The Armed Citizen Corner: The Surreptitious Draw, A Neglected Skill

The Surreptitious Draw: A Neglected Skill


I have long been a student of MAXIMIZING speed and efficency with weapons by MINIMIZING unncecessary body movement.

This is why I am a proponent of AIWB carry (Appendix Inside the Waistband) for both handgun and fixed blade knife.

“To draw the gun discreetly, focus on minimizing movement in the elbows and shoulders, as these movements clearly alert anyone who is watching that you are reaching for a weapon. Again, the AIWB carry position offers an advantage here as you can minimize the movement in your shoulders and elbows.”


Into the Fray: Left-Handed Operations

Learning to not only shoot, but also draw, load and clear malfunctions with your “Non-Dominant” Hand is essential to keep your firearms training realistic. -SF

Read the Original Article at Ammo-Land

To back this type of training up with real world data, look at a post I did recently What Armed Civilians Can Learn From the Philadelphia Policeman Shooting

Drilling frequently on shooting both one handed while moving and ambidextrous (non-dominant hand) is Paramount in keeping our training realistic and relevant to today’s threats.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

The Armed Citizens Duty to Train


“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”

Luke 12:48


There has been a lot of debate as of late about “Constitutional Carry” and how it is the solution nationwide for both returning this country to it’s TRUE Constitutional rights as far as the 2nd Amendment is concerned and solving the confusing legal “quagmire” of carry reciprocity laws which exist state-to-state.

So often we Americans get so passionate about a topic, most especially gun rights, that we lose the broad perspective. For example, it is currently being argued that neither the Federal nor State Governments have any right to demand of a person that they obtain a permit to carry a legally purchased firearm openly or concealed on their person. This by extension, also implies that the Federal or State Government has no right to demand that a person complete a mandated training course before the permit gets issued. Now on the surface, it may appear that the debate on this issue is solely about GOVERNMENT CONTROL; that no Government has the RIGHT to implement such laws on a citizen, since it obviously infringes their constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights. And although that is the most POPULAR argument on the surface of the debate, the polarizing issue that is really at hand has to deal more with a citizen’s DUTY and RESPONSIBILITY than it has to do with CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS. Our Founding Fathers understood  you cannot divorce these two principles; a citizens rights can only be guaranteed by the degree of the citizen’s Duty to see those Rights exercised responsibly.

When a man arms himself and goes into public, he takes upon himself a certain amount of implied SOCIAL and CIVIC responsibility. He has to come to terms with the fact that the decisions he makes while armed could ultimately end or save a person’s life; including his own, therefore, he has a DUTY to be as fully TRAINED and PREPARED as he possibly can be. Now, one could argue that this RESPONSIBILITY is the individuals, and it is up to him to go out and get that training; it is not up to the STATE to mandate it. But if that is true, how do we hold that person accountable to that standard? If we wait until he has screwed up, made the wrong decision and killed an innocent person, have we not waited too long? No. The short answer is there HAS to be some accountable standard.

Now, as an example, if we look at the current Concealed Carry mandated Training in Texas, which is a meager 8 hour course that could be passed by my 11-year-old blindfolded, This IS NOT that accountable standard! We have to go farther and deeper than that as a SOCIETY if we fully intend to be morally and socially responsible. Can you train the average person for EVERY possible situation? Of course not, but you can train them for the most APPLICABLE and LIKELY TO HAPPEN.


For example, with Open Carry about to be passed here in Texas, how about some mandated advanced training on weapon retention? I know, I know, most gun right advocates HATE when you talk about an armed citizen having their gun taken away from them and killed with it, but guess what? It is a REALITY, it HAPPENS and it needs to be addressed in training. This stupid trend where trainers and citizens alike ignore or fail to address facts like these IN TRAINING or CONVERSATION simply because the topic is “unpopular” in the pro-gun community, needs to STOP.  Just ask a cop how much training he has had on weapon retention. I know, I know, an armed citizen and a Law Enforcement officer do not have the same responsibilities or authority, and definitely are not expected to behave the same when they witness a crime; that is not what I am talking about. What people have to wrap their head around is that with open carry comes serious responsibility. Every citizen that decides to carry openly will face the same danger uniformed law enforcement does on a daily basis. Consider: At every confrontation you get in, there will always be one loaded gun present:  YOURS. Ask yourself: Are you prepared to fight for your gun if some goon tries to snatch it? Are you in good enough PHYSICAL SHAPE to even do that? Do you have the tools in your toolbox RIGHT NOW to deal with that type of threat effectively? If the answer is No to any of these, then I have proved my point on people planning to Open Carry needing more Advanced Training than an 8 hour remedial gun course.

