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Old September 16, 2012, 01:44 PM   #1
dahermit
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Revolver holster Fast-Draw Cant?

In my continuing quest of fast-draw speed with a revolver, I have observed that the Bill Jordan Border Patrol holster, et.al., has a forward cant. I find this counter-intuitive, and have been making, using, and evaluating holsters with a rearward cant (as in a cross-draw holster, albeit used from the right-strong side), which seems to make more sense to me inasmuch as it does not require a downward bend in the shooter's wrist. But, with the speed that was exhibited by Bill Jordan, there must be a reason for the forward cant.
Can anyone enlighten me as to: Reason for it, exactly how the hand was to grip the gun, etc.
I have a "No Second Place Winner" coming soon, but want to hear from the knowledgeable on the subject.
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Old September 16, 2012, 01:50 PM   #2
Shadi Khalil
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I like my IWB holsters to have a slight cant. I think it's something like 15 degrees so it's not leaning forward so much that you have to go out of your way to get the gun up. I also find that the slight canting helps with concealment, especially with a medium to full size gun.
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Old September 16, 2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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IMO...

Speaking only of OWB quick-draw rigs... it's the firearms position relative to the body upon draw vs. firearm angle relative to the target.
With a forward cant, the gun is already angled muzzle forward... less than 90 degrees, but with a rearward and upward pull towards and perhaps even behind the hip.
With a rearward cant, the pull places the gun forward of the hip, but the muzzle must be rotated over 90 degrees to target after you clear leather.

Which is better? I believe that it really depends on the individual. It takes a little more hand and wrist control to rotate the gun from a rearward cant, and more elbow and shoulder control to bring the gun to target from a forward cant.
I've always been a little faster with a modest forward canted holster, placed in the 2-2:30 position (I'm left handed, but I'll use right handed O-clock position to avoid confusion) because of limited hand/wrist mobility.

And then there are the Berns-Martin design "break-front" holsters.

Do some dedicated practice for at least a few sessions from both positions, actually all three if you've not worked with a no cant rig, and you'll figure out for yourself which is quicker for you.
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Old September 16, 2012, 02:45 PM   #4
tomrkba
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Bill Jordan's book is very good. Also take a look at Grant Cunningham's The Gun Digest Book of the Revolver.

Forward holster cant does enhance the draw. Too much will reduce efficiency (I have tried it). The cant presents the grips to the hand in a way that assists you in achieving a proper grip.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
I like my IWB holsters to have a slight cant. I think it's something like 15 degrees so it's not leaning forward so much that you have to go out of your way to get the gun up. I also find that the slight canting helps with concealment, especially with a medium to full size gun.
My fast-draw quest is for the purpose of fun/hobby. Therefore, I am not making any concesson to concealablity at the expense of speed.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:26 PM   #6
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Do some dedicated practice for at least a few sessions from both positions, actually all three if you've not worked with a no cant rig, and you'll figure out for yourself which is quicker for you.
As I remember (yes I was alive then), Bill Jordan insisted that his holster was in the ideal position for the fastest draw. He taught all his students to use that (holster/forward cant), method to fast draw. So it would seem that Bill Jordan would not agree with your suggestion that I practice with both to see what was best. He was adamant that forward cant was best.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:28 PM   #7
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Spend less time on the particular cant of the holster and more on studying the twitch and super twitch muscles and how to build them.

But if you want to think of equipment, look at the lightest revolvers made.. and then make them lighter. And just get a mirror and see where the angle of your wrists is when it reaches belt level, that will determine the cant you need unless you intend drawing like Bill Jordan did (in a circular motion) where your wrist breaks lock.

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Old September 16, 2012, 04:39 PM   #8
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So it would seem that Bill Jordan would not agree with your suggestion that I pact ice with both to see what was best. He was adamant that forward cant was best.
Ahh.... If we could all but follow one voice, what a dull and tedious world this would be.

Please... do as you wish Mr. dahermit, but don't denigrate a respondents comments when you yourself requested such responses.

Cheers,
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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Spend less time on the particular cant of the holster and more on studying the twitch and super twitch muscles and how to build them.
At this time, I studying holsters as they relate to speed of draw. I will concern myself with minute physiology at a later date.

