View Full Version : Fastest Draw position?

May 14, 2011, 09:23 PM
Read in a mystery novel(James Lee Burke's Robicheaux, quite good), that a cross draw holster is a faster draw than a hip mounted gun.Dunno if that's true, but Burke IS an ex-cop..

Onward Allusion
May 14, 2011, 09:29 PM
Depends on where the holster is on the strong side. Crossdraw is faster than a high-mounted strong side, however, it isn't faster than a tactical mounted holster - aka low gunslinger style with a strap to thigh.

May 14, 2011, 09:31 PM
Appendix carry has been found to be a faster draw for most folks, and it stands to reason that cross draw in a forward position, in front of the hip, would be faster than a standard hip/behind the hip as well.


May 14, 2011, 09:56 PM
Depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is the holster design (ride height, cant, slide cut, etc). IMO strong side hope is by far the fastest way to get the gun in the fight, particularly when you consider you can draw and hip shoot at contact distances if needed.

May 14, 2011, 10:09 PM
Technique plays a huge part in drawing, there are parts of the draw you want to be fast and parts you want to be smooth because in the end it all makes a difference when you shoot. My department issues Blackhawk Serpa level 2 holsters and it took me about a week of practice to get up to speed with it.

Fast - getting your hand to your weapon

Smooth - index a point on the weapon and get a good grip (including operating any retention and safety devices) and get the weapon out of the holster, this take a lot of practice to build muscle memory

Fast - getting your weapon on target

Smooth - trigger squeeze

May 14, 2011, 11:12 PM
The farther you get from centerline, the slower and less economical you're going to be due to the necessity of more joint-articulation. Appendix and cross-draw tend to place the gun close to the centerline, ergo, they tend to be faster than hip or behind the hip carry.

I don't consider myself, nor would I claim to be, particularly fast. However, I've been to classes and training sessions where I was carrying A-IWB under a cover shirt and was consistently getting rounds on target faster than guys using open-top strong-side hip holsters without a cover-garment.

May 15, 2011, 12:29 AM
I've always thought that the fastest position to draw from would be a little higher than where your hand sits when at rest. For most, I believe this to be roughly two thirds up the thigh on the strong side, slightly to the front of the thigh.

The reason for this is that it requires the least amount of motion and changes of direction to A) get to the pistol and B) pull it out of the holster.

Positioning the pistol in the natural arc of your hand's movement I think will always speed up a presentation / draw.

Of course, any position could become lightning quick, provided the presentation is practiced enough and engrained into muscle memory.

May 15, 2011, 12:29 AM
It depends on your build. For some strong side will be fastest, for others, it will be appendix. I would think crossdraw would be the slowest in all but possibly a seated position.

May 15, 2011, 06:10 AM
Agree with BikerRN anf KenpoTex.

I've found AIWB to be the fastest (and the most concealable also) for me.

Glenn Dee
May 15, 2011, 07:31 AM
Hello Everyone.

Well once again based on my training and experience I say the fastest draw is from the loaded position.

IMO The need for a fast draw is more a function of gaming and competition.

In real or imagined self defense situations a fast draw is almost a non issue. The more realistic issue is a persons level of awareness. Once someone percieves danger or a possible threat it's then they should begin to employ their tactics. Including their draw and presentation. I'm not suggestion that anyone should wave their gun around at some percieved danger... I said BEGIN to employ their tactics... including their draw and presentation.

Covering from the loaded position is simple. You can have the person or situation covered before actual presentation. An example is having your hand on a j frame in your pocket, or having a larger firearm in your gym bag with your hand on it. The trick is to percieve the danger in time to react before it's upon you.

Anyone who thinks in terms of some high noon squair off with the bad guy is IMO fooling himself. The bad guy will most likely not give you a fair chance, and in fact will probably do everything he can to get the drop on you.
Starting from the surrender position is fine when the target is unarmed and cant shoot back or swing a bat, or slash with a knife.

Glenn D.

May 15, 2011, 08:21 AM
Just my two cents worth after carrying on duty, off duty, concealed in various different locations.

From an untucked shirt concealed carry, I think the fastest you can do is from inside the waistband, near the center (belly). This is with a open top holster IWB. I think this is based on economy of motion. One hand has to lift the shirt while the other brings the pistol into action. By moving both hands to the centerline, I think that economy of motion is maximized. With a tucked shirt, at least one of the hands, cross draw or strong draw, has to move completely across the body.

When carrying open, I believe a strong side, mid rise OWB hip carry is your fastest. This is with no retention device such as a thumb break. The legendary fast draw peace officers like Bill Jordan and Jelly Bryce carried in this fashion. Both could draw and hit in under .4 of a second. There are others who have come after them with similar skills with the same type of set-up.