In closing, let me say that for far too long, the Pro-Gun, 2nd Amendment Movement has been all about advocating “Inherent Constitutional Rights” without, at the same time, advocating the “Inherent Constitutional Responsibility” that comes with those rights. We must understand that the very “under-pinning” or Foundation of a Democratic Society rest in the notion that these two ideals have always historically been held as mutually exclusive; they were never intended to be divorced from each other as they currently are in Obama’s socialist republic. In other words, the Founding Fathers of this Great Nation always had the expectation that a citizen must never expect to be given ANY RIGHT without first taking ownership of that right by being RESPONSIBLE in how it is administered and practiced.

This mindset has to change, if we intend to FIRST, function as a TRUE Democratic society and SECONDLY, to RETAIN our RIGHTS as FREE, ARMED MEN. Because only when we, as armed citizens, accept the SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY and BURDEN that we carry, and in turn, let that responsibility produce WORTHWHILE PREPARATION, can we truly be worthy to inherit the rights laid out to us by the Founding Fathers and understand the blood that has been shed over the many centuries to keep those rights intact, were, in fact, shed for those responsible enough to realize it is their duty to do the same if the situation should ever call for it. And I think it will, very soon.

Stay Responsible, Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Weapon Retention Realities

Weapon retention

One of the first things I tell a newly “Christened” Concealed Carry Licensee when they come to train with me is this:

“From now on There will always be ATLEAST ONE FIREARM present in every shitty situation you get into: YOURS!!! Understand you may see this is a huge POSITIVE, but as soon as your ENEMY REALIZES you have a gun, they will ALSO see it as a BIG POSITIVE, and attempt to turn it into a BIG NEGATIVE by taking that gun from you, sticking it up your ass and killing you with it. Therefore, your first priority as a serious student must be not how to have the coolest holster or the fastest draw, but how to NOT get your gun TAKEN FROM YOU and KILLED WITH IT.”

For some of my students, this has been a shocking, if not terrifying realization. You can literally see the fear in their eyes and the second guessing in their minds. You then realize (with amazement) that they had never taken the time to contemplate this sobering fact until now. They have been so caught up with the excitement of getting their license and the camaraderie of their state mandated 8 hour CCL Class, that they had totally forgotten the stark reality of what it means to carry a lethal weapon around with them.

Enter the Need for Advanced Concealed Carry Weapons RETENTION Training!!

To cover this topic in a thorough manner , we need to divide it up into two main subjects, as in all things “tactically” related, those two areas are:  Hardware and Software.


OK, so you got your license and you got your gun, now you are going to have to decide on a holster type/material and carry position. Since this is not a beginner article about “How to Choose the right Carry Holster” or “The Best Holster Position for a Concealed Handgun” I am going to dispense with all the pro/con stuff of both subjects. Do your homework if you have not already..plenty of data out there.

Having said that, let’s talk about IWB retention holsters for a minute. No matter the material you go with, kydex or leather, most all of the major manufacturers offer some type of Level 1-3 Retention holster. The question you will have to answer is do you want to go the Retention route?

It has been my experience in many hours of firearms and combatives training that a Retention holster DEMANDS advanced training to be effective and MUST be paired with the SAME User and Weapon ALL the time. In other words, this is not a piece of kit that can just be thrown on one day and everything continues like it was..NOa retention holster changes the entire dynamic of how you train with your sidearm.

FACT: Anytime you change the way you ACCESS your weapon, you change EVERYTHING related to your firearms and combatives training!

Don’t get me wrong, the added weapon security that a retention holster gives is undeniable, but at the same time, that same security can turn into a huge NEGATIVE to the CO under the stress of combat. We have to remember what happens to the human body under severe stress: fine motor skills and minutia task management virtually disappear; As blood flow is directed away from the brain and heart and rushed to major muscle groups, so Gross Motor Skill becomes easier.

Ask yourself this question: Can the problems that you are attempting to solve with a piece of kit (a holster) be equally if not better solved by an increase in better gun handling skills and Realistic ECQ Combative Tactics Training?




