Monday, August 04, 2014

If not Carnegie Hall, then at least Karaoke Night...

So in just a few range sessions* of actually working on the basics with a timer, drawing to an eight-inch plate from 15 yards, I've managed to shave a reliable half- to three-quarters of a second from my times, mostly by doing things I'd been told to do in classes, but had no way of measuring the effects of in practice without a timer of my own.

For instance, being rather short-waisted and having long arms, plus carrying the pistol behind the point of my hip, my natural inclination on drawing the pistol includes a panoply of tics and spasms like rolling the shoulder while thrusting the hip out and dropping it some, trying to ease access to the gun. The problem is that this rarely winds up with the hand and holster being in exactly the same place every time, resulting in having to try and "find the gun". The timer doesn't lie: If I just keep my shoulder and hips where they are and grab the gun, it's faster.

The other thing I need to work on is something ToddG pointed out to me: I tend to move really deliberately reaching for the gun and presenting it to the target, and then try and make up time by shooting fast. In essence, I'm doing it backwards: Going slowly during the parts where I could be going fast, and then rushing the parts where I could use the extra time.

Gonna work on that today.

*Incidentally, this is one of those reasons that it pays to be really careful, as well as having a blowout kit: Practicing fifty reps of drawing and shooting at a target equals holstering a hot handgun fifty times, with the concomitant fifty opportunities to screw up.


Old NFO said...

Yep, muscle memory WILL eventually be ingrained... But it takes time. Be safe!

Gladorn said...

I would love a class like this. I wish I could find something in my "immediate" area, not an hour and a half north in Fairfax.

(Note that I mean a regular class, not some irregular class that is announced a week in advance and is invariably on a date that I am working.)

DJ9 said...

Good to see the info presented in your footnote; all too often, stuff like this is glossed-over or ignored.

Handguns are dangerous; practicing their presentation and use at maximum speed is even more so. A person like you mentioning this every now and then is a good thing, IMO.


Scott J said...

Since I pocket carry a lot I do practice draws with a hot gun.

When I do my this could be bad o meter bounces the needle off the stop.

Joseph said...

Good thing RL isn't Dungeons & Dragons. You'd have went to the ER a couple of times. (Tam rolls d20... "1" BANG! "dammit! again?")

mikee said...

Just questions from a noob:

How long, or how often, did you practice drawing from concealment with a safe, unloaded gun before practicing it at the range loaded?

Were you fairly sure at that point that you would not negligently shoot yourself or others by fumblefingering the draw and presentation, or was there still a worry about it (as in my case, at least in my own mind)?

When did that worry go away?

Self-described Noob, me, asks only because as a child in the 1960s I was taught to Question Authority.

TCinVA said...

Video is another useful tool if you can swing it. I cut a significant chunk off my draw time just by noticing in video that when I was drawing I was not moving both of my hands at the same time. I was moving my left to clear the garment, THEN I was moving my right to get to the gun. Just seeing that made me start consciously thinking "Move both hands, numbnuts" before I drew and I knocked probably 1/2 a second off my draw.

og said...

TC is right, and if you are willing to take the time to learn Mokka or one of the other open source biometric analysis softwares, you can video yourself and slo-mo it and see exactly what you're doing right, wrong, or indifferent. One of the guys here used it to give himself a killer golf swing. BTW, you can also use it to analyze the motion of really good shooters as seen on Youtube. Mokka can be downloaded here. Download Mokka here:

There are others out there, but this is the one I've seen used, and it doesn't seem too hard to understand.

Tam said...


"or was there still a worry about it"

At the risk of sounding flippant, if I ever stop worrying about it, that's when I should get worried.

I think doing it with a dummy gun or unloaded gun for a while until you feel confident in the basic mechanics is probably a very good idea.

Paul said...

Yes, you should always be concerned about perforating your self and others. Helps keep that one digit properly indexed till the time of need.

Scott J said...

"I think doing it with a dummy gun or unloaded gun for a while until you feel confident in the basic mechanics is probably a very good idea"

And I'll add to this I still do empty gun draws pretty regular just to make sure those muscles stay trained.

This is on top of my once a week minimum range time.

Steve C said...

Well now, there's your problem. You need one of those holsters that hangs the gun halfway to your knees, just like the old Westerns.

KM said...

@TAM - flippant?
No, in my mind that's just sound critical thinking.
Getting competent leads to good things. Getting complacent leads to disaster.

KM said...

Forgot to add - that Mokka og mentioned sounds very interesting.