How to Draw a Gun From Concealed VIDEO

There are several common places to carry a concealed firearm and just as many different types of holsters to use. Despite your own chosen configuration the core elements of a functional and quality draw are the same. We will explain how to draw your concealed handgun in detail, below.

Drawing the gun From Concealed


RESOURCE: If you prefer video to pictures and text, scroll down to the bottom where we have the full video.

In this article, I use the terms Strong Side, Appendix Carry, and Traditional IWB. To learn more about concealed carry positions check out our free CCW positions infographic.

Why How You Draw Matters

You have a ton of different things to think about and ways to train. I can think of nothing more foundational or important to learn than how to draw your gun from your daily concealed carry holster.

Of all the common and core elements of firearm defense, the draw is the most likely to be neglected during regular training. However, it is the critical first piece of getting the gun into the fight and toward a successful outcome. Put differently, you need to start out on the right foot.

Training The Draw Safely

A real easy way to end up on the local news broadcast tonight would be to attempt to draw your loaded firearm at full speed a few times in your living room. We recommend using either a laser simulated gun or a training gun at first. Even as you progress in your skills you may choose to use snap caps or dummy ammunition for a while. If you want to use your actual firearm we recommend using BarrelBlok.

Remember that there is really no difference at all, in terms of building strong firearm draw skills, between practicing with a live gun on a gun range or an unloaded gun in a “dry fire” environment.

Further, many gun ranges prohibit drawing the firearm from the holster due to safety concerns. All skilled shooters will tell you they get the vast majority of their draw practice at home in dry fire practice sessions.

Consistency of Concealed Carry Position

Training your concealed carry draw is very difficult if you carry the gun in a different position each day or week. try to find a consistent and predictable carry configuration. This involves deciding where on your body, you will carry the gun. I am not the only one who finds carrying in the appendix position to be the best option. Strongside hip would be the second choice with small of the back and cross draw being nearly impossible for me to reccomend.

Some things will change when, for example, you are wearing a jacket or coat in cold weather. But, as much as possible, you want to create a consistent and predictable configuration.

This is more difficult and even more important when considering off-body concealed carry systems like purses or backpacks which you may tend to carry in slightly different positions throughout the day.

If you do change positions be sure to get in a few clean (and safe) repetitions with the new setup.

It is also fair to assume that at some point you may change your carry position. It becomes immensely critical that you focus on putting in the work, starting from the beginning and training that new configuration.

Dealing with Clothes, Jackets, or Any “Garment”

In a concealed carry gun draw, both the strong hand and the support hand have their own jobs to do.

Dealing With OUTER Garments: Sweep your strong arm back across the body to move or displace any jacket, coat, or any unbuttoned/unzipped outer garment. This is generally most effectively done by creating the habit of sticking out the strong hand thumb as you sweep it back toward your firearm. If you are carrying in front (appendix carry) this motion doesn't need to be complete and may not be necessary at all.

Strong hand sweeps away outer garments

Strong hand sweeps away outer garments

Step 1 Remove Any Concealment Garment & Acquire A Strong Grip On The Gun

Use the support hand to pull up the shirt, jacket, coat, or anything else that covers the firearm. This motion should be “strong” and exaggerated to ensure the firearm is fully clear for the draw and won't be tangled in clothing. Pull the garment(s) up high away from the waistline and ideally your support hand (with the garment in fingers/fist) will be resting over your chest / pectoral.

From Strong Side or Traditional IWB

From Appendix

You want that support hand over the chest because when you begin to draw the firearm in the next steps the support hand will be in the ideal position to enter the proper grip as you extend the firearm on target.

Getting A Proper Grip Before You Draw Your Gun

As a part of that step 1, you need to train at disengaging any retention systems that are built into your holster and acquiring the best grip you can before you even begin to remove the firearm from the holster. You may need to unsnap a snap, push a button, twist the gun to release, or something else entirely, depending on your concealed carry holster. Since each gun holster is different we can't address that step of the draw but it is worth noting as something you need to work on.

