How did Watson get shot?

The following is from page one of Volume III of my own Baker Street Essays:

Holmes_Elcock3Garridebs“Holmes and Watson have their guns drawn and aimed at Killer Evans as he sticks his head up through the entrance to the cellar. Howard Elcock did a nice job of illustrating this scene for The Strand and it is consistent with Watson’s narrative.
So how in the heck did Evans manage to draw a gun (having to move his hands either into his coat or out of sight below the level of the floor to do so) and get off two shots, well-enough aimed to wound Watson, without Holmes or Watson managing to return fire? The two men seem inexcusably lax in this instance.
Holmes also moved close enough to strike Evans in the head with the butt of the detective’s pistol. It is surprising that Evans didn’t get off another shot at Holmes, this one at point blank range. With Holmes incapacitated, he could have taken what he came for and escaped. Why didn’t Holmes shoot Evans after being fired upon?”
Something I’ve long wondered about.

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