This draw stroke is sometimes called the 3 position draw stroke, 4 position draw stroke, 3 part draw stroke, or 4 part draw stroke. The confusion comes from the fact that there are different naming systems for the same draw stroke.
- “HOLSTER” — Firearm holstered, hand off of the firearm.
- “GRIP” – Firearm holstered, correct grip on firearm.
- “POSITION 1” – Firearm just clearing the holster.
- “POSITION 2” – Body square to your target, firearm at chest level, tilted outward with the butt of the firearm against your chest. This is where you disengage and reengage your safety, if you have one.
Without a firearm in your hand, you would be making a fist with your palm up against the side of your chest like you would if you were preparing to throw a “formal” martial arts punch. If you were to fire the firearm from this position, the slide would not hit your chest like it would if the firearm was straight up and down. Conceptually, you should have your firearm aimed at your target from this point on, so that you can fire at any time and make solid hits on your target.
There is debate on what to do with your support hand at this step. The two big schools of thought are 1. To grab the center of your shirt and pull or 2. Hold your hand up near your face in a defensive position, since it’s likely that you’ll be drawing after being startled and that’s where your hand will go during a normal startle response anyhow. “POSITION 3” – Firearm is pushed out into firing position with the sights on your firearm coming into alignment between your eyes and your target
5. “POSITION 3” – Firearm is pushed out into firing position with the sights on your firearm coming into alignment between your eyes and your target.
The motion from Position 2 to Position 3 is a simple punch.
There’s also debate on whether to hold your support hand in front of your chest to “catch” your firearm as it’s moving forward or to have it follow behind and “catchup” between position 2 and position 3. Personally, I am a fan of “catching up” or just shooting one handed, but the experts that I’ve trained under are split down the middle on which technique is better.
In general, if you are in a situation where you are in control of your pulse, such as in competition or a combat veteran, it’s better to use 2 hands and the “catch” method will allow you to put rounds on target more accurately and quickly. If, on the other hand, you’re training to defend yourself in what will be your first—or one of your first— lethal force encounters, you’re better off training to “catch up” to minimize the chance of shooting your support hand.
Practice going through the following sequence 10 times using only your strong hand:
Holster, Grip, Position 1, Position 2, Holster — Pay attention to your grip, that your firearm is pointed towards your target in position 2, and that you can holster your firearm without looking at your holster.
We’re starting to stack multiple muscle sequences on top of one another and it’s VITAL that you only go fast enough that you can repeat these techniques smoothly, efficiently, and exactly the same way every time. If you’re getting flustered or messing up, S L O W down. You’ll develop speed more quickly by becoming efficient than you will by moving fast.
Repeat if you’re not smooth and efficient, otherwise, go through the following sequence 10 times using only your strong hand:
Holster, Grip, Position 2, Safety off, Position 3, Position 2, Safety on, Holster.
Repeat if you’re not smooth and efficient, otherwise go through the following sequence 10 times using only your strong hand: ——-Holster, Grip, Position 2, Safety off, Position 3, Trigger press, Rack the slide, Position 2, Safety on, Holster.
Variations on this that you’ll want to practice are:
- Strong hand only.
- Strong hand with support.
- Support hand only. (I don’t practice drawing with my support hand and then using a 2 handed grip because I would use my strong hand to draw unless it was injured. If it was injured, it’s not likely that I could use it for support.)