Even though in Alabama it’s legal to carry openly, I still conceal my pistols. The technique I use to draw and holster has evolved over the years into one action that works whether I’m using an open front garment, closed front, or wearing multiple layers of clothing. Having one technique that works regardless of how I’m dressed, a single method that applies across the board, works better for me; the fewer decisions I have to make the better my performance, especially under stress.
Step one is clearing the garment(s). I grab the clothing with both hands. The strong hand grips the garment low and behind the grip of the pistol. My support hand gets hold of the clothing in front of the holster. Next, I pull both hands and arms straight up. This ensures the garment(s) clear both the holster and pistol. Getting clothing caught up between your hand and the pistol is a problem, so regardless of the technique you use it should allow you to acquire a proper grip on the pistol every time, without fail.
From this point my support hand moves to the center of the body, pulling the clothing tight against the right side of my body. Now, my strong hand is free to grip the pistol. From here, the presentation or draw is the same as if I started with the standard “grip and slap,” drawing from an open holster.
As mentioned above this technique works when I’m wearing an open front garment, such as a sport coat or jacket. In the older days we would sweep the jacket to the rear with the strong hand. Some people would even sew weights in the pocket of the coat so it would carry farther to the rear when swept back. One problem with this technique is that often, especially when someone is in a hurry to get a grip on the pistol, the jacket doesn’t go back far enough and gets caught between your hand and the pistol grip. Another problem is this technique won’t work if you’re wearing a closed front garment or multiple layers. By grabbing all your garments with both hands and pulling straight up you’re clearing everything out of the way.
Once it’s time to holster I leave the weapon extended out in front of me, what we call a “low-ready,” and bring the support hand back, grabbing my garments as far back and as low as possible. The support hand pulls all this up and to the center of the body, again ensuring everything is clear of the holster. Once the clothing is out of the way then I work the pistol back into the holster. This technique gets my holster clear without having to worry about covering myself with the muzzle.
Remember, as you holster if you feel any resistance stop, bring the weapon back out to the low-ready and figure out what the problem is. Most likely part of your clothing has gotten caught between the holster and pistol. Forcing the pistol into the holster with clothing caught between the trigger and holster can cause the pistol to fire. At best this is embarrassing.
If you carry concealed you should train and practice drawing and holstering from concealment. Remember consistency is the key, and once you decide on what technique you’re going to work with then use it, all the time, every time. You must be able to draw the pistol, on demand, under any type circumstances, without having to think about it. Work on this often, so when you need it you have it. ~ Tiger
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: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html