Primary Blog/The 5 MOST COMMON Mistakes I See People Make on The Draw (And How to Solve them)

The 5 MOST COMMON Mistakes Made on The Draw (And How to Solve them)

Are you struggling with your draw?

Often the draw is one of the first gun handling skills that people start to train for, after they start having some success with their shooting fundamentals. Not only is the draw a potential life-saving skill, it is a fun and rewarding skill to practice and train. Achieving a draw that is capable of delivering an accurate shot in under 1s is a standard that many wish to attain!

Yet, it alludes a bunch of us from attainment. In my classes and online lessons, the draw is often a topic of conversation. It is not uncommon for students of mine to be faster in their draw then they have previously been, with just a little bit of training and guidance. Often several students hit their FIRST sub 1s draw in our class! There are several common mistakes people make when drawing a gun that hinders their progress, and this article will discuss them. This is a result of working with thousands of people over the years and observing them carefully. My experience is your shortcut, use it wisely!

Mistake # 1 – You’re not reacting IMMEDIATELY to the stimulus

For the purpose of training and/or competitive shooting, the “stimulus” is usually an auditory beep. However, the stimulus could be visual or something else depending on the situation. For instance, in a defensive encounter the stimulus could be an attacker charging at you, or going to draw a firearm of their own. In either event, you want to react to this FAST and without hesitation. Using the beep of a shot timer ( is one example of such timer) as an example, the length of the actual “start” beep is 0.3-0.4s long. Considering most human response time is around 0.2 or so, we should see people starting to move before the beep is completed. However, often times I see people reacting AFTER the beep is done. In this instance, you’ve already given several tenths of a second away for FREE. This is time someone else owns – don’t let that happen!

The Solution – Focus your attention on reacting to the “B” in “Beep”.
This will help you be ready to respond instantly.

To practice your reaction time, check out a recent Instagram post I made along with super helpful drills by
clicking here 

Mistake # 2 – Both hands are not moving at the same time

This could potentially slow you down AND result in bad hits or misses on target. What I typically see is that the FIRING hand moves quickly, but the SUPPORT hand is lazy and behind the curve. Some people don’t even move their support hand until the firing hand is bringing the gun to target! This causes the support hand to be on the gun late and usually disturb the gun some way as it starts to apply pressure, if that pressure is even ready at all. Usually because the support hand is late on the gun, this also causes a “grip check” issue that I will describe shortly.

The Solution – Both hands move IMMEDIATELY and in sync.

I typically recommend the support hand thumb portion of the palm touches right around the belly button. This allows the support hand to get on the gun immediately and start forming pressure quickly. If drawing from concealment, the support hand has to clear the garment to access the gun. As soon as the gun is accessed the support hand goes immediately to this spot. Take a look at the Instagram link above to see this in action as well.

Mistake #3 – Grip Check Before Shooting

You will see this most often when people start to shoot more than one shot at a target. I’ll see people run a draw at a good speed for ONE shot, but then when asked to deliver 2 or more shots to the same target, their draw is automatically 0.2-0.3s slower. Why? Because they are performing what I call a “grip check”. A grip check is when the person gets the gun on target and has everything they need to shoot EXCEPT their mind doesn’t know if they are ready to handle recoil. Their mind goes “Is my grip good enough to handle multiple shots?” If the answer is yes, then they shoot. That decision making process costs 0.2-0.3!!!

The Solution – Have your grip ready BEFORE the gun is even on target.

If you haven’t read the article on the “presentation process”, now is the time to check it out! By performing these steps as the gun goes out to target, I find that my grip is complete and ready to shoot full speed at about 50-60% of travel. At this point, all I’m waiting for is to see whatever I’ve chosen to see in terms of confirmation. Once it’s there, I fire without hesitation or delay. I call this “Predictable and Immediate”.

You can see this in action by clicking here 

Mistake #4 – Not moving fast enough

This would almost seem self-evident, but MANY people I’ve trained just don’t move fast enough! It’s common for people especially when a more difficult target is involved, they draw slower. They think by drawing slower they get more precision out of the draw. Totally FALSE! At a minimum, your draw speed should always remain the same. I do it slightly different however and will explain below.

The Solution – Simply speed up your hand speed.

Remember, this is like driving a car. There has to be an acceleration AND a deceleration to a relatively precise stopping point. The better your brakes (muscles and strength/coordination) and the driver (nerve connections through training), the further you can push at a higher speed and still stop precisely. Use something like a 80-90% push to a 10-20% “brake” to start and work from there.

Also, The HARDER the target, the FASTER I try to draw. The reasoning behind this is that the HARDER the target is, the more you will choose to see before you shoot anyway. So if the gun moves around a little more, you will be cleaning that up anyway. EASIER targets, I focus on REACTING FAST and getting the gun in two hands fast to allow a PREDICTABLE AND IMMEDIATE presentation!

Mistake #5 – Not giving yourself permission to fail AND/OR making the target too difficult to SUCCEED with

A lot of times in the shooting community we want ZERO misses. After all, we are liable and accountable for every round we send downrange right? While that is true and very important especially in the personal protection/tactical world, it doesn’t truly allow for the growth that NEEDS to happen through struggle and temporary failure. I spent a lot of time taking courses like this as a student, and while you will get somewhat proficient with this type of training, it won’t help you reach the upper echelon of performance. You NEED to bump up against struggles, challenges, and obstacles to grow. It is essential and necessary! Once you learn to embrace new problems as SUCCESS from previous ones, your growth can truly become limitless! This doesn’t mean there isn’t a time for TESTS – just that TRAINING and TESTS have a different rule set with which to abide by. TESTS are meant to show your performance under pressure and TRAINING is meant to challenge and stretch the limits. They are both necessary parts of a proper training program and used correctly and effectively they enhance real world performance!

The Solution

I usually start working with students at the 3 yd. with a piece of printer paper as the target (previously in class we have been shooting anything from a 3x5 to 1” dots) when we do our draw drill. This removes some of the inhibitions to drawing and/or shooting a shot quickly. We usually get the student down to a time that they’re “challenged” at. This means that they are consistently getting a quick time in relation to their skill level, but having some accuracy issues at this point. I observe while paying attention to the times and the hits. Usually there is some glaring obstacle related to the points above. When we start to solve for these variables we get better times AND get the hits to start to tighten up. This process continued after the class or through subsequent classes/training has a compounding affect that allows the student to keep progressing!

On the next range trip or dryfire session you intend to have, take a quick read on these and see if you can pick out on which (if any) you are doing! I think this will have a positive effect on your performance as you work these tips into your shooting (or drawing) toolbox!

I also have FREE video trainings available, one is a breakdown of the various types of draws, my hybrid method, as well as videos on presentation, finding the sights, reloads, speed, and more. You can check them out by clicking here

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to me! If you liked this article, please share with others and sign up for the newsletter! Thanks for taking your time out to read this.

Rob Epifania is a USPSA Grand Master competing since 2018 and has been teaching in the firearms community since 2012. He is constantly looking to improve himself, along with giving back to others as others have given to him.