You are walking down a busy city sidewalk when the world falls apart about 50 yards in front of you.  A sound like dozens of firecrackers going off causes dozens of pedestrians in front of you to part like the Red Sea.  A man with a large pistol in his hand is running down the sidewalk directly toward you.  You are armed.  As the bad guy approaches, he raises his pistol toward you.  What do you do?

buckyYou’re armed.  So what?  Can you put your hand on your gun safely? Quickly?  Do you know how to do it without looking or fumbling with your clothing, pocketbook, backpack, or wherever you’ve chosen to carry?  If you’re carrying a pistol, are you certain about how it’s loaded… is there ‘one in the pipe’ or do you need to ‘rack the slide?’  Where’s your extra ammo?

That’s a lot of questions, but if you require more than a split-second to answer them, you need to put the gun back in the safe.  I don’t mean to be rude, but you shouldn’t be carrying a tool capable of killing someone until you are solidly proficient in the most basic techniques, first and foremost is how to draw and present your weapon… safely.

Police officers learn to put their hands on their weapons, draw them safely, and move into any number of “ready” positions without taking their eyes off the threat or direction of movement.  Cops can’t hesitate or fumble around because even a half-second delay could result in serious injury or worse, mishandling might cause an accidental discharge.  They learn the same way you or I do, by practicing their “draw” over and over again.

Once upon a time I golfed every week, and even took a lesson or two to improve my barely mediocre game.  The lessons didn’t make me a better golfer, but they taught me that the average person needs 1,000 repetitions of a new movement to develop effective muscle memory.  So it’s reasonable to expect you’d need to practice your draw at least a thousand times before you no longer have to think about it.  Keep that in mind.

Begin with the unloaded gun you intend on carrying and the holster that’s most comfortable (most of us have more than one).  Did I say the gun must be unloaded?  You really only want to do this with a gun that is unloaded.  Have another person check to make sure the gun is unloaded.  Get the point?  Are you sure?  Good. If you live in an apartment, please find someplace else to practice this drill.

There are three rules:  the gun must always be unloaded, even though the gun is unloaded your finger must never touch the trigger, and there must never be anything between you and the ‘target’ or anywhere behind it.

First: place the unloaded gun in the holster and put it on.  Find a ‘target’ with no living things behind it – mine is a light switch that I particularly hate that’s on a wall with an acre or two of woods behind it.  Second: move any garments aside and put your hand on the gun, establishing a good, firm grip.  Third: draw the gun out of the holster and point it at the target (remember, no finger on the trigger).  Fourth: put the gun back in the holster and remove your hand.  Fifth: repeat for at least five minutes.

As you build repetitions with this drill you will quickly get to the point where you no longer need to look at the gun to draw it from the holster.  In short order you’ll get to the point where you won’t need to look it back into the holster.  In fact, try keeping your eye on the target – that’s what police officers are taught.

Keep going, and keep count.  By the time you get to 1,000 repetitions you’ll feel comfortable enough to begin safely carrying your gun outside the home if you so desire.