Smooth Out & Speed Up Your Drawstroke

 

Ox here again with a video and article on an incredibly high octane drill that will do more to speed up your drawstroke in less time than any other drill I know of.

I originally shot this video 3 years ago.  It’s received more than half a million views and is one of the more controversial videos I’ve made.

Why’s it controversial?

Because a lot of shooters think that the only way to get faster at shooting is to move faster.

Modern sports science and neuroscience tells a different story.  The speed that you move in practice isn’t nearly as important as how consistently and efficiently you move in practice.  This is the case for throwing a discus, running, or shooting a pistol.

One of the most important things that you can do as a pistol shooter, whether it’s for concealed carry, open carry, or competition, is to get an accurate shot on target as quickly as possible…just spitting out bullets fast doesn’t matter.  It’s HITTING fast that counts.

Ironically, the best way to get fast and smooth is to start by getting S L O W and choppy.

There’s a scene in “Forest Gump” where he’s got his leg braces on and is trying to run away from some bullies on bikes. He’s slow, clunky, and awkward, but his braces start to fall off and his stride smooths out and speeds up until he’s running faster than the bullies on the bikes.

It’s similar to martial arts Katas or forms. Students learn how to smoothly and quickly execute complex movements by starting out slow and choppy and focusing on the individual component parts. As they master the component chunks, they begin to blend the chunks together and speed up.

This is a proven learning technique, but for some reason it’s not used in firearms training. Maybe because it doesn’t look cool.  Top shooters, like world champion shooter, Max Michel, use slow practice, but what does he know compared to all the ninjas on You Tube and Facebook?

We’re going to do our part to help a few more people start using slow training by breaking down the drawstroke into it’s component parts and practicing them in time with a metronome.

Specifically, I want you to practice an 8 count drawstroke in time to a metronome set to 60 (or fewer beats per minute).  There’s no magic about the number of steps I’m using or the specific 8 steps.  It’s simply a way to break up the drawstroke so you can do one step per beat.

I’ll demonstrate what I’m asking you to do in a sec, but here are the 8 steps.

Set the metronome to 60 (one beep every second) and progress through each of the following steps each time you hear a beep:

0. hands to your side
1. grab the grip of your gun
2. Clear the holster
3. Rock the gun towards the target
4. Grab your gun with your support hand
5. Raise your gun so it’s 8-12″ from your face with the sights lined up on your target and your finger on the trigger
6. With your sights aligned on target, press the trigger
7. Extend the pistol half way to full extension and, with your sights aligned on target, press the trigger again.
8. Extend the pistol to full extension and, with your sights aligned on target, press the trigger again.

Here’s a video demonstrating the process with both dry fire and live fire:

(One of the most common comments on this video is that my thumb riding on the slide will keep the gun from cycling.  That may be a problem with some finicky guns, but it’s never caused a problem for me or anyone I’ve seen using a reliable gun.  That being said, I’ve changed my support grip since then and it’s rotated forward further to act like more of a jig during recoil management.)

Optional steps:
9.    Bring your gun back to 8-12″ in front of your face with your trigger finger straight, stiff, and rigid along the frame and your sights still aligned on the target
10.   Hold in this position for a 5-10 count to scan and assess
11.    Drop your gun down to belly level, still pointed at the target and put your support hand flat against your belly
12.    Rock your gun back down over the holster
13.    Reholster
14.    Hands to your side

This is an example of the kind of brain based training that we use with Dry Fire Training Cards and 21 Day Alpha Shooter to get faster, better jumps in performance than what’s possible when you only do live fire training or traditional dry fire training.  You can learn more about this advanced training method that works for shooters of all ability levels when you click >HERE<

Here’s the big takeaway:

Using the metronome for these drills will break them up into discrete parts so that your mind will be able to work on small chunks of the drawstroke instead of the entire drawstroke at one time.

When you go fast, you may be aware of the beginning and the end, but everything in the middle will be a blur and on autopilot.

Using the metronome at a S L O W cadence will force you to focus on the individual components of the drawstroke and allow you time to self-correct.  The time spent doing this drill slowly will have a LOT more leverage than the time that you spend doing it quickly, so don’t be in a hurry to speed up.

At first, this drill will make you choppy, but if you are disciplined, it will help you develop incredibly precise neural pathways that you can execute subconsciously. Once you can do it perfectly at a given cadence EFFORTLESSLY 20 times in a row, speed it up.

As you speed up, you’ll be forced/encouraged to eliminate wasted movement. When you use a metronome in this manner, efficiency is rewarded and waste is punished.

As you speed up a little more, the choppiness will go away and the entire drawstroke will become as smooth as silk.  Your 8 (or 14) step drawstroke will transform into a 1, 2, or 3 step drawstroke that is fluid, precise, and effortless.

As famed instructor, John Farnam says, “Round off the edges, and eliminate the seams.”

That’s exactly what we’re doing here.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Share them by commenting below.

And, if you’re on Facebook, I’d love it if you could click the “share” or “Like” button below…the video’s the same as the one above:

8 Comments

  • JJM

    Reply Reply October 17, 2014

    Like it. Will also employ similar training in long gun use.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply October 17, 2014

      Thanks, JJM. Let me know what you come up with.

  • Mark Mccall

    Reply Reply October 17, 2014

    Looks like a good way to practice. I will start working on that. Thanks.

  • Bill Gioia

    Reply Reply October 20, 2014

    Excellent Thanks so much going to incorporate this training now.

  • Dr. Mark Brinkley

    Reply Reply November 3, 2014

    Just like playing a guitar. Slow and precise practice turns into fast and precise music.

  • Richard Nations

    Reply Reply January 3, 2015

    Love the training. I am a total novice but have a desire to become a trained shooter.

  • sean a. maney

    Reply Reply January 19, 2015

    great training resources…freedom today freedom tmorrow freedom forever!!!!!!

  • Herman

    Reply Reply July 14, 2017

    Fantastic training exercise. I am going to give this a whirl and time/score myself in two weeks. Keep up the good work.

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