By Tom Adessa
I was introduced to firearms by my older brother and father; in my 64 years I have never seen a better time to buy a firearm and ammo. The prices are competitive and availability of ammo is the best it has been in years. Due to changes in our society many people are now and have been obtaining carry conceal permits and are buying a handgun for the first time. Handguns are inherently different and difficult for the average person to manipulate, shoot and carry. Many people simply think with that new carry permit, a new handgun and OTC holster they are good to go. The latest craze for years is the pocket or micro pistols, especially in the .380 configuration. Personally I am not a fan of the .380 round or any pocket sized pistol; generally the smaller the gun the bigger potential for problems. And you can draw your own conclusions or criticism in regards to that issue-one man’s medicine is another man’s poison.
Even after decades of firing handguns and using god knows how many types and manufacturers of holsters I still find myself periodically practicing my draw from a carry conceal condition.
Let’s be honest…how many of us buy a handgun for a few hundred dollars and then spend far less than $100 on a holster? Worse yet how often to we actually practice drawing the gun out of the holster?
A good friend has a pocket pistol and that’s where he carries it, in a pocket holster. So…as we have coffee quite regularly the topic of guns always comes up. My friend always pats his pocket stating “Got it right here.” My reply, “Can you draw from that position?” His answer is “No.” If you have a tool, which a gun is a tool and you can’t bring it to bear in all situations why have it? My criticism to him is that if you are in a self-defense situation to defend yourself or another by standing up to draw your pocket pistol only draws attention to you and creates a bigger target for the bad guy. You may only have seconds in an emergency situation to gain the upper hand; why telegraph your intentions? The convenience of most handguns simply lends itself to a IWB style holster that allows you to conceal the gun and have ready access to it.
I have advocated for practicing street scenarios by going to a local IDPA match; not only is this just plan fun but the practice will help with your mechanics for drawing from a holster. Additionally the time factor of a match and reloading techniques are all great teaching tools for street encounters. Contact your local range and try to team up with a certified NRA instructor for Pistols, it will be time and money well spent.
Selecting a holster is no easy task for a newbie and many people do not want to drop $50.00 to $150.00 for a holster but you get what you pay for. With so many options out there today, Kydex, leather or a combo of both, spend a little time researching online to help you whittle down your choices or even ask a local law enforcement officer that carries off duty as to what
works for them.
The actual draw stroke and process is something that takes practice-practice and more practice, not unlike shooting a bow. Muscle memory, repetition and proper technique all come into play to be safe, relatively fast and have economy of motion during your draw stroke. Probably one of the best ways to learn proper techniques is to first find and read some literature from the experts, Cooper and Ayoob come to mind for me. Secondly, practice at home in front of the mirror with a firearm cleared and inspected to be safe; then don your holster and whatever garment you would regularly wear. Practice drawing your firearm into a engaging position; slow at first as slow is steady and later smooth will be fast. As you practice the speed and efficiency of the draw speed will come and this can be a great time to incorporate clearing malfunctions. Practicing the mechanics of re-holstering is also needed as after drawing you will eventually need to re-holster and this part of the situation should not be overlooked as you need to have it be second nature to re-holster without sweeping yourself or looking down at your holster so you can scan for any potential threat.
As firearms owners in today’s world we can be under the microscope at any time and if you carry concealed it is your responsibility to be as safe and as efficient as you can should you need to rely on The Art of the Draw.
Tom Adessa resides in Central New York, he is a LEO, an avid lover of the outdoors and passionate about handgun shooting.