The 44 CONCEALED CARRY DRILL: Easy But Challenging [POLL]

The 44 Concealed Carry Drill and Draw

The 44 Concealed Carry Drill and Draw

This is a very easy-to-remember, simple, and basic shooting drill for those who conceal carry a handgun. It is designed to help you with drawing or presenting from a concealed carry holster and garment, as well as improving your accuracy, speed, and techniques for shooting. Its purpose is to help you respond to a general concealed carry scenario and the usual four elements present. The 4 elements of the drill involve the number 4… thus the 44 Drill. Included are the typical distance involved between you and the bad guy or gal, the usual time consumed in a criminal assault, the average number of shots fired, and a challenging center mass target size. You must understand and integrate the fundamentals of shooting into the scenario drill, like proper grip, front sight focus, breath control, trigger control, follow through, etc.

Remember, SAFETY always comes first when handling, practicing with, and shooting a firearm. Also, recognize that many gun negligent discharges happen when drawing and re-holstering the handgun. In a very high number of my gun classes for new shooters, I have observed this happening in the classroom when students shoot the replica BB guns before we go to the range for live fire. For some reason, there are shooters who, after firing their shots, go back to their holsters very quickly. Why? Perhaps they think it just looks cool. Or maybe because they are not focusing on getting their trigger finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. We know that when the gun fires and the front sight comes off the target, the manual safety (if there is one) should be engaged and the trigger finger placed along the frame, out of the trigger guard. We know to only re-holster after the attacker is down (the target is hit) and there is no longer a threat. We have assessed our surroundings and searched for any remaining threats. We re-holster only when we are satisfied our situation is safe. So, there is every reason to re-holster slowly and carefully… a learned process that must be practiced. Re-holster slowly. Be very careful when you practice these drills or any drill or firearms technique.

Start slow and do not rush the steps and shots. You probably do not even need a stop watch or timer because speed is not of primary importance initially, since you should heavily focus on the fundamentals first. Let me repeat that… do NOT rush.  At first, speed is not important. It is best to go slow and deliberate focusing on mastering the draw steps, techniques and fundamentals and then getting accurate target hits with speed later. Do not misinterpret this to mean that speed is not important, because it is. Here is a summary reminder of my 9 steps for Drawing from Concealed Carry (see my “Drawing from Concealed Carry: Steps & Tips” article on usacarry.com-1-2-14). No matter if drawing from an open OR closed garment, the shooter may use these basic 9 Steps in the Draw Process:

1. CLEAR the garment to quickly access the handgun; move garment out of the way;

2. GRIP the handgun properly & firmly (web of shooting hand between thumb & index finger should be placed very high on the backstrap underneath the beavertail; trigger finger straight along side of holster; 3 lower fingers together; thumb pointed forward & up high to create gap for support hand later);

3. LIFT the handgun straight up from the holster so it doesn’t drag while bringing support-hand opened with fingers extended (ready to receive shooting hand & gun later- however some like making a fist) close to center chest; strong elbow held high, close to body, and pointed backward; Do Not rotate the elbow out away from body since this will cause drag and bind;

4. ROTATE the handgun to the front & up (by moving strong elbow down to waist- lock the wrist of your gun hand) toward the threat/target without sweeping your support hand;

5. MEET & MOVE the support hand to the strong gun hand in a two-handed grip for support, switch safety off, & quickly assess the threat/target, with muzzle pointed toward threat/target; remember, you need to get both hands on the gun as early as possible in the process;

6. EXTEND arms & handgun straight out & fully forward at eye level with sights on target confirming sight picture; place finger on trigger; hold your breath;

Note: Eyes visually verify that gun is on target by use of the front sight and/or an approximate, rough placement of gun on blurry target, depending on distance & degree of precision desired in situation.

7. PRESS the trigger smoothly straight back & not intermittently, with only the trigger finger of hand   moving, to take the shot IF deadly threat/target exists;

8. REMOVE finger from trigger to side of frame after shots and when eyes and sights are not on threats/target, lower muzzle some, breathe, SCAN & assess for other possible threats;

9. ENGAGE SAFETY & REHOLSTER slowly without looking at holster, in case another threat emerges.

Notes: (1) Beware of the natural tendency to quickly “speed reholster.” It is important to be certain that you do not need the handgun any more and determine the threat status. Lower the gun to the ready position and look for threats, then deliberately and slowly reholster.

(2) Recognize that most negligent discharges and accidents when working from the holster occur on REHOLSTERING and NOT from the actual draw or presentation.