Quote:
But if you want to think of equipment, look at the lightest revolvers made.. and then make them lighter.
Ditto to that above, I have purchased a m66 (K Frame as that considered ideal by Jordan), with which to practice.

Quote:
And just get a mirror and see where the angle of your wrists is when it reaches belt level, that will determine the cant you need unless you intend drawing like Bill Jordan did (in a circular motion) where your wrist breaks lock.
That is what I am concerned with at this time. The actual draw and how Bill Jordan did it(the book is on it's way). Not having his book yet, by "circular draw", I assume that you mean in a counter-clock wise motion as seen from the right side of the shooter? If so, I am beginning to see how a forward cant would work...that is exactly what I was looking for.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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Ahh.... If we could all but follow one voice, what a dull and tedious world this would be.

Please... do as you wish Mr. dahermit, but don't denigrate a respondents comments when you yourself requested such responses.
I asked some very specific questions:
In regard to forward cant holsters: "Can anyone enlighten me as to: Reason for it, exactly how the hand was to grip the gun, etc."

Please do not get your back up if I do not seem appreciative of answers to questions I have not asked.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:56 PM   #11
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that in those days the Border Patrol not only used horses but also 4 wheel drive vehicles (Jeeps mostly) and cars for the paved roads. Try drawing from a seated position in one of those types of vehicles. It is far easier to draw with a forward cant than a rearward cant. The rearward cant may be quicker while standing or exiting but while seated in a vehicle it may be difficult at best to draw from.
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Old September 16, 2012, 05:01 PM   #12
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Please do not get your back up if I do not seem appreciative of answers to questions I have not asked.
I have no control over your manors, opinion or emotional state... again, do as you wish Mr. dahermit.

Cheers,
C
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Old September 16, 2012, 05:04 PM   #13
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that in those days the Border Patrol not only used horses but also 4 wheel drive vehicles (Jeeps mostly) and cars for the paved roads. Try drawing from a seated position in one of those types of vehicles. It is far easier to draw with a forward cant than a rearward cant. The rearward cant may be quicker while standing or exiting but while seated in a vehicle it may be difficult at best to draw from.
I find that to be true also. But in my case, this is all for the fun of learning to fast draw, not for the purpose of law enforcement or for civilian concealed carry. Nevertheless, when sitting in a chair in my woods (I do this a lot) going to and from my home range to fast-draw or shoot, I slide my back-canted holster to just to the right of my belly-button and I can then draw from the seated position.
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Old September 16, 2012, 05:11 PM   #14
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A major reason for the forward cant was because the FBI taught the crouch stance.
When drawing the gun they taught the shooter to go into a crouch. This puts a forward cant gun into a better position since you're bent over at the waist.
Since this was the FBI way, most law enforcement followed the technique.
I once watched an FBI agent train some local cops.
He taught that when drawing to lift the left foot, move it to the side a couple of feet and then to just squat.
The canted holster allows a better grip from that crouch position.

As for speed holsters, almost all of them these days have a rearward cant.
You don't see single action speed holsters with anything but a rearward cant, and so do a great many speed holsters for the automatic and DA revolver.
A prime example is Jeff Cooper's famous "Thunderbolt" competition holster.
Famous fast men like Elden Carl, Jeff Cooper, Jack Weaver, and Thell Reed used rearward cant holsters for speed with all pistols and often for police duty carry.

One reason the rearward cant holster is so much faster is that the gun can be fired as the muzzle clears the leather. With a rearward cant, the instant the muzzle comes out, it's already pointed toward the target.
As your arm rocks forward, the gun is always pointed at the target and can be fired at any time during the draw if necessary.
Also, with a rearward cant, the gun muzzle never crosses your body like a forward cant does.

Many of todays duty holsters have much less forward cant and are more upright.
Most forward cant holsters are high ride concealment holsters that ride farther back and more or less demand that cant.
Less concealable but faster is the appendix carry holster that rides with a backward cant in front of the hip bone.
Like the competition speed holster the appendix holster is very fast, and as the muzzle comes out, it's already pointed at the target.

