September 11, 2023
After you’ve got the hang of shooting while standing, you’ll want to devote some training time to drawing and shooting from various sitting positions such as on a chair, behind the wheel and on the ground. While sitting isn’t the ideal position from which to fight, circumstances may dictate you start fighting from there.
Your handgun doesn’t care if you’re standing or sitting. Since shooting a handgun is primarily an upper body endeavor, gripping, aiming and pressing the trigger remain the same. The big difference is that when sitting, you aren’t in a shooting stance.
While you’ll want to stand at the first opportunity, it’s naïve to assume there will be time to stand. Drawing and shooting while seated may be required.
Depending on where you are carrying and how you’re seated, getting to your gun can be a challenge. For instance, if you’re behind the wheel when accosted, you may need to remove the seatbelt before drawing, and you may have to cant your body one way or another to bring your gun to bear. You won’t know until you experiment.
If your gun is worn behind the hip, leaning forward will create room to draw. If you’re carrying forward of the hip, leaning back into the seat will help. If you’re a right-handed shooter in the driver’s seat, a gun worn on the hip may be further hampered by the seatbelt receptor. Again, removing your seatbelt may be necessary.
Whether you’re seated behind the wheel or sitting at a table, to ensure a smooth and efficient draw, bring your gun up high to clear any obstacles like the steering wheel or table before driving it toward the threat. This is really no different than doing it while standing, in which case drawing the gun up first makes it more difficult for an adversary to foul the draw.
After lifting the gun from the holster, you’ll need to be cognizant of your muzzle so you don’t sweep innocent bystanders—nor should your muzzle cross any part of your body. While this sounds simple, when engaging a threat to your non-gun side, the tendency is to bring the gun directly from the holster to the threat, sweeping your legs with the muzzle in the process.
Once your gun is clear of the holster, drive the muzzle to the threat in the most direct route possible—again, without muzzling yourself or anyone else. This requires situational awareness and an understanding of the nuances of seated shooting.
For instance, to engage a deadly threat directly in front of you while seated, move your gun-side leg away from your gun to prevent sweeping it during the draw. If someone is or is about to be between you and the threat, divert your muzzle.
If the threat is on your non-gun side, draw up and orient the muzzle straight ahead, being careful not to sweep innocent bystanders, then drive the gun to the threat. If you’re in a car and in the driver’s seat, you may have to lean back to create distance to comfortably extend your arms. Drawing in this manner ensures efficiency and minimizes the likelihood of your gun snagging the steering wheel.
Drawing and firing on a threat on your gun side can be more difficult because your body gets bound up. To remedy this, you may be able to shift in your seat to square your body more to the threat, or you could shoot one-handed. Firing one-handed may be comfortable, but it’s also more difficult to shoot accurately, especially as distance increases.
Drawing from a chair or vehicle seat is one thing, but shooting after falling or being knocked on your keister is quite another. From the ground, your goal is still to get up but even acquiring a kneeling position is an improvement. If you’re injured, you may be shooting while scooting away from the threat.
After engaging the threat while sitting, in most situations you would want to stand up and move to cover. But you may have to deal with family and friends, getting them out of the area while being prepared to fire on the threat. In an active-shooter scenario, perhaps the opposite tactic—closing distance to afford yourself a better shot—may be appropriate. The bottom line is to get up from your seated position as soon as feasible.
Regardless of the scenario, you still need to master the mechanics of drawing while seated. A great way to start is with a folding chair and an inert training gun that fits in your real gun’s holster. Face the chair at various angles to the “threat” and practice drawing and presenting to the target.
Then, after simulating firing at the threat, practice standing and moving while ready to deliver additional rounds on target if necessary. Get in the habit of holstering while standing. There is much less chance of muzzling yourself, and it doesn’t make sense to practice holstering while seated because there’s no reason to do so.
When you feel comfortable on the chair by itself, add a table to the mix. Here’s where you’ll see how important it is to draw the pistol up before trying to drive it to the target.
Now, practice drawing from your vehicle and from the ground, taking note of what’s required to get your gun out of the holster and into the fight from various seated positions. When you’re confident with your training gun, go to the range, grab a chair and put in some slow and deliberate live-fire repetitions.
Seated shooting is not much different than shooting while standing. It just takes a little forethought and some practice. So take a seat and get to work.