Covertly Drawing Your Handgun Can Be A Lifesaver

Covertly Drawing Your Handgun Can Be A Lifesaver

Everyone wants a fast draw stroke. Whether you’re concerned with defending your life, winning a match or just looking a little more like John Wick, getting your gun out of the holster and on target quickly is pretty darn important. It’s certainly easy to see how when faced with an imminent threat a fast draw stroke could save your life, but even a lightning-fast draw is not the solution to every dangerous criminal threat.

When you’re able to detect a potential problem early, you would be wise to draw your gun covertly. For cops, this is a daily occurrence. Dispatched to a burglary alarm call at a business? Gun comes out as you approach the building. Stopped a vehicle with a violent, armed criminal occupant? Gun is out as soon as the patrol car is shifted into park. Approaching a vehicle on a “routine” traffic stop and the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Gun comes out and is positioned behind your leg, hidden from the view of the vehicle occupants, but at the ready. You get the idea.

Drawing covertly isn’t a skill that only cops need to develop. As a legally armed private citizen, you should consider scenarios where this tactic may be apropos. For instance, imagine that while in a convenience store a masked gunman flings open the door, jumps the counter and shoves the muzzle of a pistol against the clerk’s head. The robber shouts, “Give me the money!” He looks around frantically for witnesses or for those who would dare to stop him.

Now is definitely not the time to act like Quick Draw McGraw. Tempting though it may be to draw your gun as quickly as humanly possible, it’s not a good idea because the furtive movement would assuredly draw the attention of the robber, whose gun is already in play. The action/reaction phenomenon makes this a losing proposition.


When you draw overtly, you’ve essentially taken center stage, and the robber may feel that you’ve forced his hand. This might prompt him to shoot the clerk or turn his gun on you. In the case of the latter, you’d be hard-pressed to shoot the robber without the risk of inadvertently shooting the clerk.


As an alternative to quick-drawing against a robber, whose gun is in hand, consider drawing covertly. Something like this. When you see the clerk being held up, act compliant. If possible, slowly back away and seek escape, cover or at least concealment. Not only will this make it harder for the robber to keep tabs on you or shoot you, but also it will help to shield your draw stroke from his view.


But what if escape is not an option and there is no cover or concealment available? What if you feel that moving toward either would place you at greater risk? By moving slowly and minimally, you should be able to draw your gun without being noticed, even when there’s not much to hide behind.

When the robber appears distracted, slightly turn your gun side away from him to obscure your draw stroke. Rather than reach for your garment and lift it as high as possible, as would be proper when executing a fast draw stroke, slowly peel the garment away only enough to obtain a solid, three-fingered grip on your handgun. Then, while minimizing shoulder rise and elbow flare, draw your gun from the holster and hold it in a position where it is hidden from the robber.

This covert draw stroke enables you to maintain the ever-important element of surprise and gives you options. Do you intervene? That would depend on a number of factors, such as whether you thought the robber would shoot someone or take hostages, whether you were alone, whether there was likely a “lookout man,” the distance between you and the robber, the robber’s position relative to the clerk, etc.


Covertly drawing your gun does not obligate you to act, the way quicker drawing might, yet it affords you the tremendous advantage of having your gun in hand. In the unfortunate event the robber was to shoot the clerk and then turn his gun on you, you are in a much better position than if your gun was still holstered. Similarly, if the robber were to approach you, intent on taking you hostage, you would be on the right side of the action/reaction spectrum, as he won’t expect there to be a gun in your hand.

Drawing covertly isn’t just beneficial in the midst of a robbery. Let’s assume you were walking to your vehicle late at night in a dimly lit, sparsely populated lot (you should not have parked there, by the way) and someone approaches you in a manner that makes you uncomfortable. If you can position your vehicle between you and the potential assailant and covertly draw your gun, you will have a leg up should he produce a weapon or demonstrate intent to harm you.

A covert draw gives you the element of surprise, which is often the deciding factor in a lethal confrontation. It prevents you from betting your life on a successful full-speed draw stroke while under extreme duress. Best of all, since the whole point of drawing covertly is for your gun to remain a secret until it’s needed to overcome a deadly threat, if you don’t need to use it, nobody is the wiser.




Recommended for You

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is producing a limited-edition 25th anniversary K9. Industry

Kahr 25th Anniversary K9

J. Scott Rupp - July 19, 2019

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is...

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo with these 10 low-priced pistols. Compact

10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense. Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

See More Stories

More Personal Defense

Ever since gunpowder was invented, shooters have been making handguns with the biggest hole down the barrel that they could safely shoot. Personal Defense

Best Big-Bore Handguns of All Time

Joseph von Benedikt - May 27, 2015

Ever since gunpowder was invented, shooters have been making handguns with the biggest hole...

Mention Personal Defense

How Dry-Fire Practice Can Make You a Better Shooter

Walt Rauch - August 12, 2013

Mention "dry-fire" as a must-do part of any defensive firearms training and you can almost...

 A fistful of drills to enhance your pistol skills.

There's nothing wrong with shooting drills for Personal Defense

Five Drills To Enhance Your Pistol Skills

Richard Nance - May 09, 2018

A fistful of drills to enhance your pistol skills. There's nothing wrong with shooting...

See More Personal Defense

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.