First, I practice with a blue gun. I encourage you to use your designated dry fire area. It takes discipline not to practice drawing with your carry gun until you have confirmed that it is unloaded, twice, and you are in your dry fire area, but it is better than a negligent discharge. Most major models are available as blue guns, they are inert models that have no moving parts but a similar weight and feel as the real thing. I also use them to break in, or get used to a new holster or carry method.
At the end of the day when I remove my carry gun, I grab the blue gun spend a few minutes practicing my draw. I draw and re-holster at least five times, then I pick a spot on the wall, close my eyes, draw and come up into my point of aim, then open my eyes. With practice I have been able to draw on my intended target, acquire my point of aim, to within a fraction of an inch, with my eyes closed. By doing this 10 or 15 times a night, I’ve developed confidence and speed. I practice drawing with my shirt tucked in (I carry inside the waistband) and I practice brushing aside whatever I’m wearing to draw from full concealment.
A bad guy can cross 25 feet in just over two seconds. I need to be able to allow time for awareness and draw. Can I do it? I hope so. Can I do it if I don’t practice…not a chance. When I first started practicing, I was so slow, it was scary. Now, I can draw and be on target in 1-1.5 seconds. I practice with my husband telling me “go”, I practice with my hand hovering, I practice walking, spinning and drawing.
The only guarantee in an emergency is if you do not practice, you will not be able to draw under stress. You are practicing to build muscle memory, skill, and speed. But the key is to practice safely. I mostly practice drawing my real gun at the range. Draw, fire 3-5 shots quickly and go to low ready. Sometimes I draw and empty the entire magazine on target. I try to vary it, and I practice reloading and coming back on target and firing. A habit I had to break, and it was hard, DO NOT catch your magazines. Let them fall where you stand as you are indexing the fresh one into the mag well. If you catch them in practice, you will catch them in an emergency.
Like so many things in live you must Practice, Practice, Practice. But, practice right so you can build good muscle memory and habits. If there is any doubt in your mind, practice in your dry fire area, even with a blue gun.