Jordan era police duty holsters had the radical forward cant and had a steel shank inside the holster to tilt the gun out away from the body.
This made the gun more accessible to a gun grabber, plus it stuck out so far you were banging the gun against things.
You can usually ID a gun carried in those old Jordan type holsters by the excessively worn and battered outside grip.
Modern duty holsters ride much closer to the side and with much less cant.
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Old September 16, 2012, 10:14 PM   #15
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...This made the gun more accessible to a gun grabber, plus it stuck out so far you were banging the gun against things...
I also remember Jordan stating(in an article) that it made more sense to routinely carry with the safety strap un-snapped and it should be snapped only if activity that would jostle the gun out of the holster was anticipated. Evidently, he was less concerned about someone grabbing his gun than he was about being ready to draw his gun at any time.
In regard to of a holster causing a gun to bang into things, in my situation (only for fun fast draw), that design would not be a problem...I only put the holster on when going to shoot...not have to carry all day. So, I can go with a design the holds to guy out from the body.
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Old September 16, 2012, 10:32 PM   #16
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I always used a Hoyt zero cant, break front holster, first in LE and now in competition.

Its fast and secure (secure is important in LE where you spend a bit of time wrestling on the floor of some bar.

The revolver just comes stright out to the front. The zero cant is comfortable when you figure about how much time you spend setting in a car. It's also quite fast when you're setting down and you don't have to draw up and out of the holster.

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Old September 17, 2012, 03:38 AM   #17
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A lot of this is about what kind of fast-draw you're going to do.

Hip-level shooting means a forwards cant, such as is used in the single-action fast-draw sports.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtTAhJ69LrU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AJzv8gb2A

On the other paw, if you're going to do sighted shooting from either an Iscoceles or Weaver type of hold, you want to launch the gun up to eye level quickly. You start rotating the barrel outwards when the gun is somewhere between the bottom of your sternum and your nipples. transition to barrel-downrange, and then as you're pushing the gun outwards you're lining up the sights, ready to fire exactly as the gun comes into a firing position.

Like so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q2Il86-38A

This is a famous clip from "Miami Vice" that featured a top competitive shooter playing the role of a bad guy. It remains one of the most realistic (advanced) shooting sequences Hollywood ever filmed.

He also used an "appendix carry" setup. When this sort of draw is done from a strong-side holster, a backwards cant ("FBI tilt" where the barrel is pointed at a spot on the ground a foot behind you) works because it lets you launch the gun in the right direction, knowing you have at least two feet of travel (usually more) to eye level during which you can spin the gun almost a half turn during transit.
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Old September 17, 2012, 06:19 AM   #18
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Very cool link, Jim. Thanks for posting.
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Old September 17, 2012, 08:39 AM   #19
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For pure "kwiksdraw", the muzzle forward, butt slightly to the rear, from a holster just forward of the hip ("appendix" position, if you are right handed), is probably the fastest, as it gets the muzzle to the target quicker than anything else I can think of.
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Old September 17, 2012, 11:28 AM   #20
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I like that photo kraigwy. Very atmospheric.
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Old September 17, 2012, 07:36 PM   #21
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I read Jordan's book. I disagreed with parts of it then & still do.
I reserve the right to decide what works best for ME.

After many years of wearing uniform holsters, I did not like the muzzle rearward cant because it caused me to assume contortions similar to a monkey with a stomach ache to draw my gun.

I did not like the muzzle forward cant because it presented too much grip to anybody trying a gun snatch from the rear.

When I achieved the financial ability to do so, I ordered holsters with a neutral, or straight drop "cant".
More resistant to a gun grab from behind (which does happen no matter how careful you may be, twice in my case), and no contortions to get the gun out.

I did not bend the holster outward to let it hang at an outboard angle, too easy for others to grab. That was the mark of an amateur, to me.

I disagreed severely with Jordan's advice to only use the snapstrap engaged over the gun when activity was anticipated, and to otherwise run around with it snapped around the holster's body.
That struck me as absolutely idiotic over 30 years ago when I first read the book, and more so now.

If you'd ever had a seatbelt snag a gun out of your holster, or lost your gun while running suddenly and unanticipatedly, you might too.

Dunno exactly what his daily duties consisted of, but he placed more emphasis on a quick draw than on retention, and when I was in uniform I ALWAYS anticipated action. The need to physically react in any number of ways could happen at any time, and I did not want to find myself without my gun if & when it did because it had fallen out of an unsecured holster, or to be unable to get it out in a hurry & find it was snapped when I thought it wasn't.