The 44 Drill with 4 Hits

The 44 Drill with 4 Hits

This 44 Drill is a pass-fail test for bringing together everything from your knowledge of shooting fundamentals and concealed carry draw to accuracy and speed. So you either pass by properly drawing your handgun and hitting all 4 shots anyplace on the 4-inch target in 4 seconds at a distance of 4 yards or you do not. An easy drill but a challenging task. Improving your time is not really a goal, since getting all your hits someplace on your small target in 4 seconds is your purpose that will do the job in a representative assault scenario. Don’t get discouraged with target misses when you start to practice the drill. Again, when you begin the drill your focus is almost totally on the fundamentals with accuracy and speed to follow. Just like with anything new in life or something you really want to master, you must thoroughly know the foundations and fundamentals FIRST. The basics are practiced over and over again when you begin. Then as you develop the skills, refine your techniques and basics and have genuine safety awareness, practice for speed as well as accuracy. All of these are important, but to me ACCURACY is key, with speed next, AFTER mastering the fundamentals. It is also best to get regular practice presenting your handgun from your Concealed Carry (CC) Holster to practice draw strokes and clearing your handgun from the holster. So, start slow and deliberate so the proper muscle memory basics can be ingrained. This drill presumes you are in a close-quarters tactical situation and are using a flash-sight picture aiming that quickly focuses on only the front sight, rather than a point shooting technique or long-range sight alignment of front and rear sights. For safety concerns and depending upon your experience level, you probably should initially begin this drill starting from the Low-Ready Position with the handgun pointed to the ground at a 45 degree angle in front of you. Then after you feel comfortable with the drill and scenario elements, you can move to drawing the handgun from a holster and a cover garment. You do need to practice this drill drawing from your holster and clearing your cover garment. You can even use paper plate targets without a bullseye or center mark and just aim for the inner circle of the plate, about 4 inches or so.

Here is my easy-to-remember, simple, and basic 44 Concealed Carry Drill:

  1. Fire 4 Shots
  2. In 4 Seconds (from CC holster & CC garment)
  3. At 4 ” Target
  4. Placed 4 Yards (12 feet) Away.

Remember, ALWAYS BE SAFE. Go slow at first and carefully and deliberately practice the fundamentals, techniques, and the draw presentation. Then progress to accuracy and then speed.

Continued success!

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever. 

© 2014 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected]

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  • 4SLAM

    Sounds good, but when I took my CCW and other training (taught by ex-police officers), they told us not to use the safety. The gun should be in the holster, with a round chambered, and safety off – ready to fire. I’m interested in others’ thoughts on this.

    • Milt

      That’s exactly what I was told at my CCW course taught by a Volusia County detective in DeLand, Fl.

      • politicstick

        I carry my side arm with an EMPTY chamber. I have a DA/SA Sig Sauer P226Navy 9mm.
        IF….I-F….IF I have to draw my weapon and fire and the, less than .5 second, it takes me to pull back my slide is he difference between life and death, then SOBEIT!!!!
        The fact is, you will rarely, if ever, get into a “quick draw” gun fight. You will most likely, if you are always aware of your surroundings, have time to draw and fire your weapon. The likelihood of you misfiring your own chambered, safety off, pistol into your own leg or foot is much higher than finding yourself in a “high-noon” pistol fight…..Weigh out your pros and cons and decide for yourself and practice drawing with the slide pull as part of your draw process and take it from there. and, please remember , muzzle awareness is your best “safety” device……

        • Ant

          Google searchoff duty Chicago cop kills would be robber at gas station while pumping gas. This happened last week and is perfect example as to why you must have a round chambered if you conceal carry.

          • politicstick

            I would have sprayed that guy with the gas nozzle and if he had fired, he would have burned……

            Like I said, it is an individual choice. I have weighed the pros and cons and I choose to carry EC…..

    • helen sabin

      I always carry with a round chambered but I have a Smith and Wesson compact that is striker fired so no external hammer. BUT I am ready to shoot when I pull my gun and don’t have to rack it or release a safety before i can shoot. That ONE second it takes to release a safety could mean your life!

    • kristianpistolero

      I happen to own a DAO (glock) a SA/DA w/decocker (Beretta) a SA/DA Smith revolver, and SA 1911. Some with hammers and some with strikers, that just about covers all except for maybe the old Western SA revolver. Anyway I find that the firearm with the most risk for drawing from a holster is the SA 1911 type because in order for this particular weapon to be “READY” to fire, there has to be a round in the chamber, the hammer chocked and the safety off. I would not recommend holstered with the hammer cocked and safety because the safety is only a small lever that can easily be disengaged and not all the 1911 “type” pistols have have a grip (palm) safety.

      One of my favorite carry guns is a Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380, it’s design is exactly as the Colt 1911 except no grips safety. I draw it chambered with the hammer down (uncocked) and the safety off, as I Palm the gun my thumb goes automatically to the hammer and cocks it as I pull the gun out with my trigger finger in a high up position on the slide. This I find quite safe because this and most modern hammered handguns come with an internal safety that if your thumb were to slip off the hammer while pulling it back it won’t fire unless the trigger was being held back. Hence one of the reasons to keep that finger out until ready to fire. Bang!

