Pistol 3, Draw

After the shooter has mastered the steps involved with presenting the pistol from 3 to 4, it is time to start working on the draw.

Special attention is paid to holster manipulation. Shooters should start off slowly, properly manipulating all safety and retention features of the holster. As confidence and ability improve shooters should work on speeding up their draw stroke.

Engagements can be whatever the Range Master or Coach calls for but every repetition starts at the ready position. After the shooter scans their environment at the end of the engagement the pistol is returned to the holster AND RETAINED. We prefer to work this drill with single round engagements in order to maximize the number of repetitions.

Instructions to Shooters:

1. Once out on the firing line you will be instructed to load and press check.

2. Once you have loaded the weapon, de-cock or safe the weapon, Holster and come to the ready position.

3. All engagements are single round engagements. For double to single action weapons, all engagements will be in double action mode.

4. All shots will be fired on the command of “UP.”

5. On the command of “UP” reach down and establish a good grip while simultaneously disengaging all retention features of the holster.

6. Pull the pistol straight up and out of the holster.

7. Drop the elbow and start to drive the weapon straight out towards the target.

8. The support hand will meet up with the weapon at some point around position 3.

9. Continue with presentation taking the slack out of the trigger between position 3 and position 4.

10. After firing scan the environment, de-cock or safe the pistol and perform a status check to ensure that there are no visible malfunctions. (Stovepipes, malfunctions or that your slide is locked to the rear)

11. Return the weapon to the holster and retain it.

12. When you reach the end of the magazine immediately perform a magazine change and re-engage the target, second sight picture, trigger reset, scan, de-cock or safe then holster and retain the weapon.
13. You will be told when to buddy clear pistols after all shooters have finished the exercise.

Range Master's Call

Once the shooters are on the line and the line is “hot,” start calling the drill. Be sure to keep the pace slow. Give the shooters time to make good shots, re-holster and retain the pistol. You may want to start the drill off by calling the steps of the draw. If you are shooting alone, you can also record the call of the drill and play it back on headphones while you are on the range.

ONE (shooters grasp the grip and remove all retention)
TWO (shooters draw straight up)
THREE (support hand mates up with the pistol at 3)
FOUR (full presentation and fire)

Repeat until the table is complete. You may decide that the full call is not necessary at some point in the drill and allow the shooters to perform the drill at their own pace as long as you control the rate of fire. Example:

UP (shooters draw, fire, scan, de-cock or safe, holster and retain on their own. Once the entire firing line is back holstered, continue the drill.)

Common Mistakes:
The common mistakes from Table 1   and Table 2   still apply. The new things to watch for are:

1. Improper manipulation of holster retention. This can be caused by improper wear of the holster. Commonly it is worn too low. Most holsters are designed so that the act of grasping the grip will place the hand in contact with the retention devices. Watch for unnecessary hand movements around the holster, i.e. riding hood retention forward then grasping the pistol grip.

2. Scooping and dropping. Again, presentation should be a direct line to the target.

3. Failure to de-cock or safe the weapon before holstering.

4. Failure to retain the pistol after the engagement. This is a big one. There are always a few cheaters out there.

Drills & Skills


We don't currently offer training but, we know some folks who do.

Don is a Retired Green Beret over at:

Rodney and Brian are Law Enforcement Officers over at:

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