Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mechanics Of The Draw - Step 1 - The Grip

By Dave Dargo

I've previously written about building practice routines and dry-firing. One of the important skills to practice is drawing from the holster. The draw stroke is critical to efficiently and accurately getting your first shot on target.

Katie Demonstrating Step 1 - The Grip
The first step to a proper draw stroke is the grip. It's often a new concept when the student realizes the grip one establishes while the pistol is in the holster is the grip they're taking with them to the shot.

This is why it's critically important that the grip one establishes while the gun is still holstered is a proper, strong and repeatable grip.

In the photo here, Katie demonstrates the grip. Her hand came down on top of the pistol with enough force to firmly establish the pistol into her hand. The force she used was enough to cause a slight "bounce" that will help her next step of removing the pistol from the holster, the "clear" step. The web formed between her thumb and forefinger established itself in the proper position high on the backstrap, her thumb is resting on top of the thumb safety and her forefinger is positioned directly over the part of the frame where it will rest when the pistol is removed from the holster.

The grip that Katie established here will be the grip she maintains until her first shot breaks and for her subsequent shots. If she finds it necessary to adjust her grip then that means she didn't establish the grip properly in this first step. When teaching the draw-stroke we will have students perform the grip step as many times as necessary until they can repeatedly get it just right. The importance of establishing a proper grip in this step can not be overstated; this is the step that will define the efficiency and efficacy of the following steps.

Important characteristics of the grip Katie established:

  • Her forefinger is already established in the proper position for its placement on the pistol. When not firing, unlike what you may see in TV, the trigger finger should be positioned straight down the frame of the pistol. It's a safe and repeatable place to keep that finger and this practice helps keep down those pesky negligent discharges.
  • Her hand has already engaged the grip safety in this M1911. When she forcefully placed her hand on the pistol she did so in a way that engages that safety and keeps it engaged through the rest of the process.
  • Her thumb is resting on top of the thumb safety for the M1911. She has not disengaged that safety, that will come later, but her thumb is in a position to disengage it and, most importantly, that thumb will stay in that position when firing to help ensure the safety stays disengaged.
  • What you can't see in this photo is that her support hand, Katie's left hand, has taken a position on her chest at the same time her strong hand, her right hand, has taken the grip on the pistol.  You will see this in the photo for the next step.
As you can see, there's a lot going on in establishing a proper grip but with proper training and practice it becomes second nature and that's exactly what we want to establish - the draw-stroke should become second nature.

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