The Cavalry/Twist Draw
In the early days of revolvers, when many of the practitioners of handgun shooting were cavalry troopers, revolvers were often worn butt-forward on the right side of the waist.
The reason for that was because the revolver was considered a secondary weapon for the horse soldier. The primary arm was the saber, and the cavalry trooper had to be able to draw, and wield his saber with his dominant hand during combat.
In the case of right-handed troopers, that mean strapping the saber to the left hip, where it could be drawn with the right hand. When revolvers came along they were placed on the right side, opposite the sword, and they were positioned butts-forward so they could be drawn in a cross-draw fashion, allowing a trooper to go into battle with a saber in his right hand, and a revolver in his left hand.
Soldiers quickly realized that there were other advantages to butt-forward carry. When you carry with the gun butt facing to the rear, you can only effectively draw the revolver with the hand on that side. But, when you carry butt forward, with a forward facing cant to the holster, you can easily draw the revolver with either hand.
Butt-forward carry also makes a long-barreled revolver easier to draw. Pulling a long-barreled gun straight up out of a waist-high holster can be difficult. You can end up your fist in your arm pit before the end of the barrel clears leather. That won’t happen with a butt-forward holster.
To draw a butt forward gun with the right hand, troopers developed the cavalry draw, also called the twist draw. This draw is very misunderstood today. A lot of people, including range officers, think you can’t execute a twist draw without covering yourself with the muzzle as you clear leather. Those people are wrong.
A well-executed twist draw brings the gun straight out of the holster, and twists it while the bore is still in line with the holster. Then the revolver is swung straight up to the firing position.
If you watch the associated video, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
The twist draw is perfectly safe, and it remains one of the best ways to draw a long-barreled revolver.