Proper Holster Draw Stroke: Concealed & Open Carry

Proper Holster Draw Technique Tips For Beginners

Having a proper draw technique is crucial. 

It ensures safety (for both you and those around you) while also allowing for quick response times when needed most. 

Today we’ll cover the basics of what holster draw entails and why mastering this skill should be high on your priority list.

Ready? Let’s get started…

The Importance Of Proper Holster Draw

  • Safety: Drawing your weapon correctly minimizes the risk of accidental discharge or injury. A good grip on your firearm prevents mishaps like dropping it or having it snag on clothing during the process.
  • Ease: A smooth, efficient draw means less fumbling around trying to get your gun out when seconds count. Muscle memory plays a huge role here, among other things.
  • Speed: A quick and efficient holster draw can mean the difference between life and death. The faster you can get your gun into action, the better your chances of protecting yourself or others in danger. For some inspiration, watch Jerry Miculek’s lightning-fast draws.

In short, knowing how to properly draw from a holster is an essential skill that every responsible gun owner should master.

If you’re ready to level up your holster game (and impress all your friends at the range), keep reading.

Key Takeaway: 


Holster draw is the art of safely and efficiently pulling your gun out of its holster. A proper draw technique ensures safety while also allowing for quick response times when needed most. Mastering this skill should be high on every gun owner’s priority list as it can mean the difference between life and death in a self-defense situation.

How to Properly Draw from a Holster

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of holster drawing. We’ll break it down step-by-step so you can safely and effectively draw from your waistband holster.

Setting up for a Proper Draw

Start with a solid stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. This gives you stability and allows for better movement if needed.

Surrender Stance

The “surrender stance” is when you have both hands raised at chest level, palms facing outwards. Raising your hands at chest level, palms outwardly, is critical for keeping a firearm out of reach until you’re ready to draw.

Using Your Support Hand During the Draw

Your support hand plays an essential role in holster draw techniques. As soon as you decide to draw, bring that hand across your body towards the gun while keeping it high on the chest area to avoid any clothing snags or obstructions.

Mastering Draw Touchpoints

  • Fingers: Keep them straight and off the trigger until sights are on target.
  • Palm: Make sure it’s firmly pressed against the grip tang (the top part of the grip).

Grip Pressure: The 90/10 Rule For The Draw

You want 90% pressure coming from front-to-back between palm and fingers while only applying 10% side-to-side squeeze using thumb and fingertips. This helps prevent any unwanted movement during the draw.

Keep Your Firing Thumb High

Maintain a high firing thumb position to ensure a good grip on your gun. This allows for better control and quicker target acquisition once you’ve drawn.

Bringing The Gun High

As you draw, bring the gun up high in front of your chest with both hands firmly gripping it. This is known as the “high compressed ready” position, which sets you up for fast draw and accurate shots if needed.

Vision During The Draw From A Holster

Your eyes should be focused on the threat while drawing. Don’t look down at your holster or gun. Trust yourself and keep those peepers locked onto whatever’s causing trouble.

Mastering A Safe Draw

Avoid pointing the muzzle at anything other than what you intend to shoot. Keep that trigger finger straight until sights are aligned with your intended target.


To safely re-holster, follow these steps: 1) Finger off trigger; 2) Look holster into place (it’s okay to glance down now); 3) Ensure no clothing or obstructions before fully inserting firearm back into its cozy home.

Key Takeaway: 


Learn how to properly draw from a holster with these step-by-step instructions. Set up for a proper draw with a solid stance and surrender stance, use your support hand effectively, master the touchpoints of grip pressure and firing thumb position, bring the gun high in front of your chest while keeping your eyes on the threat, and safely re-holster after use.

How To (Correctly) Practice Drawing from a Holster

Why Practice Drawing Your Gun?

The simple answer: muscle memory.

Repeated practice will help to make your movements instinctive and automatic. 

This means when faced with an actual self-defense situation, you’ll be able to draw quickly and accurately without fumbling or hesitation.

Where Can I Practice Drawing from Concealment?

  • Dry fire at home (with an unloaded firearm).
  • Incorporate drawing drills during range sessions.
  • Taking specialized classes that focus on drawing techniques.

What Tools Do I Need To Practice My Draw?

  • A quality holster designed for your specific firearm model (IWB or OWB).
  • A sturdy belt that supports both your gun and holster securely.
  • An unloaded firearm or dummy gun for safe dry-fire training at home (safety first.)

Drawing from an OWB Holster:

  1. Start with your hands at a natural resting position.
  2. Clear any clothing or obstacles out of the way using your support hand.
  3. Securely clasp the firearm, ensuring your trigger finger remains extended and away from the trigger until you are prepared to shoot.
  4. Pull up and out from the holster in one smooth motion, rotating the muzzle towards your target as soon as it clears leather (or Kydex).

Drawing from an IWB Holster:

  1. Begin with hands at rest by your sides or in front of you.
  2. Carefully lift any concealing garments away from the firearm using your support hand while maintaining situational awareness.
  3. Firmly grasp the pistol’s grip, ensuring proper placement of fingers and thumb for maximum control during presentation.
  4. Lift straight upward before angling toward target; this helps avoid “sweeping” yourself or others nearby with muzzle direction.

Self Analysis on the Draw

To improve upon anything, we must first analyze our performance honestly. 

Record yourself practicing drawing techniques so that you can identify areas where improvement is needed. 

