The Purpose of the Positions
Each of the foregoing steps is a shooting position in and of itself as well as a method of moving and/or searching with the pistol. As soon as the pistol muzzle clears the top edge of the holster, you are in CQB chest-tuck position and able to shoot. If the threat is right on top of you or you are struggling with a suspect that suddenly presents a deadly threat, the off-hand or forearm can be used as in Tony Blauer's S.P.E.A.R. System, Henk Iverson's Shield position or an old football shiver technique.
When the hands meet at position three, you are in a solid two-hand hold that can be used to accurately fire at close range threats. This low ready position can be held for extended periods of time and due to being close to body center is very secure.
A two hand isosceles position at eye level with the admonition to "shoot through the pistol" is preferable to one handed shooting at the hip. Although one handed shooting must sometimes be made, it should be done at eye level. The Fairbairn "three-quarter hip" one-handed position is being pushed by some instructors, but is extremely inaccurate as compared to the Applegate-style eye level shooting position. At the ILEETA conference in Chicago this year, I had a conversation with Applegate proponent Sgt. Mike Conti from the Massachusetts State Police, and author of the excellent new book Police Pistolcraft. I asked Sgt. Conti his feelings about the hip and three-quarter hip positions. Mike believes, as I do, that if you physically have enough room, you should bring the pistol to eye level because of the vast improvement in hit probability. For instance, I recently ran six shooters who had been trained in the Fairbairn method, through force-on-force with airsoft. All six shooters missed four to five rounds while shooting at me from a distance of six to eight feet. All errant rounds went to the shooter's right and low. Only when the shooters brought the pistol up to eye level did they score hits on their adversary (me). This eye-level shooting has been scientifically studied and verified. Recently Dr. Lewinski of Force Science, Ron Avery of the Practical Shooting Academy, and Randy Revling and others from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College conducted a naïve shooter study where non-law enforcement personnel with little to no shooting training were tested. According to Randy Revling, in excess of 99% of the shooters instinctively brought the pistol to eye level and were capable of amazing accuracy (headshots) at close range.
A consistent draw places the pistol on target with a concept that Col. Jeff Cooper meant when he said, "The body aims and the eyes verify." The whole package of the draw from placing the hand on the pistol in the holster to eye level two- or one-handed shooting, forms a system that can be performed under life threatening stress and delivers the maximum accuracy potential based on hand/eye coordination. So unload your pistol, double check its empty status, and practice. Daily practice draws will quickly develop the skill you'll need on the street to save your life. Then when confronted with a deadly threat, the pistol will be in your hand and up on target without conscious thought. That's the purpose of the draw and your practice will allow you to save your life!