, injury, helpless target. The move that we practice is turning, stepping/running in retreat while returning fire one arm free handed with the body twist left for right handers and body twist right for left handers, and also practice retreating using oblique movements returning fire.

If anyone remembers the two officers that pulled over the pick-up truck that erupted into gun fire (you tube), the officer whose seen back pedaling for cover while trying to draw actually fell while back peddling (off dash cam) and crawled to cover behind his police car, this was admitted by the officer in later interviews.

Of course a few back pedal steps isn't a issue, but when we talk about a distance of... let say 5 yards, balance can become an issue, especially if your not in shape, or not use to back peddling while drawing under pressure.
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Old July 1, 2010, 03:22 PM   #7
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Well.........

... you COULD shoot IDPA or other games with YOUR CARRY GUN. Ask the RO what your "go" signal to first shot time was.... parctice dry fire/snap caps and use the first shot(s) time at matches as an exam....
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Old July 1, 2010, 03:48 PM   #8
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Your hitting on a pretty important aspect of self defense. If you need a gun you need it in your hand on not in the holster. I'd just unload my gun and practice drawing where you can't hurt the gun of it drops. Do it near your bed or perhaps a folded blanket on the floor.

Some guns are much easier to draw quickly than others. A 38 snub is pretty light and difficult to grab really quickly. A single action revolver can be drawn like lightning however and fired pretty acurately one handed without sights. I've quick drawn my blackhawk from cowboy rigs as well as a simple belt holster and fired at targets. If you extend the gun toward the target and point it like your finger you can do pretty good. This probably won't help me much on the street but if I was attacked in the woods I'm positive I can get off a rapid shot accurately at about 10ft or less.
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Old July 1, 2010, 04:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
... you COULD shoot IDPA or other games with YOUR CARRY GUN.
This is probably one of the best ways to practice with your carry gun! Live fire, timed, one chance to do it right (per stage) and just a little pressure given that you have spectators.

Do it for training and practice, and you can totally ignore the fact that you aren't competitive with the guys who do it with guns and gear that they'll never carry.

I understand the guys who shoot IDPA with Glock 34s and 1911s and XDMs and MP Pros... what I don't understand is why they carry Kel-Tecs and LCPs. Okay, I do understand it - for convenience - obviously.

But I compete with a CZ 9mm and I carry a CZ 9mm. I think that if you carry what you compete with, you are way ahead of the game if you actually ever need to use it in self-defense.
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Old July 1, 2010, 07:11 PM   #10
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For live fire, there's a good contact-distance drill where you are right up on the target, your partner yells the start command and you draw & fire while back pedaling.
Agree completely with Gunsite. All backpedaling does is lead to fall at worst and make the guy shoot you a couple of inches higher than if you were two steps closer at best. Try it with a buddy holding his finger at your chest. You back up a step or two. He doesn't move his "gun". It's still hitting you centermass. You've done almost nothing to survive the situation. And you may have fallen over obstacles that you can't see.

ALWAYS move offline (left or right) if you can.

Also remember that the best concealment is accurate return fire.

Sims/Paintball is useful to reinforce these concepts.
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Old July 1, 2010, 08:00 PM   #11
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Just a FWIW: I recently showed my old Bucheimer Federal Man holster, the one I wore for years as a deputy sheriff, to a current police officer. He was puzzled. "Why," he exclaimed, "You could draw with your finger on the trigger with this holster." I told him that that was exactly the idea, and demonstrated that I drew with my finger on the trigger and that the hammer was coming back while the gun was coming on target. He went pale, horrified by the lack of "safety." He was trained to carefully unsnap the holster, remove the gun gingerly, never bring the gun up or touch the trigger until he had determined the nature of the threat, the background, the age of the opponent, whether the opponent's gun might be a toy, whether non-lethal force would be better, etc., etc.

I just hope he never has to use his gun for real or he could still be reviewing the manual when they bury him.

