Outside of situational awareness, which allows the opportunity of avoidance, the most important factor of using a gun for self defense is presentation. If you want to defend yourself, you have to get it out and present it to the attacker; many also call this the draw.

One of the men who helped perfect the standard motions of the draw also founded Gunsite Academy. In fact, one of the most famous names in the self-defense world is Col. Jeff Cooper. He developed the Modern Technique of the Pistol. This technique included stance, sight picture and more, along with presentation or draw. Most instructors today follow some version of Cooper’s style, though many have modified to some degree.

Gunsite Instructor Charlie McNeese has taught at the academy for many years. So, he knows a few things about performing the proper presentation, as well as safety, sight picture and defensive mindset, all of which factors into the art of self defense.

In the video above, McNeese explains the five steps of presentation to former National Shooting Sports Foundation President Doug Painter. The video is a few years old, but proper presentation hasn’t changed, regardless of where the gun resides.

Charlie McNeese Presentation

Following Cooper’s Modern Technique, proper presentation consists of five motions. These consist of grip, clear, click or rotate, smack and look. And everything starts with the grip.

  • During the grip, shooters move both the firing hand and support hand as one. The firing hand goes to the gun to obtain a firing grip, while the support hand presses against the stomach.
  • To clear, shooters bring the gun straight up to clear the holster.
  • Click refers to 1911 pistols, where shooters must click off the safety as they rotate the gun toward the target. This is why some call this rotate, as today many guns don’t have manual safeties. This is also the retention position for engaging in close combat, as shooters can fire in this position.
  • Smack is when the hands come together into the full firing grip; they smack together right in front of the chest. This is also when the finger touches the trigger.
  • Look refers to the eyes looking for the front sight, as the finger is beginning the press, so that as the sight picture is obtained, the gun fires.

Presentation is one of many factors to self defense with a gun, as accuracy and a fighting mindset are also necessary. However, good situational awareness can prevent the need of presenting a gun to an attacker.

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