It could happen when you least expect it, and what you learn in this pistol training drills article could affect how it turns out.
So there you are…walking innocently down a neighborhood street…or entering a convenience store…or answering an unexpected knock at the door.
Suddenly you’re in a no-kidding, God-forbid life-or-death situation. In a split second, you must draw your concealed pistol to defend yourself and others.
How will it go?
Will you fumble with the draw and lose critical (perhaps fatal) seconds? Will your shots hit the target or, with tragic consequences, will you miss entirely?
Will your last thought be: “I wish I had practiced more?”
Who Really Needs Pistol Practice? You Do.
Amazingly, a significant number of pistol owners, including concealed carry owners, never or rarely practice their shooting skills or tactics.
After an initial burst of interest, they turn to other pursuits. It may be months between visits to the range. Yet in their minds, they believe they can still handle themselves in an extreme situation.
It’s like LeBron James thinking he can dominate the court without attending rigorous daily practices. Or like Tiger Woods hoping to win a tournament without taking hundreds of practice swings every spare moment he has.
Top performers in every field practice constantly and consistently. You need to do the same.
You need to practice dry-fire draws at home. Learn how to quickly and smoothly draw your concealed weapon without snagging it on clothing.
At the same time, make it a point to visit your local shooting range at least once or twice a month—even more if you’re a beginner.
Target Shooting and Drills
So let’s get down to some good ol’ shooting drills. We chose these because they involve minimal supplies and, well, they’re just good drills to master.
Failure-to-Stop Drill (Mozambique)
At the firing range, use this drill to practice your basic skills at stopping an attacker.
Set up a target approximately 7 to 10 yards from your shooting position. If range rules allow, you’ll begin with your handgun holstered.
When ready, fire 2 rounds into the chest of the target and one round to the head. Keep your weapon aimed at the target until you ensure you placed your shots into critical areas of the target.
Next, let’s spice it up a bit. Put a 3×5 index card on the chest of the target and a playing card on the head. See if you can hit these cards on your next round.
Start slow for form and accuracy. Focus on safety before speeding things up. If you missed the index card or playing card, you have failed (potentially) to stop your attacker.
Keep practicing until you consistently hit the core target areas every time.
The Box Drill
This is another basic shooting drill, and is similar to the Mozambique except that it uses 2 targets. Place those targets about a yard apart to simulate an attack by more than one person.
Fire two shots to the chest, then move to the second target and do the same. Then first one round to the head of the second target, and move to the first target doing the same.
Move the targets wider apart and repeat. Next, to mix things up, load just 3 rounds per magazine and reload before continuing to the next target.
The skills you’re learning here are improved weak hand shooting, precise shot placement and multiple target engagement skills.
The El Presidente Drill Let’s see how you do with drawing your weapon, engaging and transitioning the targets, reloading, and then engaging again. The El Presidente was developed to measure the skills of South American bodyguards.
It’s well known today as a basic skills drill that helps you practice site alignment and trigger control. So let’s get proficient at it as soon as possible.
To begin, set up 3 silhouette targets 10 meters from your firing position, a meter apart from each other. Or for even more challenge, set the targets 3 meters (or optionally, 3 feet) apart.
And oh yes, you’ve got only 10 seconds to complete the drill! Use a timer or have someone time you.
And one more thing: you have to begin facing away from your targets, your hands in the air as if surrendering. On go, draw and send 2 rounds to each target, reload and do it again.
To make it even tougher, reload between each target and re-engage. A ten second score is considered par.
Are we having fun yet?
The 1-2-R-3 Drill
Here’s a great drill for precision shooting. It involves shooting 6 rounds at 3 small shapes in 7 seconds or less (par).
Here’s the image you’ll be shooting at. Click for a downloadable pdf file you can print out on your printer.
Target range is 5 yards, and your starting position is with your pistol holstered. You’ll have 3 rounds in the chamber.
When the timer starts, draw and fire 6 rounds:
- One round at the 1” square
- Two rounds at the 2” circle
- Stop for reload
- Three rounds at the 3×5” rectangle
What’s nice about this pistol training drill is how it is so easily set up and that it doesn’t call for a ton of ammunition. The skills learned here include drawing and reloading, but also transitioning between differently sized targets.
Sounds simple enough, but you’ll be challenged because of the time restraints, even at 5 yards. My personal approach is to begin at 10 feet until proficient, and only then move to the 5 yard distance.
Again, par is 7 seconds.
Other Great Pistol Training Drills
When you’ve mastered the pistol training drills above, here are several more you can try your hand at:
- Ball & Dummy Drill (overcoming trigger jerking and recoil anticipation)
- 10-8 Pistol Test (advanced skill sets, time pressured)
- Bullseye 1000 (enhances freestyle, weak and strong hand skills)
- 3X3 (changing gears drill, three strings of fire, timed and untimed)
- The Bill Drill (improving speed without sacrificing accuracy)
Pistol Training Drills: Your Local Range Awaits
In today’s crazy world, there’s no telling when you’ll need your shooting skills. For your sake, for your family’s sake, invest some time and money into some quality pistol training drills at your local shooting range.
Check with your range to see what kinds of pistol training drills are acceptable. Also, check out and participate in any competition handgun training drills in your area. You’ll be amazed at how your shooting skills improve.
When you’re shooting for perfection, you never stop practicing.