The Cheater Start and Why You Should Know It

The Cheater Start and Why You Should Know It

We should all agree, that getting the gun into the fight faster is a useful skill. If we don’t, having a more robust presentation of the firearm, even if not faster, is still a good idea. How do we do that? We cheat.

My first exposure to what I call a “cheater start” was from Scott Jedlinski. He is a proponent of the “sooner not faster” approach to shooting. Meaning, we should be working to start the process of shooting sooner, and by doing so we get to the end of the process earlier in the overall timeline. When we have a very finite amount of time to work with, this is a good thing.

This is the idea, we pre-grip our cover garment when we think we might need to access the gun. Maybe even if we think we don’t. The trick is, we don’t want this too obvious. We are trying to not flash a big huge sign that says “I HAVE A GUN AND I AM ABOUT TO USE IT!!”. There is a time and a place for that, we are working off then assumption this is not that time.

To accomplish this, we hold our hands in front of our body, clasped together, somewhere around the beltline. It just so happens this usually is about where the hem of our shirt is. Even if it isn’t, we can still just grip whatever part of the shirt is there. If we are right-handed shooters the left hand is held underneath the right hand. The left hand can grip the cover garment without notice. We have essentially started our draw stroke and pushed the pause button until we need to go all the way with it.

Where Things Can Go Wrong

In my opinion, even more important than knocking out the first step of the draw so that we are faster, we are also mitigating one of the fumble prone steps of the concealed carry draw. Grabbing and clearing the cover garment is where things like to go wrong. We grab the shirt wrong, we don’t grab the shirt at all, all sorts of things go wrong here. Even with mild stress from a shot timer, or in a head to head shooting drill, we see mistakes here. Now imagine the stress of needing a gun for real, and how easy it would be to screw up this critical step? So how do we keep from screwing it up, we do it before the stress is there.

In my experience, depending on the skill level of the shooter, using this start position gets the shooter anywhere from 0.20-0.40 of a second off the draw. That is a significant chunk of time considering a good concealed draw will take around 1.5 seconds or less. As mentioned before though, it isn’t just about time, it is about minimizing the fumble factor. A robust technique that reduces the fumble factor is just as important as a technique that allows us to be faster, and shoot better. This does all of the above.

If you have never tried this start position, you should. It is as low profile as they come. If you have a timer, see what time it buys you. Keep up with any fumbled draws when really swinging for the fences on the draw. See if the number of fumbled draws drops when using this start position. In my experience, it works, and works really well, at both going faster, and reducing the likelihood of a fumble.

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Nate spends his days trying to find ways to afford more ammo. Nate is a performance driven shooter with over 400 hours of formal firearms instruction, dabbles in local handgun matches, and teaches the occasional shotgun class.
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