Handgun Skills: Why I Don’t Practice One-Shot Draws

Much ado is made about draw-to-first-shot speed in the shooting world.  This is, indeed, an important skill, but I don’t practice draw-to-first-shot drills at all.  I do practice draw to two shots, or draw to three shots, or five shots, etc…, but I don’t practice draw to a single shot.  Rather, I practice draw-to-shooting.  Why?

Because you grip the gun differently when you know that you are going to draw and shoot only a single shot for maximum speed.  Your brain realizes that there will be no follow-up shots, so your grip mechanics can be poor, as there will be no need to mitigate recoil for follow-ups.

I know some guys may take issue with this, but I see it too often to ignore.  Myself, and most other shooters, will consistently be faster to the first shot if you consciously practice drawing to only that single shot, then if you consciously come out of the holster intending to shoot multiple rounds.  You simply grip the gun differently. 

Generally, this grip will be good enough to get the hit at seven yards, that magic range that we use to gauge everything, or so it would seem.  However, going further out in distance quickly reveals the difference the grip is making in your accuracy. 

When practicing to see how fast your draw-to-first shot is, I strongly encourage you to fire at least two rounds, then take that first shot time as your baseline.  That is your real draw-to-first shot time.  Practicing in a way that fosters a poor grip just to facilitate the fastest possible time for a single shot is folly and irrelevant to defensive pistolcraft, in my humble opinion.

5 thoughts on “Handgun Skills: Why I Don’t Practice One-Shot Draws

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  1. While I agree on the surface, the problem you are describing is actually a training issue that no matter how many shots you may need to fire, you have to have the basics in place for every shot!


    1. True, but the consistent issue I see is that most guys who go for top speed for a single close-range shot are short cutting the grip, so such a practice builds a deficiency in order to obtain something that is not realistic for defensive shooting.


  2. I agree. It’s similar to trying to teach a one-punch boxing combo. There may be a legitimate reason for it and it may be a valid technique, but follow-up shots are usually what finish the job. When you bring up the gripping issue, that adds another level to the mix.


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