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Why Shoot Pistol Drills?

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I hit the range the other day with four drills to run through. I recognize that, on a really good day, my handgun shooting might rise to the level of merely awful, rather than its usual horrific. I also realize that shooting skills are quite perishable, and it’s often a fair amount of time between my dedicated range sessions. With a limited amount of time, ammunition and range availability, I wanted to maximize my time behind the trigger as best I could. I chose these four drills as a decent spread of the handgun-shooting world.

  1. Dot Torture. Oh, Dot Torture. I think I’ve shot a clean Dot Torture drill maybe twice in my life. For those who aren’t familiar, there are seven different shooting scenarios that test everything from weak-hand-only shooting to target transitions. It uses a box of ammunition per full drill and is a fantastic diagnostic tool.
  2. The 45 Drill. Five rounds, shot at 5 yards, at a 5-inch target in 5 seconds or less. Sounds simple, right?
  3. Bill Drill. Six rounds, shot at 7 yards, into the “A” zone of a standard IDPA target (about 6X11 inches. I use a piece of standard copy paper and count anything on the left and right edges as out).
  4. The Test. Ten yards, 10 rounds shot in 10 seconds or less. Target is a standard B-8, and a passing score is 90 percent (scored on the X/10/9/8 ring).

All four pistol drills provide a wealth of information. In the case of Dot Torture, well, it reinforced that I really need to shoot strong-hand-only and weak-hand-only more often; my only missed points were on each of those sections. I ran the Dot Torture drill one time, being the most time- and ammunition consuming of the four drills. It’s also the only drill not shot with a timer. I mean, I guess you could, but what would a par time be? (Editor’s Note: It would look like the Garcia Dots Drill). I ran each of the timed drills four or five times and learned something on each different run. All drills were run from concealment from a PHLster Skeleton appendix holster.

For the 45 Drill, I passed every run, which was a first for me. All shots landed well inside the black (I used a B16 target, which has a 5.5-inch black section, and I count anything on the edge as out). What that tells me is that I’m spending an adequate amount of time shooting from the holster at moderately close range.

For the Bill Drill, I found that, try as I might, I couldn’t break 3 seconds without incurring several misses out of the six shots. I need to work on my draw from concealment, as I’m certain I can shave quite a bit of time off the drawstroke with dedicated practice. The good thing here is that this is something that can be done in dry practice in the privacy of my own home, costing me nothing more than time.

I just need to do it, though…

Lastly, on The Test, I learned that I need to slow down, interestingly enough. Ten seconds is plenty of time to accurately fire 10 rounds, and when I went too fast (I had one run that was below 6 seconds), I had too many misses and failed those runs. When I took the time to obtain a good sight picture and mind my grip and trigger press, I passed handily. Even the “slowest” run was under 8 seconds, with a score of 93. I’ll take that.

Article by JAY GRAZIO

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