Disengage Holster Retention

Disengage Holster Retention

The first step to getting a proper grip is to drive the thumb of your strong hand down between your body and the firearm so as to position the thumb where it will actually be in your final grip. (*Disclaimer: I'm assuming you are using a right-handed holster if you are right-handed and a left-handed holster if you are left-handed. If you are using a reverse configuration then: Consider changing it … or just Drive the fingers down between the gun and the body instead of the thumb).

Rest your trigger finger straight across what would be the frame so as the firearm clears the holster the finger will naturally sit outside the trigger guard against the frame of the gun.

The other three fingers should wrap around the grip in this same motion. Depending on the holster and configuration you are using you may need to begin to draw the firearm in order to get the other three fingers fully around the grip. However, the ideal holster positioning should allow a complete shooter's grip while the gun is still in the holster.

Full Grip - Concealed Carry Draw

Full Grip – Concealed Carry Draw

Step 2 Draw Straight Up

In order to ensure a smooth and consistent draw, you should draw straight upward from the holster. If your concealed carry holster has a forward cant you should draw forward and up based on the angle of the cant.

Don't hesitate to draw FAR out of the holster in that upward motion. We want to avoid potentially leaving even the slightest part of the gun in the holster and we want to get the gun as close (in terms of height) as possible to the high center chest where we will later connect the hands and extend to the target.

how to draw from concealed

From strong side or traditional IWB the gun comes up and toward the armpit

From Appendix bring the firearm up out of the holster toward high center chest

Make sure that during this initial part of the draw stroke that the muzzle of your firearm stays clear of the body. Placing your thumb between the gun and the body, which should happen fairly naturally, can be a way to ensure that the angle of the firearm remains just slightly outward away from the body.

Step 3 Orient The Firearm Toward Target

As soon as your gun clears the holster your next objective is to position the firearm to be aligned with the target. You may have to fire your self-defense weapon before you can fully extend your firearm. More on this close, retention position later.

If drawing from the strong side this means a true pivot as you drop your elbow down and the firearm rotates from the muzzle pointing down to it pointing forward toward the target.

If drawing from Appendix this orientation of the firearm to target is more subtle.

From strong side when you drop your elbow and orient your firearm toward the target.

Step 4 The Hands Meet At Center of High Chest

Before we extend the firearm toward the target we want to bring it to the center of the chest. If you draw from the appendix position, the firearm is already at the center of your chest. This is just one of the advantages of carrying the firearm in the appendix position. If you draw from the strong side or traditional IWB, you will need to bring the firearm across the chest from the armpit to the center.

Now in this step, the support hand comes into contact with the gun and begins to build the rest of the grip. Your grip should be firm at this point and you should not need to increase pressure as you extend the gun in the following steps.

Begin connecting hands.


Form your best 2-handed grip

Step 5 Extend Gun Straight Toward the Target

With a two-handed grip on the firearm extend toward the target into your full stance. Because you built your grip and began your extension from the center of the chest you should be able to pick up your firearm sight picture very quickly on target before you even reach the full extension. Your hand may rotate or ‘roll' into position as you extend the gun, but grip pressure should not change.

Push the firearm straight out toward target acquiring your sight picture

Throughout the draw but especially during the extension my knees bend slightly and I lean forward which brings my head down, ultimately bringing the sights of the firearm into line with my eye level.

Use the Body for Stability

Throughout the draw, you want to keep the gun hand close to your body. This will create greater stability, consistency, and be safer as it decreases the chances of muzzling an innocent person nearby.

Do This the Same Way Every Time

In order to draw your loaded firearm under pressure when your life is on the line, you will need to have developed a level of automaticity so that you can do it as an instinctive reaction without a high level of focus.

This won't happen overnight. It takes thousands of good repetitions to become consistent. Don't rush the process or become discouraged.

Focus on Technique Before Speed

Another key to building the draw from a concealed carry holster is to focus on the proper technique. This may seem excessively slow at first. That is okay, build speed over time. You will know when you are moving too fast because you will start to fumble part of the drawing process. Work on perfecting the technique, at that point of breakdown then pressure test it by increasing speed. Eventually, to get fast, you need to push yourself. But don't rush the process and build bad technique.

