The skill of firing accurate rounds into a threat from retention is an underappreciated and under-practiced skill. Shooting from retention at close ranges can help ensure a threat is unable to gain control of your firearm during an altercation at contact distances. In addition, shooting from retention can help to reduce the likelihood of malfunctions caused by interaction between the threat and the firearm, or even due to the increased support the shooter is able to provide the gun while firing.
Including retention as a part of the draw stroke can be one of the most important aspects of developing the skill of shooting from retention. In addition, having retention as part of the draw stroke ensures that the shooter will have the ability to shoot from retention if the need arises.
• The shooter will increase the ability to place rounds into the high center chest of a threat at reasonable distances.
• The shooter will develop a realistic confidence in their ability to place rounds into the high center chest at various distances.
Setup: Shooting From Retention
Target: 8.5×11” paper with a 6” circle
Distance: Varies—begin at arm’s length from the target.
Number of Rounds: Varies—multiple rounds. Continue to meet objectives.
Start Signal: Use a start signal of your choice.
Conducting The Drill
1) Position yourself within reach of the target. On the start signal, draw the gun from the holster to retention and fire two rounds into the black circle. Create distance, drive the gun to full extension as terrain allows, and continue to assess. Make necessary adjustments to your retention position and then recover to the holster. Close the distance to the target and repeat until you are able to place 100% of the rounds into the circle.
2) Position yourself within reach of the target and then take one step away. On the start signal, draw the gun from the holster to retention and fire two rounds into the black circle. Create distance, drive the gun to full extension as terrain allows, and continue to assess. Make necessary adjustments to your retention position and then recover to the holster. Close the distance to the target and repeat until you are able to place 100% of the rounds into the circle.
3) Continue to walk the drill back until you are unable to refine your retention position to achieve the 100% hits.
4) Step back toward the target and repeat the drill until you place 100% of the shots into the circle.
Important Notes On the Retention Position
In a proper retention position, the elbow and shoulder blade should be drawn fully to the rear with a significant amount of tension. Adjustment of your retention position (or aiming) is achieved with the elbow. To control elevation, move the elbow up or down. To control windage, move the elbow right or left.
Your gun should be canted slightly outboard to help ensure the slide can travel freely when fired. It is important to ensure that your support hand comes to a high index next to the face. In real life and on the range, this ensures the hand is away from the muzzle, preventing self-injury. In a critical incident, the high index of the hand provides the ability to defend and protect the head from an attack. Text by Joe Weyer and
Illustrations by Charles “Chip” Lasky
About the Author
Joe Weyer created Weyer Tactical after years of law enforcement and military experience. He began his career serving in a Special Operations unit in the Army in the late 1980s. He had a strong desire to bring his knowledge and experience from the military to the public, so he became a police officer with Alliance Police Department and received training from some of the best instructors in the United States and abroad. Operationally, Weyer has participated in and led more than 300 critical operations, from protective details to high-risk warrants to barricades. He is a state-certified firearms instructor in multiple weapon platforms, certified instructor through Homeland Security in several counter-terrorism topics, and an NRA certified instructor. He has taught hundreds of military personnel, police officers (both domestic and foreign), and qualified citizens in various use-of-force disciplines ranging from basic and advanced handgun to carbine and shotgun. In addition to being a full time police officer, Joe Weyer is team commander of the city’s Special Response Team, Region 5 Training Coordinator for the OTOA, and the owner of Weyer Tactical.