May 15, 2011, 08:28 AM
Anyone who thinks in terms of some high noon squair off with the bad guy is IMO fooling himself. The bad guy will most likely not give you a fair chance, and in fact will probably do everything he can to get the drop on you.

I see it from a different perspective (LEO) such as seeing a bad guy make a furtive movement. That movement is a mental trigger to get the pistol out and up. If the guy is going for his pistol, getting yours out in around 1/2 second is better than fumbling around with it. Another perspective is if someone has the drop on you but some sort of distraction to the bad guy takes place, there might be that small window of opportunity to get the pistol out. Awareness and gun at the ready are obviously ideal. But bad guys have this sneaky way of ambushing good guys. Practicing for other scenarios is a good idea and can only make you harder to kill.

May 15, 2011, 08:53 AM
Really, it depends upon where your hand is in relation to the pistol at the time. Physiologically the holster should place the pistol at the end of your arms reach, just short of full extension. If your elbow is fully extended or hyper extended it takes more time to start the contraction (lifting) process through the elbow joint. There will be an efficient point midway between coming out of a front break clam-shell holster and lifting the pistol as high as possible before presentation as well.

Diamond LawDawg
May 15, 2011, 09:09 AM
Being in constant awareness of your surroundings,persons within a certain perimeter to yourself and the common sense (in my career as a PO, you were born with whatever common sense God gave you......you can't buy it,learn it or drink it from a can ) So, in relation to what you wear or how you carry that weapon is mute. I am ready no matter location,time or circumstances..hell..I love Hawaiian shirts(been there done that) dressed up or grubby...if your comfortable thats a plus....but stay alert and it won't come down to a Quick-draw Mcgraw senariao. Be careful and practice.:)

Glenn Dee
May 15, 2011, 09:23 AM

I'm also looking from a Police point of view. People including bad guys make furtive movements all the time. That in itself is no excuse or reason to be drawing, and pointing your firearm. But... If he is attempting to draw a weapon an officer would have the advantage as he's already halfway through his draw if covering from the loaded position.

I dont know about Jelly Brice, but I have met Bill Jordan, and seen his fast draw technique... I saw him place a pin-pong ball on the back of his hand, and draw with the same hand and hit the ball halfway to the floor. And I'm no Bill Jordan. By the way he was wearing the holster of his design (Jordan Border Patrol Holster) and it had a retaining strap.

But I think that most would agree that Mr Jordan was unique, and something special.

I'm not preaching against practicing fast draw. I'm just adding my own perspective on the subject. As are we all. I believe that people would be better served practicing situational awareness, and perfecting all their tactics including drawing the handgun. I dont think there is any one size fit's all soloution. Everyone having their own physical, and financial limitations can only do what they are able, and what works best for them. I'm just offering a slightly different perspective for consideration.

May 15, 2011, 10:12 AM
My 2 cents from the Police side, depending on how close I am determines what I am going to do. Drawing your weapon is not always the best option. People also get compliant very quickly when my OC or baton come out. I also have spent a lot of time training in hand to hand self defense so I am fairly comfortable being up close and personal when someone doesn't want to play nice.

May 15, 2011, 12:07 PM
Buy a timer and experiment to find what is fastest for you.

Capt. Charlie
May 15, 2011, 12:11 PM
I've toyed with this some. When you talk about speed, the time it takes to "clear leather" isn't nearly as important as the time it takes to bring the gun on target.

With a strong side draw, most of the motion is along a vertical axis with little horizontal correction required.

Cross draw requires correction on both the vertical and the horizontal axis, making it more difficult and time-consuming to come on target. From what I've seen, a lot of folks tend to place shots opposite their strong side when using a cross draw, i.e., a right handed shooter tends to shoot left of the target.

May 15, 2011, 12:55 PM
So folks will give their opinions...

You have to keep in mind what perspective they are talking about and why.

First, what gear (holster - style and design and material) and what firearm... we need a "known" to discuss some of the variants most people would talk about when it comes to speed. FYI I conceal carry.

Why cross draw (from an ex LEO). Cross draw is a positive from a seated position as you have access while in a car or in a seated position. If one carries for these reason it also comes to mind that they would be more proficient in this position... hence more biased as they feel it's "faster."

Strong side (IWB or OWB) - used for conceal carry and also for IDPA/USPSA (IPSC) for safety and for speed. No cross draw or shoulder rigs or small of back configuration as the muzzle is a safety issue.

So back on topic:
What is the fastest draw configuration?

