I teach one technique to draw the handgun. Within this technique are variations. For example you may be drawing from an open holster, or concealed, while sitting or -- due to an injury -- using only one hand to shoot. There are a variety of other techniques that different people teach. But, once the pistol is in hand, there are only three places it should go. You're either drawing to a "retention" position, the "low ready" – where it could be fired if necessary - or onto the target, extending the arms and weapon out in a normal position to engage the target.
Shootrite teaches a four-stop draw, or presentation. Step I is "grip and slap." (When carrying concealed, Step I includes clearing your cover garments.) Your firing hand acquires the proper firing grip on the pistol. The support hand goes to the center of the body, where it's ready to acquire a two-handed grip on the pistol. It can also be used to shove or push the threat back, and it's not hanging out there where the threat can grab it to take physical control of you. Most importantly it's out of the way so you could fire from retention - Step II of the draw – without risking shooting yourself in the support hand/arm.
On Step II the pistol is drawn from the holster, and the first place it goes after leaving the holster is into the retention position. The retention position is used to fire from when the threat is danger close, so close that if you extended it out in front of you they could grab it. (Usually they follow this by shooting you with it.) Remember most confrontations occur at very short range, and retention may be where you have to start firing. The pistol is held in tight against the body. It's chest high on you, which puts it chest high – give or take - on the threat standing right in front of you. The pistol is at the side of the body, right below the pectoral muscle, and tilting outboard so the slide can operate without hitting your body or clothing and creating a stoppage. You can fire from here and put accurate hits on target, again because the distance is so close.
In Step III you take the pistol to the center of the chest/body where the support hand is waiting to get a two-handed grip.
Step IV is where you have an option. The pistol can be extended out in front of the body into a low ready position. In low ready the muzzle is pointing down, at a safe angle and where you can keep your eyes on what needs to be seen. Remember Safety Rule II: Never point the muzzle at anything you're not ready to destroy.
So if I had a potential threat, but I haven't decided they need to be shot, I'm not going to aim my weapon at them. I also want to see their body so I can identify threatening movement, like prepping the feet to attack, and see the hands, which might be holding a weapon. If necessary it's a short distance from there onto the target, especially if you're going to make a pelvis shot. This is also the position you use to perform Administrative manipulations – loading, unloading or checking the status of the weapon. Or, on Step IV, you're punching the pistol out, acquiring a sight picture to place good accurate hits on target.
Once the pistol comes out of the holster there are three acceptable places for it to go. The threat is danger close. The pistol goes to the retention position. You have to manipulate the pistol to load or unload. It goes to the low ready. Or, you have a possible threat and need to pistol in hand ready to fire. Again, low ready. The third option is to put it on target in order to get some hits. Drawing the pistol is a serious matter. Make sure you understand how to perform these actions safely and efficiently. Regardless of where the pistol goes keep in mind you'll have to justify why you did what you did. Study hard, and practice well.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html