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The Sub-Second Draw

Ever heard the Rule of Three? "Most gunfights happen at three yards, using three rounds, in under three seconds." I have, but I have no idea who started it or where they're getting their intel. If you look at actual stats from the FBI’s LEOKA (Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted), or stats from other law enforcement, the numbers vary widely across the board. The stats for civilian gunfights are even more sporadic and harder to come by. So, I'm going to give you some practical advice on why the sub-second draw is handy to have in your arsenal—t​his is practical tactical training, after all.

What do I mean by a sub-second draw? For the purpose of this post, it's being able to draw from some sort of stimuli, gain a sight picture, and hit a target from seven yards in under a second. This isn't some magic benchmark based on catchy rules or made-up stats. It's just a benchmark I think will serve me well in a variety of scenarios.

Scenario One: The Up-close Attacker

I'm talking less than three yards. Chances are a grown man can close this distance in a couple seconds—under a second, if he's sporty, or possibly geared up on speed. Some "experts" say at this distance, you don't really need to use your sights. I think that depends on your gun handling skills. I've seen people miss a shot at this distance while trying to use their sights. But since I can do what I just defined as a sub-second draw, that means my index is spot on, I'm not yanking my shots, and I'm most likely going to hit my target without a sight picture.

Scenario Two: The Mid-distance Attacker

Five to seven yards. At this distance, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking a shot without getting a sight picture, especially if I wasn't the only person in the room. For example, I'm out to eat, and someone comes in waving a gun yelling for everyone to empty their pockets (sadly, this actually happens). I'm afraid for my life, but in a room full of people. I one hundred percent would NOT take that shot without a sight picture, but I'd need to be able to do it faster than he could shoot me or anybody else. Odds are, with a seven yard sub-second draw, I can make that happen.

Scenario Three: The Long-range Attacker

Over ten yards. I'm probably not going to take this shot and claim self-defense. Unless someone was shooting at me and there was no close cover. The more likely scenario would be someone shooting at someone else, and I take the shot. With a sub-second draw at seven yards, I'm most likely going to be able to take this shot relatively close to a second. Of course, the farther the distance goes out, the longer that shot's going to take.

So, that's why I landed on this benchmark. If I can do a seven yard sub-second draw consistently, I should be able to outshoot most people, in most scenarios, when it counts.

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