Very simple: keep the strap snapped all the time with the older style snapstrap & you always know you've got both retention AND your gun.

Later, when the thumbbreaks came out, I burned rubber to get one & used thumbbreaks for the rest of my career. Still do.
Good combination of speed and retention, and the best are a straight drop/neutral cant, for ME.

Jordan, much as I respect his accomplishments, was not the final word in gun carry.
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Old September 17, 2012, 09:12 PM   #22
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Great post from DPris. I've read that book many times and there are things I agree with and do not agree with. He doesn't spend much time on the rake of the holster except to say that the back rake (muzzle back) tends to keep the butt of the gun off of the back of seat when in the patrol car. The back rake design also seems to give the longer muzzle some place to go when seated since there is more drop where the seat meets the back.

Bianchi in his book Bluesteel and Gunleather, spends a considerable amount of time talking about the rake. The general consensus is that the back rake aids in concealment and access if carried in a high ride position. The forward rake has the edge in speed if carried lower because of the natural positioning of the grip.
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Old September 18, 2012, 07:02 AM   #23
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How the fashions change in holsters. History is of no help because if you can think of it, you can probably find a photo of a law officer wearing his sidearm like that.

I ran across a photo of two Texas Rangers in an old encyclopedia (I guess all encyclopias are old now). They were carrying their .45 autos cocked and locked but I'm afraid I don't remember the holster style just now, only it was worn higher than a Jordan rig.

Another photo from the 1950s showed a policeman wearing his Sam Browne belt (no shoulder strap) low, gunslinger style but I couldn't tell much about the holster. There are some interesting photos in "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting." Apparently cross-draw holsters had a following at one time and the first holster used with the Model 39 for police use was a cross-draw full-flap holster.

The Jordan style holster is still apparently somewhat popular, though usually fitted with a thumb-snap type retention device. I've had a couple of thumbsnap holsters that are very positive and fast "enough." I still think full-flap holsters are of value but they're anything but fast. I hate to admit it but low hanging holster, military style, are the most comfortable to wear, though not for driving. For driving or sitting, a cross-draw is appealing.

Most police holsters these days that I've noticed seem to sit higher than a Jordan holster, and invariably have a straight drop or neutral cant. Possibly this is to help clear the car seat but they usually do not hug the body that much. Probably the chief reason for that is to allow a jacket to be worn at the same time.

The Jordan style holster actually pre-dates Jordan but it had not previously been made with a steel insert. General Patton's holsters were pretty much Jordan style holsters except the Jordan style is more cut away around the trigger. He had other fast draw habits that would be frowned upon these days.
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Old September 18, 2012, 10:18 AM   #24
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Quote:
After many years of wearing uniform holsters, I did not like the muzzle rearward cant because it caused me to assume contortions similar to a monkey with a stomach ache to draw my gun.
For my purpose, just for fun fast-draw, I can ignore all duty-related considerations (seated in car, gun grab, etc.), and just focus on speed. I also considered how the forward cant seemed to require that, "monkey with a stomach ache", throw-the-shoulder-and-elbow-forward, to get one's hand on the grip.

That is the reason I have been making experimental holsters with an extreme rear-ward cant and putting them in the appendix carry position when experimenting with fast-draw. However, in post #7 Deaf Smith brought up an interesting point in that Jordan used a "circular draw" which I took to mean that he put his hand on the gun and pulled it back and down and shot from the holster height instead of using the contortions required (in forward cant), to pull the gun forward and rotate it up into the firing posistion...if so, would be something to consider. I was hoping that the book, when it gets here would explain it clearly.

That is my purpose in this thread...to get input on the exact cant and exact path of the hand when fast-drawing. I have watched utube vidios of cowboy, single-action fast draw, but there does not seem to be anything comparable available on double-action fast-draw.
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Old September 18, 2012, 11:00 AM   #25
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Honestly, I can't think of doing it any other way, referring to the circular motion. Otherwise, as was done with the old walk-and-draw competitions in the 1950s, you would presumably be shooting literally from the waist. That is, unless you changed direction with your draw to get the gun out in front of you, if you follow what I'm getting at.

The single-action shooters then would cock their revolver on the draw for speed, so making a draw moving to the rear (If I'm understanding this correctly) would be a little more natural, after a fashion, but getting the gun out front would cancel out that advantage.
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