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JUNK SCIENCE: Turn And Draw

The turn and draw is a pretty standard start position for competitive shooting matches. Generally in a turn and draw, you’ll start facing up range, wrists above shoulders, and then on the buzzer you’ll turn then draw your pistol once it’s inside the 180*, and start engaging targets.

The conventional wisdom about the turn and draw is that you should always turn towards the gun, because the gun then has less movement to make to get on the target. I seemingly makes sense on the surface, but I’m skeptical that the movement of the gun is the important metric. 

So, here’s what I did: I went to the range, and setup my MGM 10″ Steel Challenge plate at about 13 yards. I wanted to be able to score the shooting hit/no hit, and I wanted to make sure that I actually had to use my sights a bit so I didn’t just get into the habit of draw-fire-ding without seeing my sights, and about 13 yards seemed to be the right distance for that.

Before I get into the data, here’s some of the things I heard about the turn and draw:

  • The gun get’s inside the 180* faster by turning one way over the other.
  • You’re less likely to break the 180* by turning towards the gun.
  • Less gun movement is better

So, if the gun is facing directly up range in the holster, it’s got to rotate more than 90* before it can come out of the holster, either direction.

After doing this a bunch, I’m not sure that the movement of the gun is the important metric to measure, because I can’t shoot until my eyes are on the target, and they’ve got to rotate 180* regardless.

So, here’s the data:

Conclusions:

So, after 212 turn and draws (because I’m bad at making spreadsheets) I concluded that I’m probably going to continue turning toward the gun, but that the direction that you turn doesn’t really make as big of a difference as people act like it does.

Average (mean) time for turning away from the gun: 1.49 seconds

Average (mean) time for turning towards the gun: 1.46 seconds

Keep in mind, I’ve practiced literally thousands of toward-the-gun turn and draws over the years, and I’ve done slightly more than 100 away from the gun, so I think it’s possible that that contributed to the 3% difference in the times between the two.

Plug of the Week:

I’ve got two plugs for other podcasts this week that I think you should listen to:

  • Ballistic Radio on “Big Boy Rules” and how some trainers go out of their way to make things more dangerous for their students because it somehow makes things better for learning? Yeah, it’s dumb, and it’s a mentality I see with competitors from time to time as well.
  • This episode of Down Range Radio with Michael Bane is excellent as well. He talks a lot about barriers to entry in the shooting sports, and why 3-gun seems to be stagnating, etc. Lots of good stuff here. (H/T Manuel)

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

5 comments

  1. The episode of Michael Bane’s show I don’t think is the right one. The one the link goes to talks about Ruger Mark V and FALs… Nothing about 3 gun that I heard.

  2. What you call “junk science” is more thoughtful and better tested than many “truths” that are widely accepted in the gun world.

  3. Vise before I shot my first match, how addicting it is and I can’t just go to the range anymore and shoot from the bench

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