Minimalist 3: Drawing the Pistol

Continuing with the minimalist list of a gunfight I will talk about drawing the pistol. The draw I use is usually called straight to target (no it really isn’t straight but it is the shortest distance as I explained here.

The second draw is the L-shaped draw with a press out. Todd Green over at his excellent site, Pistol-Training.com explains it far better than I could. Follow the link in my blogroll to the right and search his sight for press out. He has several articles about it.

The straight to target draw and presentation is efficient and quick. You put the front sight in the shooting position as fast as you can. As I spoke of in an earlier post you can quickly calibrate your presentation to have the front sight on target at the end of your draw. You do this in the same way you learned to turn the light switch on and off. It doesn’t take a lot of training other than basic hand-eye coordination and a minor calibration during dryfire. Some advocates of the L-shaped draw believe it takes too much training to learn this. Obviously I disagree.

The L-shaped press out is slightly slower because you are moving the gun further. The idea is to get your eye on the front sight sooner in the presentation. Advocates believe this is faster, especially if you are shooting a trigger system that has a longer pull, such as a double action trigger. I believe it is disingenuous to advocate a slower draw that gives you more time to pull a longer trigger and then claim a benefit of having time to pull a longer trigger. It doesn’t take that long to pull a trigger and there is no need to select a draw based on the trigger your pistol has. Overall when your life is on the line it is still putting the first round into the bad guy later in the gunfight by using the L-shaped draw.

A second  claim for the L-shaped draw is having your eye on the aligned sights before you put your finger on the trigger is a safety benefit. For many this is the most attractive reason to use the L-shaped draw. The idea is that if you pull the trigger too soon and there is a negligent discharge the sights are already lined up and will go into the bad guy.

If you look at a video of a good shooter drawing using the L-shaped draw and stop the video when the pistol gets to the eye level you will quickly notice something unusual. The pistol is not pointed at the target when the shooter begins putting their finger on the trigger. The front sight is higher than the back sight. If they get on the trigger too soon and make it go bang this is when it will happen.

The high front sight usually happens because the shooter is locking their wrist after they establish the two-handed grip. Locking the wrist is a good thing and stabilizes the sight. Locking the wrist later in the draw makes for a pistol that wobbles at the end of the presentation. Unfortunately if the shooter screws up and puts his finger a little too soon on the trigger and pulls it, the bullet is going to go up and not into the target. This is because the sights are not aligned yet.

What all that means is that the safety issue that many tout as a good reason to use the L-shaped draw really isn’t true if you screw up and pull the trigger too soon. There is no safety gain there unless you leave the strong hand wrist flexible until after the pistol sights are truly aligned during the presentation.

Using the straight to target draw locks the wrist with the pistol either parallel to the ground or pointed a little toward the ground and ends with it parallel to the ground and on target. With a negligent discharge hitting the target with either draw is about the same. Or a better way to put it, my chance of missing the target is about he same with either draw. One could say it is better to shoot the bullet into the ground than into the air. You must train diligently to avoid the negligent discharges no matter what type of draw you use.

There are many draws out there that you can use. These are the two most common ones. My usual disclaimer applies here, no matter what type of draw you decide to use the internet won’t melt down and the earth won’t stop spinning. Just make sure you look at the pros and cons of each and decide if they are actually true for you. As usual we make our choices and take our chances.  Choose wisely.

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