The Speed Draw is for Gun Nuts

19-Aug-10 – 16:12 by ToddG

From Caleb at Gun Nuts Media:

Speed in a vacuum isn’t necessarily that valuable, but speed in action when combined with the will to defend yourself and the skill to act allows you to change the fight dynamic in your favor.  Simply “being aware” isn’t enough.  It doesn’t matter if you can see the threat coming if you lack the physical skill to act on that awareness fast enough to make a difference.

I got dragged into a similar debate recently by someone who insisted that a 1.5-second draw wouldn’t help if:

  • the bad guy already has a knife to your throat, or
  • the bad guy already has a gun to your wife’s head from the back seat of your car, or
  • the bad guy is close enough (and skilled enough) to intercept or even take away the gun during the attempted draw.

Rather than go into a cascade of What If’s so I could create hypotheticals where a 1.5-second draw would help in those situations, instead let’s look at the big picture.

If my gun is in my holster when I realize I suddenly need a gun, the sooner it’s in my hand and ready to go, the better. Whether I’m being charged by someone with a knife (as happened to Caleb, in fact) or I’m seeing someone reach for his gun or I’m already behind the power curve and need to do everything I can to get caught up, faster is better.

The idea that somehow awareness makes you impervious is ridiculous. If that were so, the man who brought us the Color Codes of Awareness (a Colonel by the name of Cooper) probably wouldn’t have also been the grandfather of modern tactical handgun training, would he? By the way, if you don’t have a copy of Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense on your bookshelf, you’re a loser.

Call me crazy, but I’m going to keep working on my draw.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 17 Responses to “The Speed Draw is for Gun Nuts”

  2. I am a loser. Can’t I just shoot guns for fun?

    By Ariel Weisberg on Aug 19, 2010

  3. Sure you can but…….

    By JackOSU on Aug 19, 2010

  4. This is a straw man argument.

    Of course there are situations when going to guns is not the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd thing that should be done.

    But when you do have to go to guns, fast is good. The quicker you stop the threat, the less you get hurt.

    Methinks this person should do some force on force training, wherein all force options (inert) are on the table.

    By SF on Aug 19, 2010

  5. What if I have the book on order? Still a loser?

    By Jeff on Aug 19, 2010

  6. I can come up with scenarios all day where a fast draw won’t help you.
    The real question should be can you give me a single scenario where a fast draw hurts me?

    By Jody H on Aug 19, 2010

  7. Hmmmm…it seems like every time I hear in person or in print/e-print words to the effect of, “someone who insisted that a 1.5-second draw wouldn’t help if” – my mind automatically translates the words to: “I can’t perform a 1.5-second draw(or whatever skill is being decried as useless/irrelevant in a given “real-life” situation), nor am I willing to spend the time/effort/money to learn how to do same – therefore I will take refuge in deriding/belittling those who can do what I cannot.”

    Whether a fast draw may be relevant or not at a given time, I can’t help but think that a slow draw from a cheap POS holster would be EVEN WORSE.

    Does that make me a hopeless cynic? 😉

    Get the gun out and point it at the target/threat as fast as you can without dropping or AD-ing the damn thing – a simple objective, but one which still requires training and practice…

    By Phil Wong on Aug 19, 2010

  8. So the formulation goes something like:
    a. 1.5 sec. draws are vitally important
    b. I can’t do a 1.5 sec. draw and working toward a 1.5 draw is hard
    d. Therefore, 1.5 sec. draws are not important and let me tell you why….

    In my business we refer to this as “denial in service of the ego” and consider it a primitive defense.

    By WT Aprill on Aug 20, 2010

  9. “denial in service of the ego”
    This is great. I need to use this at work today to “Guilt” a co-worker into doing their job.

    By Tony on Aug 20, 2010

  10. My question is I don’t have the 1989 version of the book but one from 2005 so should I buy the 1989 version (other things in it)?

    By Jerral on Aug 20, 2010

  11. This often seems to be a point of debate brought up by those who consider themselves to be “tactical” shooters. I’m not an experienced gunfighter, but I have had the good fortune to train with and under a number of people who legitimately are, and I’ve yet to hear anyone say that when lethal force is needed you have abundant time and opportunity to use it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    I don’t think a lot of people realize that as good guys we generally don’t get to make the first move in a lethal force encounter. We’re generally reacting to the hostile actions of some jackwagon who wants to hurt us, which places us behind the 8 ball from the word go. Yes, situational awareness is critical, but even someone with a highly developed sense of situational awareness is still human and still capable of being ambushed. I’ve had the experience of minding my own business one second and then staring down a very unpleasant situation literally out of nowhere in the next with literally no warning and no impending sign of attack. The only way to have seen what was going down ahead of time would have required the ability to see through block walls.

