Shoot Like Bass Reeves: Mastering the Press Out

 

This photo depicting the draw stroke in slow motion is from Handgunsmag.com
This photo depicting the draw stroke in slow motion is from Handgunsmag.com

I learned the draw stroke in four totally distinct parts. Four. Totally. Separate. Components. Which, when practiced enough, turn into something seamless and effective.

There will be video about the science of the draw stroke below, for those who want to see what I’m talking about. In fact, when I’m done watching this, I’ll probably review it a couple of times myself.

Why four? At the time I was learning it, I assumed it was due to some kind of instructional overkill. When you are talking about things that can turn lethal pretty quickly, sloppiness isn’t acceptable. For example, I once pulled the trigger during the second portion of the draw stroke as I practiced dry firing. I didn’t want to pull the trigger. I didn’t even know that I was pulling the trigger. But that click was unmistakable. So I slowed down and focused on that portion of the drill, making absolutely sure that my finger was nowhere near the trigger.

There is another, very practical reason it’s broken into four steps. A couple of weeks ago Sam Hayes and I began working on a drill that involved draw and fire. Mid way through he said that I could get faster if I acquired my grip (step one) more quickly. Then he said, “Let’s work on the press out.”

The press out. Step four. When you extend your firearm towards the target. Under most circumstances, this would be followed by a bang.

He told me that I need to train my trigger finger to take up the slack in the trigger, so that by the time my arms are fully extended, my finger only has the crisp break to overcome. It might not sound like much, and it isn’t. Just fractions of a second difference. But that can make a biiiig difference in a gunfight. Not only that, but it adds to accuracy. Any movement that you can take out of the equation is going to help your pistol stay trained on target.

He told me to go home and practice this. Start at the fourth stage of the draw stroke, and extend slowly as I take up the slack in the trigger so that, by the gun is fully extended, all of the trigger slack is gone. Isolate this action until it feels natural.

Still practicing, by the way, and it still doesn’t feel natural. But I’m working on it.

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