"Real World" Well, it depends on your needs (e.g. conceal carry, open carry, duty carry) and how well or secure you need to keep your firearm (retention level) or how concealed (light shirt or deep conceal carry).

"Movies and books" Well, obviously per the book it's cross draw but again that's in the movies and in a mystery book...

So pure speed is one thing... putting "lead" on target in conjunction with speed is what folks need to keep in mind.

How many of you practice drawing from your holster and actually firing? (Not dry fire) Many shooters here may be good marksman but many again have never fired on the move... see my website and see what I'm talking about...

May 15, 2011, 01:39 PM
A cross draw will beat a hip draw every time. Try it yourself; without the bias to prove yourself right for the past 20 years.

Yes, a cross draw will cause one to sweep everything and everyone on his weak side, but if one needs to draw that fast then it’s not an issue.

A hogleg in a low, hip mounted holster with the bottom tied around the leg with a rawhide string and a belt full of cartridges is impressive. Act 3, Scene 4: Dudley DoRight enters, stage left.

Read up on John Wesley Hardin, who never killed a man who didn’t need it.

May 15, 2011, 03:19 PM
Glenn Dee:
I'm not one to carry any kind of pocket pistol, and gym bags are out of place in many scenarios.The trick is to percieve the danger in time to react before it's upon you.What happens in those less-than-ten-feet encounters? You can't keep everyone at 7yds+ all the time, and no one can stay switched on 24/7/365.

May 15, 2011, 05:47 PM
I'm just offering a slightly different perspective for consideration.

And a very good perspective at that. Best perspective on this thread IMO.

May 15, 2011, 06:21 PM
With regard to concerns about muzzle sweeping (and for surprisingly as yet unmentioned concerns about a BG trying to grab one's gun), one can minimize both problems by blading weak hand side toward the threat. This has the dual advantage of positioning the weak hand for a shove or parry, and reducing required lateral travel of the gun by about 90 degrees. (Helps speed, reduces sweep potential for bystanders, and also presents the grip at a much more challenging angle for a BG gun grab attempt.)

Blading can be accomplished by advancing on the weak side foot, retreating on the strong side foot, pivoting on the ball of either foot, or any combo of the above.

Glenn Dee
May 15, 2011, 08:05 PM

I see your point. I'm not suggesting that you or anyone carry a firearm off body. In fact I dont think women should even carry one in their handbag. What I am suggesting is once you percieve a threat, you can draw, and place your gun in a gym bag, or purse, or tool bag, or outer pocket, or someplace it would be hidden from view and still give you the advantage of being first on the gun if the situation calls for it.

As far as a threat getting within 7 yards?... IMO if an armed threat is within 7 yards of you. And your not already on the gun... you may have a problem. I do understand your point. I'm from an extremely congested city, and now live in a suburban neighborhood. From time to time I work in another congested somewhat dangerous city. I get that you cant always keep a buffer zone around yourself. This is when, and why situational awareness becomes a lot more critical.

Glenn Dee
May 15, 2011, 08:17 PM
And Oh Yeah...

My radar is on 24/7. I'm always looking for the unusual, or out of place. When out in public I look everyone passing me in the eye, and notice things out of place I do sudden visual sweeps of my rear at random. I never sit in public with my back to the door. I always look for cover when ever I enter anyplace When in locations that I consider could be trouble I always look for a fighting position, and what around me could be turned into a weapon. I never drive through my neighborhood the same way twice. I always drive past my home at least once before pulling in to park.

I'm like this 24/7... My kids tease me about it. I dont even notice i'm doing it. But guess what my kids do when they are out.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that most of the forum members have the same or similar learned behaviour problems...

Glenn D.

May 16, 2011, 02:53 PM
A cross draw will beat a hip draw every time. Try it yourself; without the bias to prove yourself right for the past 20 years.

Is this how the fastest guns in the world carry prior to the draw? Bob Munden was the fastest and he didn't draw cross draw. Eighteen time champs holster location seems to suggest that you are wrong.

May 16, 2011, 07:10 PM
I was not aware of Bob Munden so I did some Googling.

You should do the same.

May 16, 2011, 07:24 PM
My kids tease me about it.So when your kid's tease you about this, doesn't it take your mind off your awareness?

You never ever get distracted by them or your wife? Not even for just the second or two it would take to end up on the bad end of a fight?

Come on now - you can admit it to us.


May 16, 2011, 07:35 PM
I was not aware of Bob Munden so I did some Googling.

You should do the same.

I have been watching Munden for over a decade. His speed rig is on his hip although he does carry cross draw also.

