The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Monday Morning Gomez: Overview of the Drawstroke

At RECOIL, we review every product fairly and without bias. Making a purchase through one of our links may earn us a small commission, and helps support independent gun reviews. Learn More

Last week we featured Paul Gomez on the Importance of the Full Firing Grip. Today we'll hear what he had to say about the Drawstroke; again, I've taken the liberty of editing slightly for written format.

An Overview of the Drawstroke – Paul Gomez

We're going to put the drawstroke into historical context. We're going to look at the drawstroke as taught at API (the American Pistol Institute) at Gunsite, the original private sector training school of the United States, and more recent variations; the way drawstroke is taught these days and the way I teach drawstroke in particular. The drawstroke as taught at Gunsite originally was a five count maneuver; GripClearClick, Smack, UpLook-Press. 

  • First, the support hand com down to the belt buckle level, fingertips pointing forward while the other hand acquired a full grip on the holstered gun. That was identified as grip.
  • Following grip you add clear, which was the muzzle of the gun clearing the holster. At that point the shooter began advancing the gun to the support hand.
  • The shooter would then click. Remember most of the training was being done with the 1911 pistol at the time; the click was the safety going off, so you would draw, clearclick – safety going off – then smack.
  • Smack was the gun hand being driven to the support hand in a low ready position. This would develop the isometric tension that was part of the Weaver platform (Weaver grip and stance).
  • Last was look. You would come up, look at the front sight and press the trigger.

Paul Gomez evolution of the drawstroke 2

This drawstroke has the gun coming away from the body, driven to the low ready and then raised to the target. The issue I have with this is that the gun has to come off the body and lift up – you have to have space to do this, and from a weapon retention perspective, if you're physically fighting over the gun, you have less control of the pistol than you do if the weapon is closer to the body.

There are a number of people who still use that drawstroke or some small variation of it.

Starting in the late 80s and early 90s you began to see variations where the gun was not being driven down to the low ready, the gun was being lifted up the body. This is what we now refer to as the four count drawstroke. It is a more linear, ‘up and out' drawstroke. As it was first taught by guys coming out of the modern technique background, still using the Weaver stance, the gun would be driven up the body, pointed forward at what is now count two of drawstroke, the support hand would come across to the gun [at approximately armpit level] so the shooter had both hands on the pistol. It would be driven forward from there.

Again with the Weaver Stance you have that isometric tension, a push-pull tension between the hands. The gun arm was locked straight out or slightly flexed and the support hand was pronouncedly bent. So, when the shooter was driving out to target from there it made sense to orient the gun at the body, at count two, and drive forward.

Paul Gomez evolution of the drawstroke 3

Subsequently there was as shift towards what is known now as the Modern Isosceles, which is a more symmetrical firing structure. As this shift was made, that four count draw stroke made less and less sense because of the way that presentation puts the gun in front of the dominant eye. No matter where it starts or how it gets there, if you're shooting from extension at eye level, that drawstroke ends with the gun in front of the eye you were using on the sights; your primary eye.

Presenting the weapon from high on the body, armpit level, establishing a two-hand grip and then pushing the gun out and moving it to get in line with the is not terribly efficient. A more efficient path of motion is to move the gun across the torso, to put it in line with the dominant eye and push it forward from there.

Paul Gomez evolution of the drawstroke 4

Paul Gomez evolution of the drawstroke 5

Those are some variations on the original drawstroke from Gunsite and some later variations.


Photo credits unknown – used here with respect.

The late Paul Gomez 2Though the GTI YouTube channel has not been updated in years it is well worth reviewing (there's a reason it's called Gun Training for Thinkers). You can do that here. To continue in the tradition of thinking and learning the late Paul Gomez espoused (and to help support his children) you should consider checking out Paul-E-Palooza. 2015's event will the 3rd iteration of the memorial training benefit; it will be held near Garrettsville, OH August 15th and 16th. You can rest assured any money spent to get there and participate will be well worth the expense – instructors and attendees alike will be a wish list of industry professionals. You can read an AAR of last year's Paul-E-Palooza right here.

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free