Jim
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Old July 2, 2010, 05:40 AM   #12
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Good Post, Mr. Jim Keenan. It is always instructive to review what people thought at other times as well as what the current fads are. A lot of the old timers, most of whom were actually more like trick shooters than real gunfighters, definately believed in cutaway holsters. That's fine, if the gun won't fall out.

I already mentioned how accidents were a problem when everyone that had a gun wanted to see how fast he could be with his Colt. The same thing sometimes happens with cars. Some rigs had metal bullet deflectors at the bottom. Shooting yourself with your own gun tends to defeat the point (instead of your opponent). But I'm falling into the school, no doubt a one-room school, that isn't comfortable with a lot of safeties. I've never seen the point of pinning down the grip safety on a Colt Government Model but I already mentioned the difficulty I have with the thumb safety. I've tried the extended thumb safety and didn't like it, so much for that. It isn't that I don't trust the thumb safety, understand. It is simple to use and very positive, especially compared with thumb safeties on other pistols. But you have to made a very certain movement with your thumb to get it off. No, it isn't difficult but I fumble it every time; I'm all fingers. Combine that with any sort of safety strap on the holster and the situation becomes hopeless. But this isn't a campaign to get anyone else to give up single action autos. I've nearly always had one.

But, referring to the policeman's reaction to an old style holster, he clearly operates under different guidelines and different circumstances than we do. It is sort of a handicap but we have our own legal handicaps, too, and perhaps for that reason, a quick draw might be a little more important to us. The policeman has to do it someone else's way; we don't.
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Old July 2, 2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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Back pedaling is a dangerous tactical move, stumbling, balance, falling losing your weapon, injury, helpless target.
Agreed. I teach my students to move as you described. Turn your hips in the desired direction and go.....while engaging the target. You want your hips pointed in the direction you wish to move. Use your upper body like a turret to swivel around allowing for target engagement. It is possible to use two hands for all angles forward and up to about 90 degrees lateral. The rest require one hand fire.

To the OP, Purchase a LaserLyte laser targeting system it will allow you to draw, dry fire, and get a visual on your place of impact. This makes draw and dry fire practice fun. It also makes this training GOOD training as you can see your potential hit/miss and correct.

Last edited by threegun; July 2, 2010 at 04:35 PM.
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Old July 2, 2010, 06:04 PM   #14
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Has anyone mentioned using airsoft, yet?
Just about like practicing the draw and shooting with the real thing, but without the risk.
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Old July 2, 2010, 06:31 PM   #15
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Just another $.02...

I dont rely on a quick draw, nor would I recomend anyone else depend on it. I believe situational awareness is much much more effective.

While on patrol my duty holster was a pouch that covered everything except the grip. It required a kind of thumb release and didnt lend well to a quick fast draw... but it was completely secure. I did learn a faster aquisition.. but by no means a quick draw.

If I was to practice something it would be situational awareness. Not quick draw methods.

But thats just me.

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Old July 2, 2010, 07:20 PM   #16
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Hi, Blue Train,

The thinking in those days was that all the target evaluation, assessment, etc. was done before the gun was brought into play. The gun would not be drawn unless the officer intended to fire at a specific target, then it was brought into action as quickly as possible, with no hesitation. I have no problem with safety, but I think those overconcerned with safety are missing a point: A GUNFIGHT IS AN UNSAFE ENVIRONMENT! Trying to engage an armed opponent while practicing "safety first" is like a NASCAR driver worrying about tailpipe emissions.

That does not mean that one should fire into a crowd or blow one's toes off; but staying alive is the primary aim, and taking a bullet in the head is highly unsafe, even if approved by OSHA.

Jim
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Old July 2, 2010, 08:55 PM   #17
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You should certainly use a gun that you are confident in your ability to handle. There are a lot of them without manual safeties, get one you like and quit worrying about it.

The thing about practice is that you have to know what to practice, how to practice, how to know when you are doing it right, and how to tell if you are improving.

Formal training and regular refresher courses are a good idea.