Drawing a firearm is a perishable skill. Each time you start a new training session “warm up” by doing slower reps.

Close Combat or Retention Position

There may be situations where it makes sense to fire the gun BEFORE we have the firearm at full extension. As soon as the firearm is oriented toward target (step 3) we can fire if necessary through step 4 and 5.

OR if know we need to shoot from a retention position, either because it will be the fastest way to get shots on target or because your target is too close to safely extend the gun, then we can draw to that position and fire.

From the strong side or traditional IWB that is nothing more than getting the gun to Step 3 and then canting the gun slightly outward away from the body. This ensures the slide is free to cycle without becoming entangled with your clothing while also giving you a stable shooting platform as you rest the base of the grip against the bottom of the rib cage.

From the appendix, you draw from the holster moving the firearm directly to the close combat position. Best to see this in the below video.

The bid takeaway is to have control over the firearm and know where the muzzle is pointing. This is why we use a repeatable index point like the pectoral muscle. Don't try to ‘speed rock' by leaning back to gain elevation of the muzzle. For many reasons, this is a terrible fighting position and inconsistent.

Here in the close combat position, I can get stable shots on target

VIDEO: How to Draw From Concealed (Appendix or Traditional IWB)

More of a video person? Here is the full explanation and demo:

Resources From This Article:

  1. This video is part of our Concealed Carry Fundamentals Course available via online video or DVD. Please consider purchasing for more great content.
  2. The holsters pictured are the Original Brave Response Holster and the Brave Response Appendix Holster
  3. The training firearms used are the SIRT Pocket Training Pistol and the SIRT 110 Glock Training Pistol
  4. Also recommended for training draw with your real firearm and holster is BarrelBlok
  5. Also, check out all the draw videos available in the member's area for our Guardian Nation members
  6. One of the best methods to learn how to draw fast is our new Draw Like A Pro course!

What I want to know now, is how often do you practice your draw from your concealed carry holster? Let us know in the comments below!

This article has been updated and republished from a 2018 version.

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. kf4cfh on March 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This a good lesson for new carry persons.

  2. Gregory Tappan on March 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I have a S&W M&P Shield 9mm what type of IWB holster would you recommend?

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 14, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Gregory, I’m a little bias but I use the Brave Response Holster found here:

      I have the M&P and while I don’t carry it consistently it does work well with that holster.

    • Reid Mowrer on March 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

      I like the leather/Kydex holsters. Some are leather/composite material, but no difference. I do not have any locking mechanism, so you’ll want to try a few out in the store. I also had to buy pants 2″ bigger! I carry a Glock 23 in an Old Faithful holster and I love it. The leather molds to my body and I barely know I’m carrying.

    • Tim on March 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      I have the same gun and I like the crossbreed mini tuck it’s very comfortable.

      • eric k henderson on March 27, 2021 at 9:10 am

        me too

    • Geoff on September 17, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      I have an M&P Shield and use a bravo concealment holster IWB

      So far it’s the best holster and best at concealing I’ve ever owned.

    • Adam Gabriel on March 28, 2021 at 9:38 pm

      Good idea. Especially since I’m new to this.

  3. JB on March 14, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Drawing a concealed firearm is often clumsy, clothing, concealed holsters, and of course most of all, NOT ENOUGH TRAINING…………the key to doing anything well, is to do it often and well…………”slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and of course, you are training your mind too, if you do it sloppy, your mind thinks sloppy is “OK”………….

