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How to Draw a Gun From Concealed

Drawing the gun From Concealed

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 explore how to draw a concealed handgun in detail, below.

Why Your Draw Matters

As a gun owner and concealed carrier you have a ton of different things to think about and ways to train. I can think of nothing more foundational or important to train than your draw 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 and is the critical first piece of muscle memory that leads you to 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 dummy gun at first and even as you progress in your skills you may choose to use snap caps or dummy ammunition for awhile.

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. Iron down a consistent and predictable carry configuration. 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.

It is also fair to assume that at some point you may change the holster you are using or the gun you are carrying. When those changes are made it becomes immensely critical that you focus on putting in a lot of new hours, 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.

Step One: 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. If drawing cross draw, the support hand will have to perform this motion in addition to step 2.

Strong hand sweeps away outer garments

Strong hand sweeps away outer garments

Step Two: 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 waist lineĀ and ideally your support hand (with garment in fingers/fist) will be resting over your chest / pectoral.

Use support hand to pull up and away any remaining garment

Use support hand to pull up and away any remaining garment

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

You need to train at disengaging any retention systems that are built into your 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 its 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 … more on that in a different article & Drive the fingers down between the gun and the body instead of the thumb).

Driving the Thumb Between the Holster and Body

Driving the Thumb Between the Holster and Body

Rest your trigger finger straight across what would be the trigger guard and 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.

Full Grip - Concealed Carry Draw

Full Grip – Concealed Carry Draw

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.

Draw the Gun Straight Up Out of the Holster

Draw the Gun Straight Up Out of the Holster

Rotate and Position Firearm to Toward Target

As soon as your gun clears the holster your next objective is to position the firearm to be aligned with theĀ target. You never know when you may have to fire your self-defense weapon before you can fully extend your firearm or if you may be so close to the target that it is more tactical to fire from a close combat position. This position is where the firearm is close to the body with the heel of the hand resting on or against the base of your rib-cage.

If using a semi-automatic pistol, like a Glock, consider that should you have to fire from the close combat position, you need to have the firearm angled outward away from the body. This will prevent the slide from slicing, engaging, or tangling with your arm, body, and clothing.

Close Combat Position

Close Combat Position

The Hands Meet Near The Body

With the gun in the close combat position, bring the support hand (already near the chest) toward the gun hand and form the two handed grip.

Extend Gun Straight Toward the Target

With a two handed grip on the firearm extend toward the target into your full stance.

 

Concealed Carry Extension

Concealed Carry Extension

Use the Body for Stability

Throughout the draw you want to keep the gun hand close to your body moving it against the body. This will create greater stability both for the sake of the draw and should you need to fire in close combat position.

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 great muscle memory so that you can do it as an instinctive reaction without any thought or awareness.

In order to build that muscle memory you need to repeat the motions the same way every time and do it repeatedly.

Train in Slow Motion At First and Then Add Speed

Another key to building the right muscle memory is to practice your draw from a concealed carry holster in slow motion at first, and build speed over time. Each time you start a new training session “warm up” by doing everything in that slow motion.

Here is the full draw in slow motion with an emphasis on dropping the elbow to align the firearm with the target

CCW Draw Small

The holster pictured is the Brave Response Holster

What I want to know now, is how often do you practice your draw from your concealed carry holster? Also, if you're newer to carrying a concealed gun, make sure you check out our FREE resource designed to help you get started.

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22 Responses to How to Draw a Gun From Concealed

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

    This a good lesson for new carry persons.

  2. Gregory Tappan 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 March 14, 2016 at 8:36 am #

      Gregory, I’m a little bias but I use the Brave Response Holster found here: http://www.concealedcarry.com/product/brave-response-holster/

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

    • Reid Mowrer 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 March 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

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

    • Geoff 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.

  3. JB 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 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 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 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 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 March 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

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

  8. Michael 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 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 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 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!

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

    How about info for ladies who carry with a purse?

    • Jacob Paulsen 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 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 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 September 18, 2017 at 6:25 am #

    I carry a 1911 45 Israel holster

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