Holster Drawing Practice … Because Every Situation Is Different

Remember the first time you rode a bike? Probably not, but chances are, it didn’t go perfectly until you learned to coordinate your arm and leg movements while balancing on two wheels. After mastering those things, you learned how to negotiate streets, cars, and other people … and all of that took lots and lots of practice.

Repeated practice ultimately gave you the skill and confidence to ride without thinking about each and every motion. This is exactly the type of muscle memory you want to achieve BEFORE encountering a dangerous situation. Target practice at a shooting range helps you focus and aim, but the best way to become better at drawing your gun is to do so when it’s not a crisis.

The question is … what is the best way to become comfortable and confident enough to draw your weapon in various situations? Here’s a list of things to consider as well as recommendations for getting better results when looking to improve your holster drawing skills.

Materials

  • The unloaded gun you plan to carry most often (or a blue gun)
  • A conceal carry holster (the one that works with most of your apparel)
  • An extra empty magazine (double- and triple-check this before proceeding)
  • Various outfits
  • Non-explosive “dummy” ammo, optional

Directions

  1. No ammo or dummy ammo only. Rather than risk an accident, always check, double-check, and then triple-check your firearm to make sure it is unloaded. This goes for the extra magazine as well. If you’ve never used dummy ammo before, you may want to give it a try. It allows you to go through each motion seamlessly and accurately, just as in a real-life situation. With dummy ammo, you can actually fire and reload without harming the firing pin in your weapon.
  2. Pick a private environment. Practicing in a realistic way helps you think on your feet but practicing in front of an open living room window may scare your neighbors and result in unexpected consequences (like a 9-1-1 call or worse … someone else pulling a weapon on you).
  3. Practice in appropriate clothing … and add variety. Unless you wear the same clothes day in and day out year round, plan to practice in various outfits. In a home invasion robbery, break-in, or off-duty scenario, you’ll probably be wearing casual, loose-fitting clothes. While this type of draw doesn’t require you to move your clothing out of the way or to keep your actions from being noticed, reaching for a waistband holster may tip off the suspect. On the other hand, if you’re wearing a suit or sport coat when a criminal points a gun your way, you’ll need to pull your weapon without attracting unwanted attention. Doing so in an ordinary suit may be difficult, but a Cacharme blazer is designed to hide your firearm, so you’ll look like you’re simply reaching for your wallet. Finally, if you prefer to carry using an ankle holster, retrieving your weapon will require a lot of physical movement.
  4. Work on efficiency. Drawing your gun in an emergency requires speed and accuracy. Since time will be of the essence, don’t build extra time into your practice. Short, precise, instinctive movement is the goal. In most cases, you won’t have the luxury to take your time, so practicing in advance can make a big difference.

Ready to increase your response skills? Try practicing from a seated position as if you’re looking at your phone. Since the unexpected can also happen anywhere at any time, you may be carrying something, like a briefcase, umbrella, or even a bag of groceries. The more creative you are in your practice sessions, the more prepared you’ll be if you’re required to respond.

Armed at School—The Changing Landscape of Guns on K-12 Campus

For many students and teachers, summer vacation is now just a fond memory. Getting ready to go back to school has always included buying supplies and new clothes, but the campus environment that most of us remember has changed over time, and today’s educators and administrators face a challenging and difficult question:

Should weapons be allowed on campus?

For many people, the answer comes easily. There are advocates for both sides, but they also share a common belief: students and teachers should not be afraid in the classroom. Since the issue is arising on a daily basis in schools across the country, we felt you deserved a more in-depth look at what you may or may not be hearing on the daily news.

Armed School Marshals on the Rise

In 2013, just six months after 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the governor of Texas enacted HB 1009, the Protection of Texas Children Law, creating school marshals, a broad “new category of law enforcement officer[s].” Since then, two additional laws permitting school marshals in public two-year junior colleges as well as private schools have been enacted. Even with these changes, which are intended to make Texas schools safer, the number of schools utilizing the program is surprisingly small. In fact, Texas school districts employ 700,000 people statewide, but “only 71 [people] were certified as school marshals between the law’s inception [and August 10, 2018],” not even 1% of the Texas school employee population.

School Marshal Training Far Exceeds CCW Required Training

While obtaining a CCW permit in Texas requires only a few hours of firearms instruction plus online or classroom study, the marshal program training can only be described as extensive. Most training programs require 80 hours of training conducted by law enforcement officers, yearly multi-day refresher courses, target practice, hands-on weapons training, practice scenarios for active shooter engagement, and instruction regarding the use of lethal force as well as safeguarding possible victims. Many potential marshals have already undergone the requisite background check, written exam, and shooting tests that are required in order to get a handgun license in the state. These programs go above and beyond to ensure that armed individuals are able to engage appropriately without harming others.

Identity Unknown

As other school districts grapple with making similar decisions, the Texas school marshals have one key thing in common – their identity is unknown but often clearly announced via signs on school property warning that employees are armed. While parents and even other teachers are dissatisfied with such anonymity, this approach affords the marshals a level of safety and protects them in cases where a shooter does his or her homework and targets a specific environment. For marshals, the element of surprise is vital.

On- or Off-Body Carry

For school marshals, weapons must either be kept in a locked safe or carried on-body. There are no other options. Many campuses have biometric (fingerprint scanning) safes containing a weapon, bulletproof vest, and ammunition, but on-body carry continues to offer the quickest response, so choosing appropriate work apparel that safely holsters a weapon and keeps it at the ready can mean the difference between defusing a situation quickly or losing time attempting to retrieve a weapon. For marshals in educational or administration roles, a customizable concealed carry suit coat, blazer, or sport jacket is a worthwhile investment. It ensures the weapon is not only one you’re familiar with and shoot regularly, but that it is instantly available.

~ ~ ~

As the rest of the country grapples with whether or not to arm teachers, it’s easy to see that the school employees in Texas are not flocking in droves to take up arms. Rather, they are proceeding cautiously on an individual basis. But Texas is far from alone in adopting such measures. Most people would be surprised to learn that there are currently 19 U.S. states that allow “anyone with permission from [a] school authority” to carry a weapon on a K-12 campus. Lawmakers and citizens may continue to butt heads on this issue, but America is quietly changing legislation to protect its own.