How to draw a gun from a holster ?

by Hayden Cooper
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How to draw a gun from a holster

With the increase in handgun purchases over the last few years in the US, more and more people are learning how to shoot. Learning how to draw a gun from a holster safely is a skill that needs to be first learned and perfected over time with practice, just as you learn firing your gun. One of the most important piece of equipment is your holster as it is the primary device that secures your gun when you are not using it. A holster keeps your gun safe and it is important to learn how to draw you gun, fire it at the target and re-holster it after using it.

The type of holster that you carry your gun in will certainly effect the way in which you draw your weapon. However, there are certain steps and general guidelines that need to be followed in order to draw your gun safely when needed. It is important to understand the difference between drawing your gun on a shooting range and in an emergency. On the range, there is no real sense of danger or urgency. However, in a real life and death situation when your adrenaline levels are at their peak, those few seconds that it takes to draw, aim and shoot will make all the difference in the world.

Therefore, it is necessary to practice how to draw your gun from a holster. With proper practice and time all the actions and motions involved with drawing a gun from your holster become synced between your mind and body requiring no actual conscious thought. In other words, your mind is able to concentrate more on the situation you are in while your hand and body subconsciously move in the proper position to draw your gun from the holster.

For new gun users, it is important to break down the steps into smaller segments and routines. After gaining experience through practice, you can reduce the routines as you become more accustomed to the draw of the gun from the holster. We Americans trend to draw the gun and bring it up and close to the body and then extend the gun forward with the target in sight. This is know as the tactical or US style. There are other techniques also in which you draw the gun, come in from below or the bottom and then raise it towards the target. Either way works well and it all depends upon the shooter and the style he is accustomed to.


Step 1: Body Posture & Grip of the gun


standing feet apart

Your feet should be apart (shoulder width apart is highly recommended) and one foot should be a bit forward as it adds to your stability. The body weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. You should get a good grip on the butt of the gun while the gun is still in the holster before you start to pull it out so that it does not fall or fumble in your hands. If the holster has a retention device, disable it while the gun is still in the holster.


Step 2: Draw the gun

drawing the gun with a firm grip

Drawing the gun with a firm grip

Start pulling the gun out of the holster with a firm grip on the butt of the gun. Once the muzzle of the gun has cleared the holster you can start to bring the gun into position. A beginner will look at the holster when taking it out and putting it back in, however as you gain more experience, you do not need to look at the holster while drawing your gun.

At this stage it is important to remember to never put your finger on the trigger of the gun until your gun is parallel to the ground and the target is in sight. It helps prevent accidental discharge in the ground, leg or someone standing nearby. You have to remember that many guns don’t have the external safety so the only safety you have is to keep your finger off the trigger.


Step 3: Bring the gun up high towards your chest


Gun forward position

You should then move move the gun upward towards the center of your chest. At the same time it is important to keep the muzzle of the gun pointed downrange toward the target. Once the gun is near your chest and in front of you, start using the other hand to grip the gun to give a firm firing grip.


Step 4: Move the gun forward towards your intended target

target in sight

Target in sight

At this stage both you should be using both your hands to firmly grip the gun and move it forward towards the target. Your gun sights should be centered at the target and you should be aware of the target and its surroundings. When drawing both the hands should work at the same speed. One hand is to draw the gun and the other is to grasp it when fully extended at firing position.

After you have acquired your target and have made the final decision to discharge your firearm, only then should you move your trigger finger into the trigger guard.


Step 5: Fire

Fire the gun

Fire the gun

Take a single shot or multiple if required depending upon the situation. Do not immediately put your gun back in your holster. It is important to scan your surrounding environment and be aware of any new threats that may need your gun’s attention. Ideally you should keep your eyes on the target always even when you have re-holstered your weapon.


Step 6: Re-holster your gun

After you are certain that there are no new threats, bring your gun in, release your two handed grip, separate your hands in front of the body and do not put your hand in front of the muzzle, and re-holster your weapon.

A common mistake many people make after they discharge their gun is to ride the gun with their finger on the trigger back to the holster. You need to avoid this as putting your gun back in the holster with your finger on the trigger significantly increases the chances of accidental discharge. Never leave your finger on the trigger when you re-holster.

You also need to make a conscious habit of not pointing the gun at any place of your body when re-holstering. As a general rule during the course of the draw you need to make a habit of not pointing at anything that you do not intend to shoot at.


  • Safety is paramount when you draw your gun from a holster.
  • The speed at which your draw your gun from a holster is secondary.
  • Use dry repetitions to practice and make sure gun is empty.
  • Speed comes with practice. Practice makes perfect. As you practice repeatedly these steps mentioned above will merge into one subconscious movement.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Make a habit to take long and deep breaths as it helps you to relax in high stress situations.

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