Bad Breath-Distance Gunfighting

By Handguns Mag
Posted in #Skills
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Bad Breath-Distance Gunfighting

November 15th, 2019

3:38 runtime

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth entry in our 12-part Armed & Ready series from Richard Nance and Handguns magazine. The series covers a range of personal defense and CCW topics. See links below for the other entries:

You’ve got your carry gun, a good holster and your CCW permit. Done. You’ve taken care of everything needed to be prepared for carrying a gun for self-defense, right? Wrong. There’s a lot more to CCW than simply buying your gear; you should also be well-versed and trained on how to employ it effectively. And one of the most important skills is effectively drawing your firearm in a close quarters conflict.

Making sure you can get your defensive weapon out and on target under stress is a must-have skill for CCW.

Steps to Success

What you can do on the range will not necessarily translate to what you will do when push comes to shove and you’re overloaded with stress. What you will do is revert to ingrained skills, or muscle memory. Skill sets repeated over and over until they are ingrained in your muscle memory is what you will fall back to when the rubber hits the road. So, learning your draw step-by-step offers a lot of advantages.

There are a lot of components at play in the draw stroke, and the ultimate goal is to bring your defensive weapon to bear in the most efficient manner possible. To make it as simple and repeatable as possible, I’ll be breaking down a close-quarters draw stroke into five steps.

Step 1: Beginning of the draw sequence.

Step 1:

Move your dominant hand toward your pistol, with your support hand moving up to your chest to block potential attacks (and be clear of your muzzle when you complete the draw).

Step 2: Engaging the pistol’s grip.

Step 2:

Hook the dominant hand down and get a good three-finger grip on the pistol.

Step 3: Draw the pistol from the holster.

Step 3:

Draw the elbow of your dominant arm all the way up comfortably, while keeping your wrist locked.

Step 4: Orient muzzle toward target.

Step 4:

Drop your elbow and orient the muzzle of your pistol toward the target.

Step 5: Bring your hands together and push toward target.

Step 5:

Push out toward the target, while joining with your support hand which you have brought to your chest. As you push out, flick off any manual safeties your pistol may have.

Dos and Don’ts

It is very important during the draw that you orient the muzzle toward the threat as quickly as possible. This will allow you to engage the threat earlier if needed, and it also keeps the muzzle pointed toward the threat rather than the ground.

Use your support hand to fight off a close-range attacker while you draw — but keep it clear of the muzzle!

It’s easy to “scoop” up during the draw, where you point down and then swing the muzzle up as you push forward. This is a mistake as it might allow a close attacker to push down the muzzle. It’s also not the most efficient way to get your muzzle on target.

If a threat is right on top of you, your support hand will come into play. Keep it high and away from the muzzle, and it can be used to strike the threat or deflect an attack.  


If you get these skills down and have a good quality pistol like the Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite 5″ .45 and a good holster, you will be prepared to respond to a threat effectively. Make sure you practice the steps until it’s second nature. If you ever need it, you’ll be grateful you spent the time refining this skill.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Handguns Mag

Handguns Mag

The Handguns mission, as America’s only small-arms media property, is to emphasize the proper use and selection of handguns for self-defense and sport shooting.

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