View Full Version : Low ready = Not ready?

April 4, 1999, 12:29 PM
Over the last year, training that I've been accumulating has repeatedly pointed to the fact that the low ready position with the handgun is a poor choice for searching, moving, and shooting in general. A variety of alternate positions have been set forth, which I'll quickly address:
1) high ready: analogous to port arms w/a long gun, where pistol is held just below line of sight. Shooter looks just over the front sight, muzzle at about 30 degrees of elevation or level. Replaces low ready when extending or retracting from fully mounted position, used also for movement.
2) High sternum: I no longer use this, but it's same as above, but with pistol level at high sternum level.
3) CQB tuck (that's what I call it): pistol held in one hand, close to bottom of rib cage. Similar position to traditional speed rock. Off hand may be used for searching/handling of bodies or pulled over shoulder, presenting elbow point along midline. (Yes Harry, I did pay attention when I talked with you and Denny in November)

I submit that the popular position of low ready or the dreaded "hold it muzzle down against your leg" search position leaves the shooter a step behind on the action vs. reaction continuum. Moreover, the use of a low ready intermediate position adds an extra position that is not otherwise present in the drawstroke presentation.

Remember that this discussion encompasses handgun only. I welcome enlightened discussion.

April 4, 1999, 06:29 PM
I have used ' all of the above '. I prefer the ' third eye ' position, for several reasons, push gun out to fire, fireing when full extension is reached, or fire in position. In this position the firearm is easier to defend against a disarm. GLV

April 4, 1999, 09:04 PM
Oooh. A very interesting thread. I've been using a combination of third eye and low ready. To me, low ready is quick to bring up so I try to stick with that as much as possible. I've gotten more accurate results with bring up from low ready rather than punching from the third eye. YMMV. I switch to third eye when off hand is being used or if being rushed and the pistol needs retention.

The original third eye I was taught was to place the the end of the pistol directly in front of the sternum. I didn't like that. Instead, the version of the third eye I use is on the side, resembling closely to the speed rock.

I'm waiting for you folks to tear me apart and tell me how to do things better. This is one of those gray areas where I don't have a definite opinion on what works better.

[This message has been edited by SB (edited April 04, 1999).]

Rob Pincus
April 4, 1999, 09:25 PM

For what it is worth, I agree that this may be as much a terminology issue as anything.. My "low ready"/"searching" position is about what you describe as "high ready".. with the modification (?) that I bring the gun in a little, as well as down a little from eye level.

Rosco Benson
April 5, 1999, 07:34 AM
I'm happy with the "ready/guard" position that I was taught at Orange Gunsite. Simply maintaining one's Weaver stance, while lowering the whole "assembly" from the shoulders, until the support arm's elbow touches the torso. This provides a positive, repeatable index. I also use what Hilton calls a "CQB tuck" if I must open doors or otherwise use my left hand...but transition back to a Weaver/Gunsite ready as soon as possible.

One problem with the various "third eye" ready positions is that the user "muzzles" everything he looks at. One of my friends, also Orange Gunsite trained, was introduced to this "third eye" stuff at a course by John Shaw's outfit. He made the observation that, if he adopted this ready position, he would be spending alot of time filling out "use of force" reports, as his department requires that one be filled out if a deputy "muzzles" a suspect. Weaver/Gunsite ready provides a platform from which a quick response can be made, but avoids the pointing of pistols at persons who aren't yet identified as warranting it.

Another attribute of the Weaver/Gunsite ready position is that it closely mimics one's actual shooting position. Observations of Simunitions force-on-force exercises show that, if one has the pistol in one hand when the fight starts, there is a tendency to use one hand to fire the pistol in response. We all (ought by now) know the advantages of a proper two-handed grip on the pistol. The one-handed ready positions, although sometimes necessary, set one up to respond to a threat in a less-than-optimal fashion.

The muzzle-down-behind-the-thigh and other similar positions (pistol behind the folded newspaper when answering the door, etc.) are compromises which are trading speed and efficiency of response for a lower profile. They are useful and ought be in a competent shooter's tool-box of techniques. They are not primary ready positions, but situation-specific techniques.


Art Eatman
April 6, 1999, 12:24 AM
I don't really want to argue with anybody, but some comments seem to be of a "one size fits all" nature.

To me, the tactics will vary with the scenario. That is, in my home, I don't want an accidental discharge to hurt a friend or a family member, so I think a muzzle-down carry is "better", if not necessarily best.

If I'm worried about a bad guy being close, I'd hold my pistol near my hip. I certainly would not hold it out where it might get grabbed...

Outdoors? 'Nother story. LEO vs. Civilian legal aspects also enter into the affair, as civilians generally aren't supposed to go out into the neighborhood to search, unless much is already known about the problem.

Seems to me that one's vision would make the roughly 45-degree downward angle of the "Weaver Ready"--as it was called in my own training course--quite practical in MOST circumstances.

Again, not arguing. $.02 of mumblings...

April 6, 1999, 05:56 PM
Ok, lots of interesting feedback on the topic. I'll try to address the various replies in order:
Erick - the high ready position is not the mounted/extended position where shooting is normally done, but rather a retracted position with gun closer to person and elbows pulled in toward rib cage. The retraction of the weapon addresses the obstruction of vision caused by moving with the fully mounted weapon.
GLV - the high ready position does indeed place one's hands in a better position for weapon retention -- your hands are basically up in a fighting stance already. I found that the low ready position left my hands low, where they're not as strong as they'd be when up and centered.
Roscoe - for my style, I find that the high ready more closely approximates my shooting style, as I punch the weapon toward the target upon presentation, where I find myself more likely to track past the target when swinging up from a guard/low ready position. Any other relevant insight on Gunsite methodology of weapon presentation is certainly appreciated.

Lastly, I agree that there are other techniques that'll work for different situations. However, I've been extensively and routinely testing these concepts out for high risk searches, and have found them to work well in reality, not just in theory.

April 8, 1999, 12:39 AM
a coupla comments;

1- seems like you need to qualify the
question as to the training level of the
shooter involved. the "manual at arms"
should be tailored to the level of
training and practice of the shooter. I
figure most shooters should stick to
one standard hold (Weaver at low-ready
for example) and one retention hold.
guys who continually train and really
are high-speed/low-drag might consider
more options.

2- being an engineer, I've seen the
consequences of relying on opinion rather
than careful testing. the real answer to
your question will require a high-speed
video camera, a group of test subjects,
a Simunitions set, and a realistic
shooting house. a good statistical study
of the effect of shooting technique on
"time to first COM hit" would be most

of course, there are going to be different
contexts. the homeowner investigating a
noise is generally going to be at a
different alertness and adrenaline level
from the SWAT team doing a dynamic entry
on a crack house.