GENERAL TOPICS > The Shootin' Range

Pt 5. Practice and Drills


Marshal Halloway:

--- Quote from: Doc Shapiro on October 05, 2004, 05:25:24 PM ---Ok, I was motivated today ::)

Someone on another post asked about drills. There are several that I do, depending on what I am working on and if I am at the range or at home. I’m going to list out a couple of drills with brief descriptions. Some of these are in my book “Breaking the Shot,” so if you want a more complete description, that would be a good place to go. Use a timer on every drill to give you a starting signal.

A couple of last words about practice. The goal of practice isn’t to improve your best runs. The goal of practice is to improve your worst runs. By improving your worst runs, your best runs will improve as well. Work on those things that are difficult.

Make sure your practice is effective. For example, if you are having trouble on the first stage of the day, then volunteer to shoot first at your monthly matches. Set up a stage when you go the range to practice and shoot a stage first.

Quick Cal’s 50 Shot Drill: This has become one of my favorite pistol drills. The goal is to shoot the 50 shots clean and at match pace. This is not a drill for pushing speed, but instead is very good for the last couple sessions before a match when you want to settle down and just shoot your sights. Here’s the quick and dirty.

Set up 5 pistol targets of varying sizes, shapes, colors, and heights. Mark off 5 lines, one at 8 yards, then 10 yards, 12 yards, 14 yards, and 16 yards. At each position, start in a different position and shoot a different sequence. Mix it up! 1 run of 10 from each position. While you shoot this, be aware of your sights and the target. Make sure to see enough to make each shot. You need a more precise sight picture as the distance increases. Learn what you need to see.

You can do something similar with your rifle.

Groups: Set up a paper target at 15 yards with a couple of 1 inch orange dots. Just shoot groups. 5 shots out of each gun. Mix up the way you do it. Make sure to shoot at least 10 (5 from each side) as single taps from holster. The idea isn’t the speed at which you do it, but the accuracy. Choose different starting positions for your hands. This will help you learn not to rush.

Practice this with your rifle as well. Again, use different starting positions.

Other stuff: If I’m having trouble with first shots, then I will set up a small target at 15 yards and work on 1shots from holster, using different starting positions for my hands. If I am having trouble on the pistol to pistol transition, then I will do a 1 shot drill on a small 15 yard target and shoot 1 from the right, 1 from the left, 1 from the right, 1 from the left, until I’ve gone 10 shots. I’ll repeat it until clean.

Shotgun and rifle drills are often 1 or 2 shot runs, starting with another gun in hand. This works the transition as well. For example, I might start with my pistol out and on target. At the buzzer, holster, grab shells and shotgun, and knock over 2 targets in 2 shots. Or I might start with rifle in hand.

If you are having trouble with alternating 2 targets with your rifle, set up 2 12 inch targets at 25 yards, and on opposite sides of the bay. Start with a pistol out. At the buzzer, holster. Pick up your rifle, and alternate for 10 shots.

Work up a drill that specifically addresses something that you are having trouble with!

For dry fire I do similar drills. The 1 shot drill with all 4 guns is very good for working transitions. I just have a couple of things to mention about dry fire practice.

First, be very honest with yourself about where your sights were lined up when you broke the shot. Were they on target? Would you have hit it? You need to know if you are going to get anything out of it! Use smallish targets (4x6 cards work well with a 1 inch dot in the center) so that you have something to use as a fine target.

Transition drills, first shots, and shotgun exercises are great things to work on at home. I like to use full weight dummy shotshells. These give you an accurate feel for loading the gun. Again, use a timer! Set a par time so that you have something to work against. Are you trying to get off 4 shots with your shotgun from port arms in 6 seconds? Set the par time at 6 seconds and see if you can make it.

Spend a few minutes a couple times a day at dry fire and it’ll make a big difference.


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