The Most Important Pistol Skill

The most important skill with a pistol, as it pertains to self-defense, is being able to deploy it efficiently, safely, and quickly.  We could say that the draw to a first, solid hit, is most important.  I would submit that the draw itself can be separated out from the first accurate hit to an extent because most defensive gun uses end with a gun displayed yet no shot fired.

Ironically, many self-pronounced practitioners of defensive pistolcraft tend to ignore this skill.  I see at public ranges, all the time, people practicing only from ready positions, usually not even wearing a holster.  Similarly, even some serious shooters who are technically skilled and focus on competitive shooting do practice from the holster, but from a holster that is not applicable to concealed carry. 

If the gun cannot be deployed when needed, nothing else related to the use of a concealed pistol matters very much.  This is not to say that blazing draw speed is the top priority:  However, a consistent and predictable draw is absolutely necessary. 

The draw needs to be well practiced for any number of scenarios.  Most people who do actually practice the draw tend to focus only on the best-case scenario or performing the draw from a standing position with the hands in an optimal position, with both hands available to work on the task.  Certainly, practice the best-case scenario draw, as it is the preference if you are able to do it, but you should also focus on drawing from a multitude of scenarios.  Practice:

1 – The standard, both hands draw

2 – Dominant-hand only draw

3 – Draw while seated

4 – Draw from flat on your back

5 – Support-hand only draw

6 – Surreptitious draw

7 – Draw while moving

8 – Draw while entangled at contact distance

That probably sounds very different compared to the ten minutes allotted to the draw stroke in your typical defensive pistol class, does it not?

Getting the gun out remains the most important skill involved with the actual use of the defensive pistol and this skill should get many repetitions in practice. 

8 thoughts on “The Most Important Pistol Skill

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  1. Had an opportunity to test my draw and fire in a real situation. Got home from shopping, put the groceries away and went out to the garden to turn he weeds under. I did not exchange my EDC for my normal 6 inch revolver, still had my Taurus G2. Chickens started screaming and a fox was hot on the tail of a hen. I drew and began shooting before I even knew I had don so. I carry in a Bianci #10 belt holster and do not practice nearly enough. First 2 rounds were intentionally wide, fox continued to attack and I adjusted fire to hit. The fox and hen were almost identical in color. Started shooting at about 50 yards. Had a hit at about 35 yards that turned the fox away but he returned to the hen, 2 more possible hits and a hit at 20 yards that ended the attack. tracked through the pasture and found blood but had to stop to round up the rest of the hens. Draw is highly important, this was a nice test of how I am doing in that area.


  2. Thanks for this article. The lack of people practicing drawing and then firing at public ranges is often due to the range’s prohibition on this act or the range’s directive to keep weapons pointed down range at all times.

    Liked by 1 person

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