Competition in IDPA or IPSC will let you know how your gunhandling and shooting are if you can avoid the Dogmatic Tactician's Alarums over "bad habits." You don't have to game it. I see people every week shooting their actual carry guns out of their daily carry holsters. Even more use something similar enough to be of value.
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Old July 2, 2010, 10:07 PM   #18
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If you want to learn ‘rapid presentation’, AKA ‘quick draw’, you need to work your way up to that skill level.

In the house use only red/blue guns. Buy one and then drill a hole where the barrel is and superglue in lead slugs. Drill a hole in the grip from the bottom and do the same with some lead. Try to get it to feel just like your shooting iron in weight and balance.

Holsters. I’d use Kyndex for the holster. It’s faster than leather and does not collapse when re-holstering. Use the same holster for both practice and carry (or at least a duplicate one!)

Fine a notch in the rear sight to match the sights on your real shooting gun.

Now every night practice without any coat. Smooth and slow. Strive for a perfect draw every time. If you mess up once, re-do it with at least 10 strait perfect draws.

Concentrate on proper grip from the first instant you touch the gun.

Make sure your draw is in a straight line upwards that matches the contours of the holster.

If you wish to shoot from a two handed hold or a one handed hold will just depend on what you are after. If pure speed with only fairly good hits, then one handed from the hip will give you the fastest draw there is.

If you want good accuracy at any speed then go to a two handed Isosceles at eye level. It’s a bit slower but far more accurate at any range. If you go this route position of your feet is very important to ensure the sights are in alignment the very instant you get into the Isosceles. For lighting fast and accurate shots you must automatically have a good index on the target the instant the gun is brought up.

Then once a week go to the range and use your real shooting gun. Start slow again. Always make sure you get good hits. If your hits start to scatter, slow back down a bit. There is no use being fast but a lousy shot! Here fire only one shot each time. Pick a spot and draw trying to hit the spot. Make sure you have that perfect grip and perfect instant sight alignment.

Now here is where you visualize. Yes on the range you visualize what the shot should look like and then do it without thinking. In time as you gain skill you will 'see' the shot before you even do it.

It will take many months, but if you practice most nights for ½ hour and shoot each weekend you will become quite fast, and quite accurate. But it will take sacrifice.

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Old July 3, 2010, 06:03 AM   #19
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I dont rely on a quick draw, nor would I recomend anyone else depend on it. I believe situational awareness is much much more effective.
SA is much more effective however just because folks practice quick target engagement doesn't mean they are solely relying on it. One can become proficient in both. One thing is for sure you cannot be in condition yellow every second of your life. Even if you could someone could lull you into a false sense of security or not present you a drawable offense until a fast draw would be beneficial.

Another benefit is your ability to point shoot will be enhanced and you will have increased time with gun in hand.


Quote:
Just about like practicing the draw and shooting with the real thing, but without the risk.
Risk? Everyone keeps mentioning the risk. If we are not savvy enough to make our guns safe for this exercise then we probably shouldn't be doing it.
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Old July 3, 2010, 08:39 AM   #20
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Avoiding risks, while learning something new, is about surviving one's mistakes.
Mistakes will be made, and it's probably best if they didn't have permanent consequences.
The statistics, that are kept on the subject of accidental discharges, say that most of them happen when a handgun is taken out of or returned to the holster.
Practicing fast draws involves both and lots of them.
With Murphy and his laws always lurking, non guns are a real good idea.
With the realism offered by the better airsofts, they get my vote.

Last edited by g.willikers; July 3, 2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old July 3, 2010, 05:12 PM   #21
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The statistics, that are kept on the subject of accidental discharges, say that most of them happen when a handgun is taken out of or returned to the holster.
How about using an UNLOADED firearm? It isn't that hard to insure safety. I still say that if you are unable to insure that your firearm is safe then you are not ready for advanced gun handling anyway.

