Drawing the pistol is normally a dynamic action, rapidly presenting the pistol into a ready position or on the target. Equally important, but often overlooked, is the ability to "covertly" draw the pistol. The quickest draw is to already have the pistol in hand when it's needed. When you see questionable actions - and time permits - it might be a good idea to go ahead and draw, secretly getting the pistol in hand without anyone noticing it.
Usually we use both hands to clear the cover garments and draw the pistol. This action is obviously going to attract attention. A convert draw, using only the strong hand to clear the garment and draw the pistol, attracts less attention. In fact, done properly no one will even see or notice this action. While this sounds simple, drawing the pistol in a covert or surreptitious manner requires two things. First, you have to determine what technique works for you and how you carry. Start this process using a dummy pistol. (For dummy pistols, see ASP
. Each one of these companies offers different styles or "brand" pistols.) Second - still using your dummy pistol - you have to practice, performing the repetitions necessary to learn and apply this skill. During all this the Safety Rules still apply. Keep your finger off the trigger and the muzzle pointing in a safe direction.
The "covert" draw may require you to reposition your body, using it as concealment to hide your actions. Your environment contains objects that can be used for concealment, blocking others from seeing you draw. You may not need to conceal the entire body, just the parts that are moving. The same applies to cover, which has the extra benefit of providing you with protection.
You'll also need to experiment with "concealed" ready positions. Holding it down low at your side with the arm extended is one option. You can use objects in the environment to hide the pistol. Now it's up to you to decide when it's time let it be know you're armed.
Just because you draw it doesn't mean you're going to shoot. If this is the case you want to get it back into the holster without attracting attention. Again, think about minimal amounts of movement and using objects in the environment to conceal your actions. The same principle applies to knives, especially folders, or any other "weapon" you might have on hand. (Remember that being unarmed is a state of mind; there are always objects that can be used as weapons.)
We never know what the confrontation might look like, including events preceding the physical part of the fight. Being prepared means having a few different options, especially when it comes to drawing the pistol.
Thinking back on the times I have drawn my handgun in anticipation of using it the majority of them were covert presentations. Indicators said things were about to get ugly. I drew the pistol without anyone seeing it. Matters were resolved without violence, and the pistol was holstered. In one situation I was backing away from a guy who was telling his friends how he was "gonna kick ass" and no one ever noticed I had a pistol in my hand. They were too busy laughing at how scared I was, although that's not the term they used. Perfect. And, if things had gotten ugly, everyone - including the threat - would have been surprised at the speed of my "draw."
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html. McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: