Quick Draw: 5 Ways to Reduce your Pistol Draw Time

Guest Post by Ben Jimenez

Many shooters often ask themselves how they can reduce their draw time. This is a common question among those who conceal and carry, especially when it can make the difference between life and death in a mere matter of seconds. So, it is important that you work on decreasing your draw time.  

If you do choose to conceal and carry a firearm, you must practice to become proficient in all aspects of the gun. While accuracy is important, your draw is just as important. If you are slow, it can have negative consequences in an active shooter situation. Shooting and drawing your pistol shouldn’t be practiced separately, and it is imperative that you work on them as one. Below are the five best ways to reduce the time it takes to draw your weapon.  

#1 Snapping

The first thing that is recommended to reduce your draw time is the snap. This is the first initial motion that you make with you dominant hand. This is when you quickly bring your hand down towards the grip of your pistol, hence the snapping motion.

The more that you practice the snap, the more natural the entire process will feel. It is good to wear your holster in the exact same spot every time. This allows muscle memory to take over, so your hand always finds the grip of your pistol.  

As you continue to work on the snap, make sure that you try to make it quicker each time. As you increase the speed to firmly grasp the pistol, your draw time will begin to reduce itself.

#2 Clearing the Garment

Depending on the type of holster you wear, you may have to clear a garment to access your gun.  If you are in a dangerous situation, you’ll want quick access as quickly as possible. For inside the waistband holsters (IWB), make sure that you use your dominant hand to remove the garment with a quick flick of the wrist. That will send the garment backward or upwards so you can continue your snap and reach the grip of your pistol.


It is important that you practice the motion the exact way you carry your weapon. So, if you wear a jacket or shirt over your pistol, it is important that you practice with a shirt covering your pistol. You will only get better if you practice how you carry and clear your garment.

#3 Reduce Holster Retention

One of the first things that you can do is reduce the retention of your holster, which is relatively easy. With a few adjustments to the screws, the pistol will be easier to access now that the holster isn’t tightly gripping your gun. Experiment with your holster to see what works best for you. Some people prefer a tight retention, but as you get more comfortable with your draw, you may see that reducing the retention allows you to draw the pistol from the holster more smoothly.  

#4 Shooting Drills

As stated before, drawing and shooting are two connected pieces of the puzzle. It is important that they are treated as such. After you have done a good bit of practice and dialed in the retention of your holster, you can look at implementing some shooting drills.

Practicing drawing and shooting is one of the best ways to help increase your time, as it will help to feel more realistic and you will react faster when shooting live ammo. It is important that during these drills that you are safe, but you also look to increase your speed and accuracy as you practice. You shouldn’t substitute speed over accuracy or vice versa. Instead, you should work on cutting down your speed, and ensuring that you are making accurate shots in the kill zone every time.  

#5 Get a Timer

Many professionals use a timer while practicing shooting drills. This is one of the best ways to measure the progress of your training. Once you have a base time, you can set a goal to improve your speed.   

While shot timers might be a little expensive, you can trust the accuracy. They are built to last, and it is one of the best ways to track your progress in the shooting world. They even have some new features that will sync with an app so you can track progress on your wireless devices.


There are several things that you can do to decrease your draw time, but most of them involve a commitment to practicing this vital skill. When you conceal and carry, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation, and it is important that you can get to your gun quickly. It may be the difference between life and death.  

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