(This post was written in Feb of 2007 right after I went to Front Sight for the Four Day Defensive Handgun course and never posted.)
One of the things you learn at Front Sight is to draw from concealment. Which is good because most of the civilians getting the training are doing it because they have CHL/CCWs. I’ve been carrying a gun for over 5 years and have never really learned how to draw it from concealment before. I cringe now to think what would have happened if I’d tried to draw from under my sweater using the method I’d thought of using.

We did a lot of shooting and most of it was from the holster. We didn’t learn to do it from concealment till day three, but after that, we did most of the time. The end of class test was from concealment, under time pressure.

I learned a couple of things relevant to my carry from practicing for the test. First drawing from under a closed front garment is much slower than from an open front garment. I wanted to take the test like I carry and mostly I carry under a sweater in the winter and a untucked shirt in the summer. But even using the correct methodology it was slower to draw this way. Part of it is because there is an extra step. While open front has a step one that flips the garment back, it isn’t much different than not having the garment there. With a closed front you have to life the garment out of the way with both hands, which is an extra step before getting a grip on the weapon.

I’ve also discovered since I’ve been back that I sometimes have both. I’ll wear a jacket over my sweater over my gun. There is no fast draw from this. I have to flip back the jacket, trap it, then get both hands on the sweater and lift it. Sometimes I’ll actually lift the sweater over the gun when I go outside so I only have the jacket to move.

On further thought the best method might be to use the closed front draw when wearing both. It should work, the grabbing motion would get both garments and let you get a grip on the gun. You’d have more to hold out of the way with your support hand, but you could keep it all out of your way while you draw.

The important take away for all my CHL readers is to dry-practice drawing how you carry.