    In such a situation the ability to close the gap between the bad guy’s action and your response is, to quote Martha Stewart, a “good thing.” Period.

    There’s a lot of stuff that happens before a gunfight that is important to prepare for, and there’s a lot of stuff that happens after a gunfight that is important to prepare for. None of that, however, changes the reality that when it actually comes time to put bullets into someone who wants to kill you, more skill (skill being defined as the ability to effectively place rounds even under the extreme stress of life and death…which often means shooting really fast) with a firearm is better than less.

    By TCinVA on Aug 20, 2010

  12. I would not describe myself as a “Tactical Shooter”. Not much of a competition shooter either.

    Though one thing I have noticed in stressful situations is that time is relative. Certainly a 1.5 second draw stroke is a tangible goal that one can strive for, but how exactly do we define the time that might be required if we find ourselves in such a lethal encounter?

    1.5 seconds to draw and hit at any range beyond about 5m is shooting pretty quick by most standards. Certainly an admirable goal to strive to attain. Shooting against the clock gives us a method in which to gauge our progress and performance under prescribed conditions. It also tells us what basic skills might be deficient.

    But how much time will we really have to draw our chosen weapon and effectively employ in a life threatening situation?

    About the same amount of time we have to deploy a reserve parachute should the main canopy fail…………..the rest of your life.

    By Sean on Aug 20, 2010

  13. Anyone who doesn’t think “speed” matters watch these videos from the Force Science Institute.

    By Dan on Aug 20, 2010

  14. My position is that speed really won’t hurt, and if it does you can always slow down. I do think often we put way too much emphasis on individual discrete time blocks when most of the time we should be looking at the whole event time frame. Does a 1.5 second draw and shoot really matter that much if it took you 4.3 seconds to get your coat out of the way, lift your shirt so your tuckable holster is available, and then get a decent firing grip on your handgun? And who is better off, the guy who does that or the guy who takes 2.0 seconds to draw and fire but only 3.0 seconds to access the gun?

    By David Armstrong on Aug 25, 2010

  15. DA — When we measure draw speed, it’s from a concealed, hands-off position. Hands could be at your sides or in an interview positions, but the time to draw includes accessing the gun and establishing the grip.

    Definitely true that there is a lot more to things than just first shot speed. It’s the folks who want to pretend that first shot speed is meaningless because they’re too good/tactical/aware to need a fast first shot.

    By ToddG on Aug 26, 2010

  16. In my opinion, the most important gunhandling skill is the ability to draw & fire that first shot accurately & quickly. Everything else (malfunctions, reloads, split times, etc.) come into play after the initial draw & fire. Again, IMO, if you can only practice one thing, the draw should be it until you can do it every time as quickly as possible. A sub 2 second reload or .20 splits with your carry gun become moot when you fumble your draw or take so long that you’re taking in non-OSHA approved levels of lead.

    And yes, I am speaking about the relative vacuum of gunhandling. Not including seeking cover, managing unknown contacts, etc.

    By Mike Erickson on Aug 29, 2010

  17. I’m with Pincus on this–the ability to recognize threat properly and quickly is THE most important skill.

    Assuming you are on the defensive it is really important to make the threat work to hit you/decrease their ability to hit you (ie Move).

    Then the next most important is time to first shot. However, some of the standards some have are not quite right–such as 3 shots at 21 feet in 2 seconds. If we are assuming the viking charge then the shots will get easier and then of course speed is your friend. So good enough “reflexive” shooting is your friend and so all this accuracy is final stuff . . .

    By P30man on Sep 4, 2010

  18. Awareness is far more important than any physical shooting skill. I will out draw any gunfighter who doesn’t see me coming no matter how slow my draw is. That being said, your physical skills must enable your tactic to work. Great tactics without being able to hit quickly will still get you killed.

    Awareness will help me no matter what tool I have or don’t have. A quick draw will only help me only during limited times when I have a pistol and when a quick draw will help.
    Another 2 cents, most successful concealed carry shootings by civilians have been from what I call a “covert” or “stealth” draw. I have rarely seen a quick draw have an influence in a civilian fight. Trying for a quick draw that creates a lot of attention can get you killed during many, many civilian shooting situations. Its better to be aware and have a calm head any day.
    I teach civilian concealed carry, I can draw and hit with two rounds at 10m under 1.4 seconds, but I still tell all of my civilians that they need to get really good at covert draws, and really good at fast draws.

    Until I see documented video evidence otherwise, I believe a covert draw will be statistically more relevant to the civilian population vs. a fast draw, but I still believe a fast draw is important.

    By 4b1 on Sep 12, 2010

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