For all too many concealed carry holders, training simply consists of going to the range, setting up a target and shooting at it from various distances while standing upright. This is an excellent place to start when new to shooting, testing a new firearm, or practicing to obtain a permit. Ideally, every training session should include basic marksmanship practice, but it is a small part of CCW training overall. Almost of equal importance is proper concealed carry draw technique. Practicing the right method to draw from concealment will increase your speed and help to ensure your safety and the safety of others in critical situations.
The recommendation from top instructors across the nation is to practice drawing from concealment and presenting your firearm routinely.
In the early stages, start slowly so that you are conscious of each step in the process:
This may seem slow and monotonous, and it should. Practice this concealed carry draw technique from as many different shooting positions as possible. As you practice, be sure to take it slowly, almost as if you are exaggerating each step—but do so in a way that the movements become fluid. Performing each movement slowly and consciously will allow you to enhance your muscle memory and tweak any areas that need work for the perfect draw.
When a concealed carry permit holder finds themselves in a stressful life or death situation, they will not rise to some high level of competence. Instead, stress and adrenaline will overload the body and thought processes. Fine motor skills go out the window, hastily thought out plans will be forgotten, and the CCW holder will fall back to whatever their level of training is. In critical situations, we will act reflexively and instinctively.
After hundreds of repetitions in practice, each of the steps in the draw technique described above will become faster. What we are building here is muscle memory and training ourselves for the proper draw from concealment to be as quick as a reflex. Practice, practice, practice.
If your garment is open, there are two main draw techniques: the “HK” technique and the “Hook” technique. There are others, but this is a good place to begin your practice.
While a closed garment may result in slower access to the handgun, it usually provides greater concealment. The basic clearing technique for a close garment is a little trickier, requiring the use of both hands. There are one-handed techniques, but these are difficult for beginners to master.
We typically keep a spare magazine or speed loader in the main pocket that needs to clear the holstered handgun. A set of keys or even a large ball bearing can be used for the same affect by adding weight to keep the garment clear when you execute your draw.
Proper concealed carry draw techniques are more important than shooting speed. If you do not get this right, you start off at a greater disadvantage in a gun fight. Never do anything in training that is unnecessary. When training for a potential life threatening situation, every second of that session should be devoted to performing tasks that will one day save your life or the lives of your loved ones. Take your practice seriously, and always be mindful of safety and surroundings.