The Covert Draw

Someone in my Patreon Subcompact Autoloader Tier asked the question,

“Could you offer some insight and technique to the surreptitious, covert, or stealth draw?”

That’s a question worth exploring because of the tradeoffs involved. As Thomas Sowell has said, everything involves comparisons and costs.

There are two aspects to the drawstroke; 1) Access and Grip and 2) Present to target. Access and Grip is the most time consuming part of the drawstroke but not the most difficult. Getting the gun well indexed on the target is the hardest part. Missing the first shot is far more common than not being able to get the gun out.

A covert draw facilitates Access and Grip but complicates Present. Once the draw is complete, the gun is positioned out of the path of your normal drawstroke. If shooting is required, the first shot might actually be slower if we Comstock a bad hit.

The gun is also probably pointing at your own body in the process. While holding it at a concealed Ready, you may have to engage in dialogue or movement and remember to not shoot yourself at the same time. Given the light triggers that many people favor, that’s an unpleasant prospect.

Even if the gun isn’t visible to a potential attacker, it may be noticeable to someone at a different angle. That person may not be a hostile. A covert draw could end up as an Aggravated Assault on an uninvolved party.

And if no shooting is required, a covert re-holstering will be necessary. Some deep concealment holsters can be difficult to re‑holster without making a big production out of it.

Being able to Access and Grip in a low profile way might be a more useful way of addressing the problem. With Access and Grip accomplished, if we get the ‘Go Signal,’ we have the most time consuming part of the drawstroke out of the way. We can then use our normal Presentation, at which we hopefully have many repetitions and can execute well.

Although the Covert Draw concept sounds appealing, the tradeoffs need to be considered. The costs may be found to outweigh any potential benefit.

6 responses

  1. davidpdouglass

    Good points all. I use this draw in order to activate my gun cam and microphone. The mic picks up normal volume levels at 25 feet and louder voices at 35 feet. Camera proves responsible muzzle control. And if a situation escalates both features will tell the truth if required. However one must be able to bring the sidearm to bear from the bladed stance. Re-holstering in most situations is easily mastered with adequate practice.

  2. A stealth draw while seated in the Waffle House booth in Ellijay GA has always occupied my mind en route to the elite Rogers Range @ 8 AM.

  3. Surprise and deception can be useful. If a threat suddenly appears directly in front of you, a standard approach might be to drop into a crouch, tense up and quickly pull up any clothes to access a pistol at 3:00 on the right hip. This actually raises an alarm to the threat, if you fumble with the draw you’re in danger. Another approach might be to take a strong step back while turning 90 degrees to place your pistol away from the threat. This might accomplish several things, you can then access your firearm at 3:00 which is out of sight of the threat, weapon retention is better farther away from the threat, you have more time to present, you create distance from the threat, also, it’s a common technique of muggers to divert your attention to the front while a 2ond mugger then attacks from behind, now as you have turned 90 degrees any threat behind will be known. And, you have the option to disengage and flee.

  4. Robert Margulies

    Respectfully IMO,


    div>Something to consider is rather than a covert draw, is an open hand first response with appropriate loud attenti

  5. When the situation is concerning enough to consider a ‘covert’ draw, it is likely time to find new geography. Leave.

    1. Yes. Don’t pay attention to the fantasists.

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