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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.