Safety, What We Do and What We Don’t Do: Drawing

My theory of why negligent discharges happen:

  • We place multiple procedures in our brain for one physical act.
  • We develop unconscious procedures for physical acts that need a conscious procedure.
  • We have poor, not well thought out procedures.
  • Rarely, we have equipment issues.


Having a negligent discharge can happen during the draw for only one main reason, if we pull the trigger too soon during the draw. This can happen when we are intending to make a full presentation of the pistol or it can happen when we are shooting from the retention position.The trigger is moving backwards with the pistol while drawing, meaning it is difficult for outside objects to actually pull the trigger.

In my experience having negligent discharges during the draw are rare and happen at two distinct times. They happen to the brand new person who does not have good procedures due to inexperience . They happen to experienced shooters who decide to shoot way past their ability while trying to break through a plateau in training.*

*Obviously accidents and negligent discharges happen when people are not paying attention and pretending to speed draw like in the old west or otherwise screwing around with a pistol. Everything done with a pistol is serious. We should only manipulate the pistol using attention to detail.

There are two ways for a new student to avoid a negligent discharge. One, never try something new during live fire that you have not extensively practiced during dry fire. That way if we hear a click of the trigger being pulled and we were not staring at our front sight we know we did something wrong without a corresponding, “Bang!”. The second way for a new person to not shoot themselves during the draw is to not draw the gun live fire until they have perfected it during dry fire and they have practiced the timing live fire.

A new person can practice shooting by going from the #2 position of the draw. This where the shooter has cleared the cover garment and the pistol is above their support hand and pointed at the target. Now if we pull the trigger too soon the bullet will still go into the bullet trap.

Experienced shooters often use a technique called, “Driving until the wheels come off” to break past a plateau. This is a great technique to use during dry fire. It is a crazy technique to use during live fire. If ever there is a time that the gun will get caught on clothing and fly out of our hand or we just screw up the timing of the presentation, this is it.



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