If you ever have to draw your gun in self-defense, the encounter will likely be over in a matter of seconds, although it will feel like an eternity. This is why it’s critical to practice your draw so you instinctively and quickly get your gun out and on target if you ever need it.
A perfect example of this is the recent pizza deliveryman who was (almost) robbed at knifepoint. The deliveryman quickly drew his gun and shot his assailant, who turned out to be a career criminal. It turns out that this deliveryman also happened to be a former law enforcement officer who no doubt had practiced his draw more than once.
So what’s the best way to improve your draw speed?
Well, there are five different things that I recommend you try and that I do myself.
1. Get a Quality Holster
You need to be able to get a solid grip on the gun while the gun is still in the holster. If you have to adjust your grip on the draw while you draw, that’s precious time you’re losing. You also want to make sure the gun comes smoothly out of the holster and the front sight isn’t catching on anything. A few good holster makers are Crossbreed, Milt Sparks, and Blade Tech.
2. Dry Fire Practice
At your home, using a safe and empty weapon, practice your draw for 5 to 10 minutes every day. At first, start slowly to ensure you’re getting a solid grip on the gun and that you’re drawing the gun straight up, rotating it toward the target, and then driving the gun straight out.
Once you’ve practiced the draw several times and you’re confident that you have the basics down then it’s time to introduce the third way to improve your draw speed.
3. Use a Competition Timer
You might think you’re already fast, but a timer helps you push yourself even further. Use a timer on your phone or a competition timer (I use the Pocket Pro II) and get yourself to the point where you can get the gun out and on target in two seconds or less. Two seconds or less may sound fast now, but after some practice it’s very achievable. I’m willing to bet that the pizza man had his gun out at least this quickly or else he probably would’ve ended up dead.
4. Video Tape Yourself
These days almost everyone has a smartphone with a video camera or you can get one of those inexpensive flip cameras. Set up the camera in your home and videotape yourself practicing your draw using the timer.
After filming your draw for about 5 minutes, go through and evaluate the tape. The #1 mistake that folks will discover is that they’re draw is not efficient and they’re not going in straight lines. In other words, many people go “bowling,” which means they are drawing the gun and then bringing it up on target at an angle, instead of driving straight out (picture a person doing the bowling motion with a complete follow though). Many people also “go fishing” where they draw the gun too high and make a circular motion as they bring it down toward the target (picture someone casting).
Another benefit of videotaping yourself is that you might realize your stance is wrong and if you videotape during live-fire training you can see if you’re flinching or jerking the trigger.
5. The Tueller Drill created by Dennis Tueller
In short, have somebody stand seven yards away from you, and on the “go” signal have them rush you. You need to use a blue training gun for this drill, NOT just a safe and empty weapon. You want to see if you’re able to draw and “shoot” before the person touches you.
The fact is, even if you’re the world’s most accurate shot, if it takes you 5 seconds to draw your gun… well… you might not survive the gunfight, unlike the pizza man mentioned earlier. So work on improving your draw speed today, even if you spend just five minutes doing it.