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'Three Quartering', How To Move With AND Get Around The Gun!

Posted 11-13-2012 at 03:31 by Arc Angel
Updated 03-13-2013 at 10:39 by Arc Angel

:) ‘Three Quartering’ … It usually starts with the gun side shoulder being turned away from an undesirable object of your attention. Good guys do this in order to protect or, sometimes, to conceal their pistol. Bad guys do this in order to, both, conceal their pistol, and - when the moment is right - to cover their draw.

The classic way to three quarter is to take one step to the rear on the gun side and, then, pull the weapon. The alternative is to keep the feet more or less stationary, and just twist the shoulders. Either way this move will help to keep your pistol out of the other guy's reach and, possibly, cover the beginning of your draw.

Awhile ago I was watching one of these reality, 'murder and mayhem' shows on television when I saw a robber, ever so casually, make a 90 degree turn while (ostensibly) walking away from the targeted subject. He was smooth! At the end of a, 'fading arc' of travel, the bad guy suddenly reached into a baggy pants pocket, quickly drew a revolver, and unloaded 5 rounds at his fumbling, and grossly unprepared, CQB target!

His target was a Florida jeweler; and this jeweler was [COLOR="Red"][B]UNPREPARED IN EVERY SENSE[/B][/COLOR] of the word! Even though the jeweler had his own gun, he was still hit four times in the torso [COLOR="Red"][B]BEFORE[/B][/COLOR] he was able to fire so much as a single shot!

‘Why?’ you might ask was this jeweler not better able to defend himself? He was, after all, armed with a recently purchased, 8 shot, Walther PPK-S pistol. The answer is simple: The jeweler had a new pistol; he was, also, in C-1; but, thereafter, he only wore that pistol, 'for show' as if it were some sort of a personal, 'security blanket'.

His critical mistakes were numerous! Outstanding among them was the fact that the jeweler failed to put, at least, 300 rounds through his new pistol in order to, 'verify' (break-in) both himself and his new pistol.

Consequently, when the, 'pregnant moment' arrived and a bad guy pulled out his gun with obvious murderous intent, this unfortunate man immediately went into an incorrect, '[COLOR="red"][B]FEAR RESPONSE[/B][/COLOR]' rather than the correct, '[COLOR="red"][B]ANGER RESPONSE[/B][/COLOR]'. Sadly, this jeweler proved himself to be completely unprepared: [COLOR="Red"][B]TACTICALLY[/B][/COLOR], [COLOR="red"][B]PHYSICALLY[/B][/COLOR], [COLOR="red"][B]MENTALLY[/B][/COLOR], and [COLOR="red"][B]EMOTIONALLY[/B][/COLOR] in order to adequately defend himself. As the gunfight opened up this unfortunate jeweler didn’t know:

(1) Whether or not he was holding a reliable handgun? The fact is that he proved to be grossly unfamiliar with his chosen pistol. :freak:

(2) How to draw his handgun smoothly, handle it with acceptable speed and assurance; or, even, whether or not he could shoot it reasonably straight?

(3) Pistolcraft fundamentals like: proper grip, trigger manipulation, and watching the front sight! This jeweler didn't even know how to take his new pistol’s safety off in order to fire the gun; and, not to be overlooked:

(4) During this event the jeweler was severely, 'undergunned' and had chosen to carry a pistol of secondary caliber as a primary weapon of self-defense! :headscratch:

And EDC pistol is [COLOR="Red"][B]NOT[/B][/COLOR] a, 'security blanket' for badly frightened people to attempt to grasp or hide behind the moment danger threatens to, 'invade their world'. If you're not well practiced, intimately familiar, and well prepared to defend yourself with your EDC pistol then, as far as I’m concerned,


It's a fact that many armed bad guys prefer to begin a gunfight by attempting to cover their draw. Some things to watch out for: A jacket or shirt that is open about the waist. I’m particularly leery of the, ‘layered look’ that is so popular on the street, right now.

A slightly oversized 'Hoodie' sweatshirt, baggy pants, and a, 'felony-carried' pistol are absolutely perfect to conceal a bad guy's draw. If the subject should lean forward to look at, say, jewelry or a gun in a display case, then, his hands are already at his waist; and when he straightens up, voilà, there’s the muzzle pointing straight at you!