If the bad guy is not close to you, he cannot grab your gun. I know, this is a lot easier said that done..the reality is, despite what the “Reactionary Gap” doctrine states, we all live in a world that requires us to be relatively close to people, it’s just the way it is, but this does not mean we cannot be AWARE of what they are doing. Secondly, thanks to YouTube, most LEO dashcam and Private CCTV footage has proven that a majority of street encounters end up “hands-on” meaning, even if a weapon is involved, the final distance between the bad guy and CO typically ends up less than 3 feet.

So ultimately, for the CO to stay realistic in his training, instead of trying to avoid getting close to people or trying to invent “mall-ninja” methods of keeping people away from them, we need to train for the inedible eventuality of fighting “close in” (aka bad breath distance) with an attacker (ECQ) and having a tool box of skills ready for that moment.

This means in staying with the Combative Continuum we will be prepared no matter what is thrown at us. The heart of ECQ Combatives as my friend CW sais is “Violence of Action combined with compressed weapon positions”.

CCW Early Deployment

I have heard this termed “Concealed pre-ejaculation” by some instructors (I know there are a myriad of good jokes that could be inserted here, but let’s stay on task!) aka Deploying your concealed weapon too soon or too fast, thereby giving your enemy “heads-up” notification that you are IN FACT Armed. This can apply to any weapon system, but mainly concealed firearms. Obviously, if you are a practitioner of open carry, you can skip over this section, but for you Concealed Carry folks, listen up. Carrying a Concealed Weapon has with it many advantages and many dis-advantages. The advantages STAYING advantages are mainly dependent on YOU keeping a low profile and keeping your weapon CONCEALED (this would include the proper cover garments) until you are DAMN SURE you are ready to use it. Surprise in warfare is a HUGE DEAL, read Sun -Tzu’s “Art of War” and he can tell you all about it better than I can. Bottom line in the words of Foxy Brown “My daddy said Don’t ever take your shit out until you are ready to use it.” Nuff Said?

waving gun

The “Gun Tailsman” Syndrome:  Addressing the Distance Problem

The one thing I see in training time and time again that could solve 75% of weapon retention problems IMO is what a friend of mine (B.E) calls the “Gun Tailsman” syndrome. How many times have you seen this: The shooter “Sticking” or “Waving” the gun out in front of them as if it is “warding” off some terrible evil in front of them; as if that gun is producing some kind of force shield that is keeping the attacker at bay. This is what another good friend of mine calls “Fantasy Gunfighting”; not good folks. To correct this, we need to first understand where this all started. Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, what we now call “Combat Handgun” techniques came, initially, from Competition IDPA Shooting. To make a long story short, basically these techniques held that to be accurate with a handgun, and to hit your target, you HAD to have a 2 handed grip on the weapon with a FULL Extension of your arms, elbows locked with the correct stance. Later on, Jeff Cooper came along and simplified the equation with the Modern Technique. OK enough history, moving on.

Well,  without getting into the details of ALL the flaws of this type of thinking, (and they are a lot of them!) The main one was it did not take into account the DISTANCE you were from your target. I mean what if your attacker is “bad breath” distance from you and not the stipulated IDPA 7 Yards?? Do you still want to lock them arms and elbows out to ensure you get a good “hit” and in the process hand that meth monkey your gun!? No, of course not.


Fast Forward a few years and some really smart folks, in coming up with a “4 step” sidearm presentation, came up with the “Compressed Ready” Shooting positions. The heart and soul of this position is keeping the gun close (but your enemies closer..ha ha, sorry had to throw that in there!) to your body and AWAY from the threat. What is cool about this is that DEPENDING on where your attacker is (proximity of how close they are to you), you have a pre-designated position where you can PRESENT and/or FIRE your weapon if need be. Without getting too technical, there is the:

  • Half-Hip or Speed Rock Position: This is a one-handed grip, where the gun barrel has just become horizontal to the threat out of the holster.
  • Compressed Low or High Ready: This is where your grip joins together either at chest or belly level.
  • Half-Extension: The two-handed grip is now extended out from your body about a foot or so..this of course can be tweaked according to the distance to the threat!
  • Full-Extension: Arms extended, elbows locked; best position when distance from threat allows it.


Along these same lines is also the SUL (Portuguese for “South”) Position, adopted by a majority of SWAT and HRT Teams for room/structure clearing; it basically tucks the gun into the chest (giving retention) but hands are connected in a way that allows a quick presentation. At the same time making the gun “safe” by directing the muzzle down, which allows movement without at anytime “covering” anybody close by with the muzzle.