  • hockeyguy

    I’d love to try this if you can point me to a range that allows you to draw and fire. I haven’t found one that does.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      Buy yourself a high end airsoft handgun that matches your CC weapon as closely as possible in size shape and function that also fits your holster.

      Make a life size target and have a “hide and go seek” contest with a shooting partner where they place the bad guy somewhere in the house; you have to find it, draw and shoot.

      With safety glasses in use, air soft can be an excellent training tool, and you can avoid those embarising trips to the ER to have a slug removed from ones arss.

    • havegunbesafer

      try proper dry-fire practice.
      And there are a number of ranges here in Utah that allow drawing from concealed.

  • msg51

    Not a problem for me. None of my CC guns have external safeties. Hunter ed classes I teach, I emphasize the only safe safety is your brain, use it and you will have no problems. firearms and automobiles are two items that require total and undivided attention.

  • docmagnum357

    Anyone who tells you to keep a loaded single action firearm in the holster with the safety “OFF” is likely criminally negligent if you have an accidental discharge with your weapon. This comes from being trained and experienced only with GLOCK s or double action with de-cocker type pistols. With any single action pistol the safety is meant to be on, Hammer back. If there is isn’t a round in the chamber no pistol will do you any good. Either your instructor didn’t explain that at all, or didn’t explain it adequately. There are huge differences in the manual of arms for striker fired, double action de- cocker, and single action auto pistols. You need to know the difference, and your instructor should know and explain the differences. Technically speaking, a de-cocker isn’t always a safety, anyway. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Giving your instructor the benefit of the doubt, look for some quality training in small group setting,, Read the owner’s manual that came with your pistol.
    The reason no ranges allow drawing from a holster is obvious if you look up, down, side to side, and at the walls of the range. All the indoor range I ever been in have bullet holes in all those places. An indoor range exists for one reason, to turn your money into noise and to line the owner’s pocket. Some indoor ranges offer excellent training classes, most DO NOT.

    • helen sabin

      Anyone who carries with a hammer ready to drop and a safety on is foolish!! Remember a safety is a mechanical device than can fail – when it does and the hammer drops, chaos ensues. I LIKE guns like Glocks and S and W’s with strikers in place and trigger and grip safeties – that way, the hammer can’t fall accidentally.

  • Just me 80

    Wow some of the coments are a bit worrysome. OK three situations here:
    One. Striker fired gun has no external hammer. This gun is designed to be carried loaded and ready to fire. Every trigger pull is a longer pull and it is very difficult to accidently pull it. That is your safety.
    Two. Is a gun with a hammer but also a de-cocker. So the gun is loaded. A round put in the chamber but then the gun is de-cocked (put the hammer down). At this point the gun is safe just like above. The first triger pull is much longer and harder. That is safe. If you do not de-cock this gun it has a very short light triger and even a slight bump may cause it to fire. Revolvers basically fit this category as well.
    Three. Autos with a hammer and a dedicated safety. This gun should be carried with the hammer cocked, round in the chamber, but you MUST engage the safety. As above if you carry this gun cocked with no safety you are in danger of hurting yourself or some inocent passer by. Even a bump in a croud can set this off.
    Please use that safety that is your brain and figure out what kind of gun you are carrying and how it is designed to be carried SAFELY. This was just the readers digest version of this and it is up to you to really know what you have and what you are doing. Half the country is looking for any stupid accident to pile on and take away this right. Lets not give them the opportunity just because we misunderstand something one guy tod us in a one day class.

  • helen sabin

    I saw a national “expert” one time shoot through his pocket accidentally – so you MUST use your brain and practice, practice, practice. KEEPING fingers off triggers is a MUST. ALSO, you must learn to shoot from the hip – sometimes you cannot present a firearm and bring it up to shoot – so practice shooting from the hip with ONE hand also. You may not have time to bring it up to ready position.

  • Norma Segui

    would love a video of this training

  • havegunbesafer

    The article author pointed out that “(2) Recognize that most negligent discharges and accidents when working from the holster occur on REHOLSTERING and NOT from the actual draw or presentation.”
    In the cases that I have personally followed up on, I found this is especially true of the non-external safetied pistols. For those that choose to use this type of pistol, remember the trigger has a lighter pull than you think. There’s not a lot of difference between a 4.5# trigger of a 1911 and a 5# trigger of a Glock. If you have an external safety, use it properly. Whether or not you have an external safety, you need a very good reason to have your finger on the trigger. It’s not the type of pistol you carry, it’s your mindset when using it, like how you train and choice of equipment you use with it.

  • john saxby

    Practice is as important in firearms use as in any other event, everything takes practice except perhaps breathing.

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