  4. Mike on March 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Hi Jacob,I have to carry my Rossi 357 Mag 6-revolver on my outside but covered over W/ my garmet cause it’s to tight to pull out when inside my pant.How would you do it and should I get a leather holster,please help,,,,thanks Mike

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Mike, I would recommend buying bigger pants so you can use a IWB holster. Hip holsters (also often called OWB) are so difficult to conceal. Even when covered with a shirt or jacket it takes little effort to have that garment ride up on the holster and expose the gun. If its currently too tight then you need pants with more room. That would be the ideal scenario. As far as IWB holsters go there are a ton of options on the market. If looking for leather I would recommend CrossBreed

  5. Victor on March 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I recently (purposely) lost about 60 lbs. Most of my tee shirts are XL and are baggy enough for me to wear an OWB holster for my S&W MP Sheild. I, also, wear a holster for two extra mags I wear over my left back pocket.

  6. gordon on March 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I think we make too much of fancy holsters. I carry a Sig P938 9 MM in an Uncle Mike’s IWB size1 holster under a sweat shirt. It’s snug ; sticks up a bit yet is hardly noticeable and easy to pull. In summer, I might switch to a Colt Mustang .380 Pocketlite (original ) holstered in an Uncle Mike’s size 10 under a tee shirt. It’s so light, I hardly know it’s there. I’ll leave the heavier stuff to you young fellas. But who needs more than a 9MM? Not the FBI!

  7. wy on March 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I have a Glock 23 and an SR9C Ruger, which IWB holster would you recommend?

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 14, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      WY, I’m a little bias but I would recommend the Brave Response Holster. Find it here:

      If you prefer more the traditional IWB belt holster then I’ve had luck with Alien Gear, Crossbreed, and StealthGear to name a few.

  8. Michael on March 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I watched the draw a couple of times, and there are some things that could be refined or smoothed out. When pulling up the shirt with the off hand, he had to “run” his fingers to get a grip on the shirt. When he was getting his grip, there was a bit of hesitation pushing his hand onto the gun (was that releasing the strap?). I carry in my pocket and have none of this. Of course, I have to carry a much smaller weapon with much smaller capacity.

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Michael, I can use some improvement. Part of the issue was trying to move in slow motion for the camera threw me off and yes there is a snap retention on that holster but regardless I can improve. I recently changed my carry position on the torso and I need to keep training it.

  9. Clyde on March 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

    My question what about us older folks who like to use a laser how do you recommend sizing?I carry one o two weapons both are sig p238 and p938 .

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 15, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Clyde, I think lasers and rail lights are extremely problematic for concealed carry holsters. Your choices are considerably restricted on finding a holster that allows for it. So while I might endorse a rail light or even a laser for a home defense gun I generally find them less practical on concealed carry firearms. In terms of sizing you have great choice in firearms. I would take them both with your IWB holster to the local department store and try on pants with the holster to get a sense for what size waist works with the gun. Let me know if your questions was something else entirely and I’ve missed it!

      • Mudmad on August 19, 2018 at 11:15 pm

        I concur 100%. As cool as lasers and lights are I totally disagree with using them in your personal carry gun. Here’s why. A laser usually is sighted in at around 25-30 yards. Most times you’ll ever pull your pistol for self defense are up close. If you set up your laser at 25 yards and have to use it at 10 yards your laser will be off. I suggest going out and practice shooting and getting use to your guns sights. If it’s night time you can keep a light near you’re gun but even with a light on your gun all you’re doing is letting the bad guy/ girl know where you’re at. These can be very quick and scary situations if you don’t practice and aren’t prepared for this situation. Save your money and forget about the cool lasers and lights unless you’re planning on doing competitions. As a person who trains tactical situations I’ve seen more problems with personal carry that don’t use a gun every day with lasers and lights. This is just my personal opinion. If you’re willing to train regularly and are really willing to put in the time to learn what you’re doing than go for it. Remember in a life and death situation quickness is everything. That means the faster you are the better chance you have of defending yourself instead of becoming a victim.

        • James E Ray on February 25, 2021 at 7:48 pm

          I always carry when I leave the house. When I return, I always practice my draw from concealed before I take the holster and mag pouch off. If I encounter a problem, I work it out a few times for muscle memory.

  10. KC Fowler on April 18, 2016 at 8:01 am

    How about info for ladies who carry with a purse?