Watch the speed draw events also and they carry strongside.

But really all you need do is measure the amount of travel required by the barrel to be on target. If you think cross draw has less movement I say get another ruler.

The fastest guys simply pull the gun out and cam it down forcing the barrel to flip up as it is leaves the rig. There is no wasted motion and certainly no having to turn 90 degrees once leather is clear.

Whats the fastest just watch the fastest. Its the strong side hip.

Glenn Dee
May 16, 2011, 07:59 PM
Smince... Sir...

My point is this...I make it a habit to be aware of my surroundings, and the people around me. It's become second nature to me. Thats all. I'm sure there are things that you do I might consider unrealistic.

And no, I dont loose site of my surroundings when my kids tease me. We have a great relationship, and truely enjoy each others company.

I'm not saying that I'm never distracted...

May 16, 2011, 08:48 PM
I'm with MLEAKE @ #23 on this one. I am very comfortable with a cross draw, and blading your body protects your strong side. If your body is weak side towards the threat, as soon as you clear the holster you are on basic target (especially if it is up close and personal). My weak (left) hand can also afford protection form the threat while the pistol is retrieved, or can help protect the pistol if the threat is too close. Cross draw is most comfortable to me, both in a belt carry or shoulder rig. Just my .02c.
Situational awareness is always your best protection.

May 17, 2011, 09:15 AM
Another point on the cross draw. When we carry strong side hip it keeps the holster closer to the strong side hand most often. In an emergency or surprise situation you will likely be closer to the holster from the start. Less travel to the holster equals faster.

Blading is a great tactic when carrying cross draw as mentioned. Its just not faster on average.

May 17, 2011, 09:58 AM
threegun, I usually prefer strongside carry; crossdraw is normally reserved for shoulder rigs, or for hunting when a revolver is carried in addition to a long gun.

I am not a good enough rider to shoot from horseback, or that might be another case for crossdraw (disrupts balance less than a strongside draw).

But the thing is, strongside belt is not an option for some. My 69yo father lacks the range of motion in his shoulder for it; he either has to carry strongside front pocket, or crossdraw belt. For him, strongside belt is impossible, let alone not fastest.


May 17, 2011, 04:12 PM
But the thing is, strongside belt is not an option for some. My 69yo father lacks the range of motion in his shoulder for it; he either has to carry strongside front pocket, or crossdraw belt. For him, strongside belt is impossible, let alone not fastest.

I was just answering the OP's question. You gotta play to your limitations or needs. If I was mostly seated in a vehicle I would cross draw as its more convenient and faster. If as your father I had medical conditions that forced a certain way of carry or non at all, I would quickly switch to the way I could carry.

May 18, 2011, 12:35 AM
"Appendix carry has been found to be a faster draw for most folks, and it stands to reason that cross draw in a forward position, in front of the hip, would be faster than a standard hip/behind the hip as well."


May 20, 2011, 03:42 PM
Think about this, since pistols moved past leather holsters with straps across your shoulder have you seen any war fighters side draw?

May 21, 2011, 02:39 PM
Unless you are a Fast Draw Demonstration Show competitor you are not competing against the guys doing that. Very few of us are good enough to even think about besting them or even coming close. And those guys practice, practice, practice. Few of us do that.

To me. the question of fastest draw is what is fastest for you. You are competing against yourself, not the National Champions. And I believe competition draws forbid a cross draw because of safety.

The question, with no qualifiers, is not about how to conceal carry. I, personally, do not CC a cross draw because no matter how I try it always prints. Also, I believe that a self defense situation will not depend on a fast draw, but on a sneaky draw. Yep, I’ll be sneaky if it’s needed.

When checking the timber on my property I open carry cross draw, but that’s a different situation than the Wal-Mart parking lot.

So, try it. Use a video camera for timing. Be aware that a cross draw will sweep everything and everyone on your weak side so clear that area of pets and persons. And forget “how it’s supposed to be done” because that’s what the movies showed.

May 21, 2011, 05:21 PM
I carry strong side IWB but I do have a crossdraw holster. I can get on target faster from IWB even with a cover garment, than with a CD. My friend was with me when a dog attacked me and I shot into the grass in front of it to turn the dog, and later my friend told me that he never seen anyone draw a gun so fast, like it appeared in my hand.

I can not do that with a crossdraw holster. Of course it is because I have trained and trained drawing from concealment, much more than practicing crossdraw. Cross draw feels a little weird to me and the dynamics of the draw are very different than IWB. The safety release on the draw is a slight fumble compared to IWB.

Frank Ettin
March 27, 2015, 12:29 AM
Stale thread.