Get the basics of safe firearm handling down pat and then move to a more difficult exercise.
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Old July 4, 2010, 12:41 AM   #22
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Another thought. Buy the right holster / rig for what you'll be doing. If this is for professional or CCW carry than you need to use what you'll wear. I use my DeSantis shoulder rig, horizontal draw when I have a jacket on or my Fobus for shirtsleeve days.
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Old July 4, 2010, 01:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueTrain
...It should be a given that getting your gun, and I mean handgun, into action is critical in a self defense situation. I guess it must be practically an assumed thing since no one seems to go into the subject very deeply, if at all....
All of the handgun classes I've taken have dealt with this and taught proper, and quick, presentation.

It's something I practice regularly at home dry fire (using snap caps). One range I frequent allows those of us who have qualified to do live fire drills from the holster. And the IPSC/IDPA club I belong to allows on designated practice days live fire practice from the holster and shooting practice stages. There's no reason you can't participate in IPSC and/or IDPA using your carry gun, but some gear might not be allow -- like cross draw holsters, shoulder holsters, belly bands, etc.

When learning these sorts of techniques, go slowly and by the numbers. You are trying for smoothness. And as you get smoother, you will get quicker.
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:39 AM   #24
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Very interesting topic to me. My thoughts on this is that the quick draw, although romanticized in some corners and dismissed by others, is an effective tool for self-defense situations. It's just one more piece of the puzzle. I think it should be practiced regularly just like the other necessary skills. I remember reading in Bill Jordan's fine book No Second Place Winner that a man should not feel like he is a master of the handgun unless he can draw and effectively hit a target in less than a 1/2 second. The best I've done from a thumb strap holster at a target 7 yards away, using the front sight, is just under one second. I've been a civilian LEO for 15 years and I have seen limited emphasis on it. It's not talked about often or practiced on the range much. As a firearms instructor, I do think it is important to talk about and to strive for the quickest, yet smoothest draw, you can get and that includes while moving laterally. I do agree with others that it is about perfect practice. Perfection in movement should be sought before maximum speed is attempted. Economy of motion should be paramount when conducting perfect practice. Obviously, the holster is very important to the draw. I am of firm belief that a good leather thumb strap holster (level 1) is about the best you can get when it comes to an acceptable quick draw/security combination. Personally, I like it better than the index finger release that you see all of the time now.

I have used wax bullets before (revolver). Very easy to load these things up using your reloader. It would all be great except one problem: after a few rounds, I've experienced severe "leading" of the barrel quickly followed by one them getting jammed in the barrel. Cleaning sucked. No more for me at this time.

One last point, I saw that two Tampa Police officers were killed last week by a suspect when they attempted to arrest him for an outstanding warrant. This was on a car stop and during the attempted arrest, the suspect was able to draw a pistol and shoot both officers in the head at close range. I don't know all of the details so comments are limited to it provoked in my mind, the idea of a quick draw and the first guy may not have had a chance but maybe the second guy, with the right mindset, holster, and practice, could have gotten a hit into the suspect. Again, not monday morning quarterbacking, it just got me to thinking.

Last edited by bds32; July 4, 2010 at 07:45 AM.
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Old July 4, 2010, 10:05 AM   #25
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One last point, I saw that two Tampa Police officers were killed last week by a suspect when they attempted to arrest him for an outstanding warrant. This was on a car stop and during the attempted arrest, the suspect was able to draw a pistol and shoot both officers in the head at close range. I don't know all of the details so comments are limited to it provoked in my mind, the idea of a quick draw and the first guy may not have had a chance but maybe the second guy, with the right mindset, holster, and practice, could have gotten a hit into the suspect. Again, not monday morning quarterbacking, it just got me to thinking.
The suspect turned himself in a couple days ago. I was told by HCSO deputies that dash cam video captured the whole thing. So soon we will be able to see first hand how this thug was able to kill 2 officers without so much as a response. I was told by several of our customers that this guy was responsible for 3 more murders as well so he is no stranger to killing.
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