One-Handed Or Two-Handed Draw? Which Is More Realistic?

One-Handed Or Two-Handed Draw? Which Is More Realistic?

Here’s a question to ponder for your training: one-handed or two-handed draw?

As we know, you should train like you’re going to fight. In most concealed carry/self-defense shooting classes, a lot of instructors teach a two-handed draw. This is especially relevant in today’s appendix-carry-heavy era.

But should you potentially be trying to use only the strong hand?

The Two-Handed Draw

There are many different variations on a two-handed draw, but essentially they all boil down to the same idea:

  • The support hand grabs the fabric of the cover garment and pulls it off the gun until you gain sufficient clearance.
  • The shooting hand acquires a grip and draws the pistol.
  • The support hand drops the cover garment and moves into a two-handed firing grip.
  • Presentation.
  • Sight picture.
  • Pew.

Most of us have either seen it being taught or had it taught in the courses we’ve taken; it’s fairly standard across the industry, and it definitely works. Some very high-profile instructors, who are vastly more knowledgeable and skilled than me, teach a two-handed draw technique. I would never second guess Ken Hackathorn, John Lovell, James Yeager, Clint Smith, or a number of other personalities I could name, who do so.

Granted, I am better-looking and can play more musical instruments than they can, but I have to defer to those more knowledgeable and more skilled than myself.

A One-Handed Draw Might Be More Realistic

While the two-handed draw is obviously the classically taught technique, it has some limitations in the light of real-world civilian-involved defensive shootings. Again, the idea is to train how you’ll fight, and you want to train to fight in the most realistic way possible.

Most defensive shootings involving civilians occur at or just outside of arm’s reach. It’s entirely possible that you’ll have to fend your attacker off BEFORE you draw your pistol. You may have to hold them at bay to be able to get the gun into the fight. Your assailant may be close enough to interfere by grabbing one or both of your arms.

Your hand may even be occupied. You may be holding your groceries or other shopping bags, or holding your child or grandchild as you’re walking to…wherever.

Prepare for the Worst

Does every civilian-involved shooting happen that way? No, but a lot of them do. So it is definitely a contingency you need to be aware of and be prepared for.

Think of it kind of like learning combatives or martial arts. Do you want to practice a highly formalized and unrealistic style of fighting? Or do you want to learn what’s known to be effective? Aikido looks devastating, but aikidoka don’t win UFC titles, and you don’t hear about anyone putting a perfect shiho nage on an armed robber.

You DO occasionally find a news article about a mugger or burglar getting on the wrong side of an elderly former boxer. One famous instance involved two muggers that tried to blindside an elderly man on a New York City sidewalk in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, their intended victim was former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, who knocked both of them out cold.

So which one is it?

There’s no wrong answer here; the two-handed technique is taught by many instructors who not only know what they’re doing but have actually done it on a two-way firing range. The one-handed technique is not generally taught to students in many courses but, given the manner in which many defensive shootings occur, it appears to be a more realistic method given that.

So which do you use in your dry-fire practice and range practice? Let us know!

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