Another huge fallacy that made its way into Self-Defense Shooting via Competition Shooting back in the day is the ideal you cannot shoot accurately with one hand. As Combative Handgun Techniques and ECQ Firearms Training became more formalized, and as this training found its way into the real world (or is it the other way around?) civilians and LEO alike showed, that YES, in fact, you could shoot accurately with one hand and survive the day, in fact a large percentage of  LE dash-cam video shows that in the moment of truth, officers were shooting one-handed, while at the same time, Getting off the X” or simply, getting out of the kill zone!

As Combative Firearm training has further evolved, it is now widely drilled in ECQ (for civilian and LEO alike) when the firearm is deployed,  to maintain a one-handed compressed high ready position grip on the firearm (muzzle at the deck, elbow tucked) while the other hand is out front, ready to fend, if necessary. This position has proved to be one of the easiest ready positions to fight from (and shoot from) when the shooter gets surprised in a ECQ situation. Compare that to the “Gun Tailsman” syndrome that we looked at and you can see very quickly, logic and common sense have (thankfully) prevailed!

So in closing, to answer the question I first asked at the beginning:

“Can the problems that you are attempting to solve with a piece of kit (a holster) be equally if not better solved by an increase in better gun handling skills and Realistic ECQ Combative Tactics Training by the end-user?” 

I think a better question to ask here is “Isn’t it good that we asked ourselves this question!!” I mean, whenever you choose to question the status-quo and explore new ways to solve a problem, you will by consequence of that, TRAIN HARDER! Compare that with relying on a piece of gear to solve a problem and I think you have done yourself a huge service! Remember the mantra: FIGHT FOCUSED, not WEAPON or GEAR focused!!

Keep that Gun Close, Stay Frosty and Stay Dangerous!

Scanning and the Third Eye


It came to my attention during a recent series of drills that there are certain things MOST gun schools teach people that are regarded as necessary and prudent, but in reality are just uneccessary movement. We should always seek in our training to do MORE with LESS, to trim off any movement or action that is not efficient. One of these is SCANNING after THE FIGHT IS OVER.

You watch any person that has received any type of modern firearms training, and you will see this maneuver: They engage the target, then with a turn of their head, look left, then right, then they may check their six. Ask youself this question: You have just been in a violent have had to shoot a person to stop them from killing you or a loved one, you now want to look around (scan) to ensure he has no buddies lurking to back him up, do you think it is prudent to just simply LOOK with your eyeballs or SCAN with that THIRD EYE, your weapon and be ready to shoot again quickly?

You have to use probability here, wolves run in packs, you have just took down one; the chances that you will have to fire again are pretty high, so we need to be ready to do just that. If we follow the protocol taught by 95% of the “gun school” dogma, we will not be ready to break that shot..we will have our feet planted like a statue, the gun at the low ready (or SUL) with the safety engaged (if applicable to that model) and only our head turned in the direction of the threat. This is Bad and will get you killed. Press rewind and then pause.

You just killed a BG. Keeping the weapon at the (up) ready position and the safety still off, your finger inside the trigger guard and on the trigger with no pressure,with the weapon lowered just enough where your field of vision is not impaired (to gain a sight picture all that is required is 1/2″ of upward movement with the weapon) you swing around 360 degrees slowly, your feet are in a power stance, ready to move, you scan the entire area. You now have three “eyes” scanning…two eyeballs and the barrel of your weapon. If no threat is found, and when you feel the situation is secure, safe the weapon and go to low ready.

You will find when you apply this technique, your speed (time on target) will dramatically increase, only becasue you are “pre-setting” every thing that is required to get those hits. You body is already squared off to target, your vision is focused to the threat, sights and muzzle are already in the general direction of the threat, all that is required is a “Type 2” or “Flash Sight Picture” to get the hits. Depending on distance and proximity of target, you may just have to super impose the front sight aperture on the target or you may need a traditional sight picture..whatever the case, you are ready to break the shot.

I need to interject something here that alot of people seem to glaze over. The issue of COVER. If you have just been on the winning end of a violent encounter, there is a good chance you will be behind some type of cover, because gunfights do not happen in a static vacuum and people do not stand still when shot at!  If you are behind cover, STAY THERE! You can repeat the above scanning process right where you are at.

In closing, we need to apply this formula to all areas of our training. Wasted movement for the sake of just going through the “motions” is stupid. Examine this next time you train and when you find wasted movement, flush it and examine how you can make it more efficient. It could save your bacon some day!

Stay Dangerous.