Paying attention to your draw technique

Lots to learn here in this slow motion video of a drawstroke recently shown on Guns and Ammo TV.

It’s from a segment where the presenter defends the SERPA holster, dismissing anyone who claims the SERPA design is unsafe as “not being able to internalize keeping their finger straight and off if the trigger” or “don’t understand the four safety rules”.  Unfortunately the video shows the shooter coming within a fraction of an inch of trigger travel of a negligent discharge as soon as the gun’s muzzle is free of the holster.

There’s a lot to learn from this video, good and bad.

At 0:07 seconds, the shooter has a full firing grip on the pistol and the support hand is close to the body. That’s good.  His support hand is really low on his body though, compared to where it eventually needs to be.

You can see the holster and the belt push down as he pushes down on the gun while making that firing grip. That’s good too.

From 0:07 to 0:22 you’ll see the entire holster lift as he pulls up on the gun, because he’s using 2″ belt loops with a 1.5″ wide belt.  You can see the whole holster move up, the belt ride up in the belt loops, and even see the pants rise a little.  The belt is too loose, and the belt attachment on the holster needs spacers to close up the slots, or a different belt attachment entirely.  “One size fits all” means “fits none properly”.   You don’t want your holster to move at all when you draw.  That’s bad.

Part of the reason for the holster moving up is that the gun is still locked into the holster.  The button finally gets pressed to release the gun, and immediately the trigger finger starts moving to the trigger.  At that point in the draw the trigger finger should be up on the slide or at least on the frame above the trigger guard, not in line with the trigger, curling in as shown in the video.   I and many others believe that the design of the SERPA facilitates this particular gun handing error, which is why we don’t allow that holster to be used by students.

At 0:26 you see the trigger finger start curling to the trigger.  This is very, very bad. He also doing what we call “frame dragging”.  His trigger finger is laying completely against the frame.  As this article from Tom Givens explains, you don’t want contact between the middle joint of your trigger finger and the frame at all.

From 0:26 to 0:43 you see the gun coming up, with his support hand sitting motionless until around 0:35.  By this point the muzzle is high enough that the video makes it appear that he’s covering his support hand with his muzzle.   It turns out that getting that support hand way down low really didn’t make his draw any faster – moving it to the place where it’s going to mate up with the gun would be more efficient and prevent any risk of muzzling his own hand.   So that’s bad.

Many of these same problems can occur with a non-SERPA holster, so be aware of them as you do your dry fire draw practice at home.   There is much more to drawing properly and safely, at high speed, than “grab it and rip it out”. Many small details that have to be done in the right sequence, at the right time.  It’s not a skill you can practice in a 1 or 2 day class a few times and check off as “done” with no need to practice.    If you’ve never had formal training in how to draw, this video shows why you need it.  If you are an RO for IPSC or IDPA, this video has great examples of problems you need to look for, particularly with competitors who jump straight into shooting matches without getting any actual training in good technique (which is increasingly common, as many consider shooting matches as a cheap substitute for training.)

Dry fire draw practice is free and can be done at home. 5-10 minutes of dry draws a few times a week, with attention paid to proper technique, is important.  Without the practice, and without attention to detail, little problems can creep in that you may not even be aware of.  It’s very likely that the person shown in the video was not aware of what the slow motion replay revealed.