Fast Draw Vs. Good Ready, Part 2

Fast Draw Vs. Good Ready, Part 2


In Part 1 on this topic, I suggested that keeping a good eye on your environment and getting your hand on the gun early — what I call the “Good Ready” — was preferable for armed citizens over trying to depend on a quick draw in a life-threatening situation. That raised a few hackles.

I made three points:

  • Practicing quick draw with a loaded piece is one of the most dangerous activities in gun training.
  • Some holsters do not stand up well to the 200 replications it typically takes to get a fast presentation seared into muscle memory.
  • When startled with a sudden threat, adrenalin makes fumbles more likely.
Photo: Flashbang Holsters
Photo: Flashbang Holsters

After 30 years coaching and training on the range, I’m sticking with these observations.

However, a few additional points are warranted. A good shooting school can teach almost anybody to dramatically increase their speed of presentation while maintaining control of the gun.

This training breaks the draw down into steps that concentrate on grip, clearing the holster (and concealing garments), a “rock” into position for contact distance or a “push” into a two-handed shooting platform for aimed fire.

Brand name holster manufacturers make highly durable products. A quality holster should stand up well to repetitive draw training and an emergency.

Practicing fast draw with a loaded gun is very dangerous unless closely supervised. So is replacing the gun in the holster if you have your finger inside the trigger guard. Which activity is most risky? To my knowledge no data supports either contention. It doesn’t matter. Both are risky.

Unless you are Robocop, if you are confronted with a lethal threat your brain will flood your body with adrenal secretions that cause the “flight-fright-freeze” response. What we need to pay more attention to are the inevitable physical effects of sudden dramatic increase in respiratory and cardiac rates, tightening of major muscle groups and reduction in fine motor skills.

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These effects dramatically degrade handgun manipulation skills from what we are used to at the range or competition course — places where paper, metal plates and bowling pins don’t wear prison tats and carry knives or crowbars.

I am aware of no data that quantifies the number of assaults that are so sudden that they preclude getting the hand on the gun while it is still in concealment.

They happen, as do clear prior indications of impending threat. My point is that for the average CCW holder who is not likely to practice much, let alone get professional training, it is far more important to concentrate on threat identification and getting a good grip on the gun than to depend on fast draw to get you out of a jam.

Reality check: If your assailant is within twenty feet of you and initiates a sudden unsuspected lethal attack, your draw will probably end up in a grapple (as every rookie cop learns in defensive tactics class at the academy).

So work on a smooth presentation, but no matter what be ready — good and ready.

Editor’s Note: Feel like commenting on this story or have a question for Joseph Terry about concealed carry not covered here? Log in and post your question in the comments below.


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  1. Excellent emphases, and ever more so where probability of collateral damage nears 100%, as in malls, churches, and other crowded locations. I’d rather have a “good ready” grip, present, and shoot accurately and effectively than experience any (all?) of the bad potential scenarios associated with a quick/fast draw and engagement. If the bad guy is paying any attention, and is just a little smart, he’ll recognize the “good ready” posture, and just maybe change his “to do” list for those following moments. And if the situation morphs into a “grapple” scenario, just think “from my cold dead hands!”


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