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World Fast Draw Association

Fast Draw 101 with Howard Darby

The Fast Draw Resource Center

A Breakdown of a Fast Draw

Animation of a world record draw The world record for drawing and firing a single-action revolver using a 'traditional' style of draw in an Index contest in the 8' Standing Blank event was set during the 2000 Canadian Championships in Cochrane, Alberta by Howard Darby. It should be remembered that the time of 0.252 included a reaction time of approximately 0.145 before the actual draw was initiated. This shooter was using one of the many fanning styles of draw to accomplish this record.

Waiting for the light

0.000 - 0.145 seconds
Waiting for the light - In self testing, this shooter has determined that it takes him an average of 145/1000ths of a second to react to the light. Notice that the index finger on the gun hand is outside the trigger guard, but positioned to enter once the light comes on. This shooter utilizes the "slap-cocking" method. In this draw the gun is cocked by the fanning hand as the gun is being drawn from the holster. The index finger then pulls the trigger as the gun comes in line with the target.

Starting the draw

0.145 - 0.190 seconds
Starting the draw - The fanning hand has been raked across the hammer and is in the final stages of bringing it to full-cock. The gun hand has closed around the gun and is starting the draw.

Briging the gun in-line

0.191 - 0.240 seconds
Bringing the gun in-line - The gun is now fully-cocked and ready to fire. The wrist of the gun hand starts to pivot to bring the gun in-line with the target. The index finger is entering the trigger guard in preparation for pulling the trigger.


0.241 - 0.252 seconds
Firing - The trigger has been pulled, the hammer has fallen, detonating the shell and firing grains of black powder at the balloon target, which you can see as the blurred gray mass at the front of the flame in the picture at left. As the balloon breaks it releases a micro-switch causing the clock to stop.

Animation of a world record draw

0.252 seconds
A New World Record! Remember, this time includes a reaction time of approximately 0.145 of a second. This means that the actual draw time was 0.107 seconds!!

Note: A shot that sets a new world record time must be backed-up by another shot in the same round of shooting that is within three hundredth of a second of that new record, otherwise the shot is ruled an anticipation of the light.

Other Fanning Styles - The style demonstrated above is one of the fastest fanning styles used in Fast Draw, but is by no means the only one. The "up fan" is a style where the shooter brings the gun straight up from the holster. Optimally the shooter locks the gun in place about ten to twelve inches above the holster boot, then fans off the shot just as the gun come in line with the target. Normally in this draw the shooter's index finger pulls the trigger as soon as the gun hand contacts the gun, then the hammer is fanned when the the gun comes in line with the target. This draw is slightly slower than the "slap cock" style due to the extra distance the gun must travel. The "ram fan" is a style where the gun is rammed towards the target and the fanning hand contacts the hammer during the forward motion of the gun. The hand is often positioned out front of the shooter, about where the gun and hand would meet. Again, this draw is slower than either of the other two styles due to the extra travel time of the gun. When a "ram fan" has an excessive forward motion (often firing the gun with arm extended fully forward) it is called a "poke fan".

Lastly, there is a fanning style called the "twist fan". Unlike the draws mentioned above, this can only be used in an Open style contest (please see the classification page for more details). During the twist fan the gun is normally placed in the holster laying on its side, or at least on an angle. During the drawing of the gun the wrist twists to turn the gun even further on its side, while the hip is twisted to move the holster boot out from under the gun. During this draw the gun literally pops out of the holster. The fanning hand is cocking the hammer while the gun is being drawn. Normally this draw is so fast that the trigger can be pulled as soon as the hand comes in contact with the gun, and the hammer can be cocked as fast as the other hand can fan it (no delay of the trigger finger or fanning hand is required). The twist fan is the fastest method of drawing and firing a single-action revolver, but is not utilized very much since most contest are Traditional style.

View the break down of a Thumbing draw

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