This will help make each practice session more effective.

Key Takeaway: 


It’s important to practice regularly and develop muscle memory. This can be done through dry fire exercises at home or specialized classes, using quality holsters and an unloaded firearm. Analyze your performance honestly by recording yourself during practice sessions to identify areas for improvement.

Common Mistakes When Drawing From a Holster

Alright, let’s dive into some common mistakes people make when drawing from a holster.

To help you avoid these blunders, I’m going to provide an analysis of the most frequent mistakes and how to correct them.

Fumbling with Your Grip

The first mistake is not establishing a solid grip on your firearm before pulling it out of the holster. 

This can lead to poor control and accuracy once you’re ready to shoot. 

To fix this issue, practice establishing a proper grip as soon as your hand makes contact with the gun handle.

Covering Yourself With The Muzzle

Muzzling yourself during the draw is another big no-no. It’s dangerous and could result in an accidental discharge hitting your own body parts (ouch.). 

Always keep that muzzle pointed away from any part of your body while drawing by practicing good trigger discipline and using correct techniques like keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re on target.

Poor Clothing Management

  • Sweaters: For those who love their cozy sweaters, remember they can snag on holsters easily. Make sure you clear any excess fabric before attempting to draw so that nothing gets caught in between.
  • Tucked-in Shirts: If you’re rocking a tucked-in shirt for concealed carry purposes, ensure it doesn’t get stuck under or around your holster when trying to access your weapon quickly. Practice your draw while wearing different types of clothing to get a feel for what works best.

Slow and Unsteady Draw

Rushing through the draw can lead to mistakes, but going too slow isn’t ideal either. You want a smooth, steady motion that allows you to quickly access your firearm without fumbling or hesitating. Practice makes perfect.

Forgetting Your Support Hand

Your support hand is crucial in helping establish a solid grip on your weapon during the draw process. Don’t let it just hang there like an awkward third wheel. Make sure it’s actively involved by clearing clothing or assisting with establishing grip as needed.

Failing To Scan The Environment

After drawing your gun, don’t forget to scan the environment for any additional threats or obstacles before reholstering. Tunnel vision can be dangerous – stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

Avoiding These Mistakes With Proper Training And Practice:

  1. Dry Fire Drills: Get some quality dry fire practice in at home (with an unloaded gun) so you can work on proper technique without live ammunition.
  2. Range Time: Hit up the shooting range regularly and practice drawing from various positions under controlled conditions.
  3. Courses & Classes: Take advantage of firearm training courses offered by certified instructors who specialize in holster draw techniques and concealed carry (NRA Instructor Search). Identifying incorrect practices is essential; so make sure to continually hone your draw technique and you’ll soon be a master.
Key Takeaway: 


This section discusses common mistakes people make when drawing from a holster, such as fumbling with the grip, covering yourself with the muzzle, poor clothing management, slow and unsteady draw, forgetting your support hand and failing to scan the environment. 

Drawing On The Move

Maintaining Balance and Stability

The first thing you need to know about drawing on the move is maintaining balance and stability. 

When moving, keep your knees slightly bent and take small steps with your weight centered over your feet. 

This will help prevent any wobbling or stumbling during the process.

Mastering Your Draw Technique While Moving

You’ve already practiced your holster draw technique while stationary (right?), so now it’s time to add some movement into the mix. 

Start by walking slowly forward or backward as you execute each step of the draw process:

  1. Surrender Stance – Keep those hands up.
  2. Grip Establishment – Get that strong hand grip.
  3. Firing Thumb High – Don’t forget this crucial detail.
  4. Drawing High – Bring that firearm up high before extending outwards.

As you become more comfortable with these steps, gradually increase your speed until you can smoothly execute them at full pace.

Avoiding Tunnel Vision

In high-stress situations, our brains tend to focus solely on the threat, leading to tunnel vision. This can be dangerous as it prevents us from being aware of our surroundings and potential additional threats. To combat this, practice scanning your environment while drawing on the move.

Practice Makes Perfect

Just like with stationary drawing, repetition is key when learning how to draw on the move. Set up a safe training area (unloaded gun, please.) and incorporate movement into your regular holster draw drills.

Dry Fire Practice Drills

If you’re looking for some dry fire practice drills that include movement, check out these suggestions.

Moving Sideways – The Tactical Shuffle

Sometimes moving forward or backward isn’t enough; you’ll need to shuffle sideways too. The tactical shuffle involves taking small steps side-to-side while maintaining balance and stability. Remember to keep practicing those same holster draw techniques we discussed earlier.

Sidestepping Video Tutorial

Need help mastering the art of sidestepping? Watch this video tutorial for guidance.

Incorporating movement into your holster draw technique will better prepare you for real-life self-defense situations where standing still just isn’t an option. So get out there and start shuffling those feet – safely, of course.

Key Takeaway: 


Learning how to draw on the move is essential for any responsible gun owner in a real-life self-defense situation. To do this, maintaining balance and stability, mastering your draw technique while moving, avoiding tunnel vision by scanning your environment while drawing on the move are crucial skills to practice regularly. Incorporating movement into your holster draw technique will better prepare you for real-life self-defense situations where standing still just isn’t an option.


By following proper techniques and practicing regularly, you can ensure a fast and safe draw in any situation. 

Remember to maintain a good grip, keep your trigger finger indexed until ready to fire, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Hope this post helped you improve your draw technique – see you in the next one!

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