    • Jacob Paulsen on April 18, 2016 at 8:11 am

      KC, we do need to do a more in depth article on that topic. The biggest key to purse draw is consistency in the way the purse hangs on your body and where the firearm is kept in the purse. I promise we’ll work on something in more depth.

  11. Mike on August 23, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Jacob, I recently went to a Brave Response holster (IWB). It is very comfortable (and subsequently, more likely to be used!). My only problem is not with the draw but the replacement in the holster. I have a Sig P320 and it has a “D” shaped trigger guard. Inevitably, the “D” portion catches on the soft (comfortable) material going back in. I have had to open my pants to get it back in! Any thoughts? Leather holsters hold their shape for reholstering.

    • Jacob Paulsen on August 23, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Mike, I’ve not had that issue myself but I don’t carry a P320 very often. When you reholster the gun use the support hand to grab the retention strap and pull it away from the body. This opens up the pocket and makes it easier. Also remember that you will want to insert the gun straight down (since most holsters are fully vertical) but the Brave Response Holster has a 15 degree forward cant. Work to insert the gun at that 15 degree angle and that should also make it much easier. All said and done there is no doubt that this is one of the challenges of holsters made from fabric. They collapse and it takes a lot more practice… and two hands… to reholster the gun.

  12. Johnny on September 18, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I carry a 1911 45 Israel holster

  13. Laura on September 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I am curious, do you carry a semi-auto with one in the chamber? I carry a revolver, so I do not have that problem, but, when does one cock a semi-auto?

  14. Kent A. Riddle on October 14, 2017 at 11:09 am

    How do you feel about the Urban Carry holster?

    • Jacob Paulsen on October 16, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Kent, I’m very accustomed and comfortable carrying a firearm at 4 o’clock. For me the Urban Carry holster isn’t my favorite or most comfortable but there is not doubt that a lot of carriers love it and it is a functional and effective way to conceal a firearm.

  15. Geno on February 16, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Great advice! I use a CYA Supply Co. IWB kydex holster. It holds my S&W MP shield 9mm. I wear at 4 o’clock. I practice a lot, because of where i have to get to in order to pull it. I don’t want someone to get the drop on me.?I’m fit so I was use to wearing tight fitting clothing. Getting use to wearing looser fitting pants and a leather belt has taken some getting use to. In addition to wearing shirts untucked. In this day and age, I’m willing to do what I have to do!

  16. Scott on July 8, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Just like learning a musical instrument.
    Start very slow. You should actually talk to your self at first. Ether out loud or internaly.
    Clear jacket, lift shirt, draw, extend, fire. Over and over again. On a regular schedule.
    Muscle memory is king. Just like musical instruments. Pretty soon 0.9sec or less and bang. You’ve placed one center mass from CC. Laser ammo rules for practice using your own firearm and no risk of popping one into your leg. And if you use a laser and a target taped to the wall you can see where they land. Pretty soon It’s actually hard to miss.

  17. Rick on December 12, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Nothing was mentioned about the best time to thumb the safety, if equipped. My Shield has an external safety. When is the best time for the safety to be thumbed off. Please don’t say “Before you pull the trigger. ?

    • Jacob Paulsen on December 13, 2019 at 6:56 am

      That is a question of your comfort to some degree. For me, I would disengage the safety on a Shield as part of acquiring the grip. On a single-action only firearm I may choose to not disengage the safety until I’ve oriented the firearm onto the target and as I’m building the two-handed grip.

  18. Marcy Karon on November 22, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    You need a women to demonstrate drawing when carrying with a Flashbang or thigh holster (wearing a skirt or dress).

  19. William Henderson on February 20, 2021 at 11:24 am

    Great instructions ,I usualy say practice makes perfect but in this case practice can save lives!

  20. Henry on March 27, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    I carry two revolvers Cross-draw. Both 38Spl, 3″ barrel and 2″ barrel. I also have a Charter Arms undercover 38 special at the near small of the back. You said you wouldn’t recommend cross body draw. Maybe you can tell me why, I’d be interested to know the answer.
    Thank you.
    H. J. Smith.

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