There are warning signs, though: Anytime someone acts as though his attention is equally divided between what he’s supposed to be doing, (or looking at) and starts to make too frequent (often ostensibly nonchalant) sideways glances, then, you should become especially alert! Remember, anyone who tends to look around his environment instead of at whatever else he's supposed to be doing, isn't 'playing it straight' with you. So, whenever you’re looking at someone who:

(1) Seems oddly distracted,

(2) Isn’t paying attention in quite the way that he should,

(3) Seems to be catching only, ‘every other word’, or

(4) Just ain’t got a genuine, 'interactive attitude' about him – THAT is the time to start watching his hands and shoulders.

(Shoulders, by the way, tell a lot! Tight shoulders and a stiff neck are often the first indicators of stress in another human being!) ;)

If an actor takes that slight turn away and the far shoulder moves, you need to stop whatever else you’re doing and prepare to,


Many people say it’s, ‘in the eyes’. In my experience, however, this is true only to the extent that someone’s eyes may foretell his future intentions toward you – but, only, in a broad sense. If you make the mistake of watching the eyes too much, then, you won’t see that rapid critical hand movement you should actually have been looking for.


Because of a few bad experiences I won’t turn my back on this sort of person. I will, also, freely break all the normal rules of etiquette; and, if I'm not already doing it, I will start to 3/4 the subject, even turning toward him as he moves around me, while I stare - [COLOR="Red"][B]NOT[/B][/COLOR] at the face, but, more or less, at his upper abdomen - at [COLOR="red"][B]HIS HANDS[/B][/COLOR].

So, that’s what, ‘three-quartering’ is all about. Hope you never have to use it! Here are some ancillary thoughts on handgun concealment that should help a novice pistolero to get himself properly set up:

(1) Purchase a high quality, (possibly reinforced) leather, gun belt. A 1 1/2” wide gun belt is best for civilian dress. If you need to be discreet, always carry IWB with the gun’s butt tucked [COLOR="red"][B]INTO[/B][/COLOR] your side. (Personally, I never cover the gun butt by tucking something over it; instead, I always leave the pistol's butt available to my rapidly moving hand.)

(2) An open-topped Kydex (or polymer) holster with a properly tensioned adjustment screw is much faster to draw from than a leather (or fabric) holster.

(3) If you can get away with it, 2:00 o'clock OTB carry is faster than any other form of carry you might use.

(4) Never lean forward by bending the knee opposite to your gun side. Instead, always bend the knee that is on the same side of your body as your pistol.

(5) Try not to expose your back to others; Always remember that it's better to feign (just about anything!) and walk sideways twice rather than to simply turn around and walk directly away from a suspicious person.) Which leads up to,

(6) Never turn your back to an (unknown) audience while carrying - Sitting at lunch counters and bars is, therefore, out!)

(7) Always stand, just, off the strong side shoulder of someone's who's aroused your suspicion; and, alternatively, off the support side shoulder of someone you don't want to be aware that you're, 'well heeled'.

(8) Don’t reach forward with your gun hand in order to shake hands, or grab something. (Which IS the historical reason, 'Why' strangers began shaking hands in the first place! Tying up the other guy's right hand is a form of mutual disarmament.) If you need to grab something reach with the other hand, or step forward with your gun side – instead.)

(9) Unless you’re sitting down, ‘Thunderwear’ - with a straight-down grab inside your belt - is better than ankle carry; (If, however, you sit a lot an ankle rig can be useful) and,

(10) Whenever someone goes to hug you, always drop your own hands [COLOR="Red"][B]UNDERNEATH[/B][/COLOR] theirs – This way the other person won’t be able to, either, feel or grab your sidearm.

Some gunmen I know love ankle rigs. Me? I’ve got ‘um; I’ve used ‘um; and, as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather carry any other way! In my entire life I’ve only known two people who ever had to actually use an ankle rig in close combat; and, both were sitting down when they drew and fired.

There are additional self-protection benefits to be derived from this sort of behavior, too: You’ll tend to avoid standing in the middle of a room; you’ll be more conscious of whomever’s behind you; your gun side will be more difficult to approach; you’ll develop the excellent trait of habitually standing off the other guy’s vertical body centerline; and, you won’t be forced to kneel in order to draw a weapon. (As indicated, unless you’re already sitting down, ankle carry is an extremely poor way to begin any gunfight.)

By the way, I wear Wm. Tucker, El Paso Saddlery, and The Beltman gun belts. They’re, all, high quality, durable, and don’t sag at all – no matter how heavy the belt load I am wearing. Kramer Leather or Bulman Gunleather might, also, be other good choices!
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