While the fastest way to bring a defensive handgun into play is to have it in your hand when the fight starts, this is not always the case for the law enforcement professional. Even with an advanced state of awareness, a lurking threat can become deadly in just a few seconds, so having the ability to quickly bring the sidearm into play is essential for the armed professional. Fortunately, the draw stroke is a skill that can be mastered without the expenditure of live ammunition, so there’s no excuse for anyone who carries a handgun for defense to have a less-than-quick draw. Of course, an accurate draw stroke can only be “confirmed” via live fire, so some range practice is essential.
What is considered a fast draw? Most will agree that a standard of 1.5 seconds from the first movement of the hand to the gun to an accurate shot is a good one. What is an accurate shot? Hitting an 8×10-inch square out to 10 yards that equates the high chest region where many of the vital organs of the body are located. The standard used in my classes is 2 seconds, and this must be met regardless of what the shooter and/or target are doing. What I mean by this is that if the shooter is making a lateral movement while the target is wobbling back and forth, the 2-second standard still applies regardless of whether the gun is unconcealed, concealed or in a level III security holster. Under these circumstances, this standard is a challenge and one I constantly work on.