Here’s a drill I try and do every time I go to the practical range. It assumes a close-quarters confrontation that suddenly turns deadly and you’re forced to defend yourself. This is a drill for when a close-up confrontation quickly turns deadly and you are forced to respond. Shot placement is basically the same as for a Mozambique drill, with 2 to the body and one to the face.
As is evident here, I was having a bit of trouble clearing my shirt this morning. Stuff happens; you power through it and complete your objective.
Notice that on the last one, my pistol ran empty after only 2 shots, so I immediately changed my movement direction while performing a reload and finishing with the last shot. That habit of moving off your X or off of your movement line is vital and should be an unconscious, automatic response to an empty chamber.
I spent almost 2 hours this morning working nothing but left-hand-only drills at the range. Never touched my pistol with my right hand for drawing, shooting, magazine exchanges, or re-holstering. Trying to gain more skill and accuracy with my left-hand shooting, but want to ensure my manipulations are good to go, too.
You’ll notice that my draw puts the pistol upside down in my hand, so I have to press it against my thigh and reorient my grip. Same for re-holstering. This position for the grip change is safe and muzzle is always pointed at the ground.
It’s cold now, so time to train in winter clothing to ensure EDC drawing and manipulations are good to go.
One of today’s range drills is one I first saw Pat McNamara doing. He calls it “Blaze X,” but since I’m not blazing as well as he, I call this one “X Fire.” 5 cones setup in a box with a center cone. Center cone is 10 yards from the 10″ steel plate. Shoot right-side positions with right hand, left-side positions with left hand, center position with both hands.
This was about my 12th run through the drill today. I had been doing pretty well and got cocky for this run, so it’s a bit jacked up—just in time for the camera! Second shot was a hard primer, so did a tap/rack drill and rushed the next shot. First lefty shot I was rushing and had to take 3 stabs at it. That’s what I get for getting cocky! The point is to get better.
Any good shooter can take their time and get 100% accuracy, but this is exploring boundaries. With this drill I’m working to get fast, accurate shots while moving dynamically between them and while my heart rate is climbing with each shot. My six misses (!) in this drill are testament to the difficulty of managing fatigue and speed at the edge of my current ability. The point is to push boundaries and improve with time.
7″ steel plate from 25 yards.
– Draw from concealment while moving off the X and put 1 round on the 7″ plate,
– Run around the obstacle and put another round on the 7″ plate,
– Repeat until magazine runs dry,
– Perform a speed reload while moving away, scan an assess, re-holster.
You can do a 1-mag (15 shots) or 2-mag (30 shots) drill. It’s important to ignore fatigue and any frustration from misses and continue no matter what, until you’re empty.
6×12 steel target at 25 yards. Run from concealment. I like to repeat a lot of 25-yard+ drills as they are a good indication of my accuracy. At this range, the little A-zone steel plate looks like a grain of rice. After scanning and assessing, I typically do an administrative reload, as shown here, to ensure my gun is fully charged.
Ha, as you can see from the awful sweat stains, I had been training a while before doing this video!
This weekend I spent some quality time and a bunch of shells shooting the Kel-Tek KSG 12 gauge shotgun for an upcoming review. This thing is a blast to shoot (ha) and I’m a big fan of the size of this perfect-home-defense shotgun. Far more maneuverable and easier to wield than my Mossberg 500A, especially in tight quarters.
Here (vid below) you can see how it is much like shooting a small carbine or SBR with regard to maneuverability.
I tend to use escape drills often because it’s likely that my first response to real danger will be to try and get away. When/if I discover I cannot escape because of pursuit and/or being under fire, I may have to stop the threat from cover and/or while moving.
At the beep, run away from two bad guys toward cover
Draw from concealment and defend with two rounds on each while standing behind small/thin cover
Gun runs empty
Exchange magazines while running to better cover and defend against a third bad guy you didn’t see earlier
If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to use the range facilities at your disposal in the most productive ways possible. At my indoor range, for instance, I cannot draw from a holster and the narrow shooting lanes prohibit all but the smallest body dynamics. So there I work on mag-exchange drills, hand drills, and plain ol target practice.
When I get to my local outdoor practical range there is very little I cannot do, but I have a hard time settling on specific drills to work. Despite the fact that I’m a competitive shooter, I only ever use my concealed carry holster and pistols when working on pistol drills there (Since my daily carry setup is concealed, that’s how I train.). Even so, I find my pistol drills lack a bit of structure and I’ve not made of habit of measuring my results against any standard; personal or objective. I’ve decided to change that.
After today’s excellent discussion with the owner and one of his instructors at my local practical range, I’ll be using various military and law enforcement qualification courses of fire as training drills. The first one I’ll be using as a drill is the Federal Air Marshal Pistol Qualification.
The Federal Air Marshal Pistol Qualification
The drill is executed at 7 yards using the FBI UIT-CB target. Each string (except #3) is performed twice, using a competition shot timer to issue start signals and to log the string times (and, if you’re really keeping track of things: the time between multiple shots).
Drill – each is performed twice
Rhythm: fire 6 rounds at one target (1x only)
On shot, speed reload, one shot
One round each at 2 targets three yards apart
Pivot 180°: One round each at 3 targets three yards apart – 1x turn left, 1x turn right
One round, slide locks back, drop to one knee, reload, fire one round
By recording my hits/misses and times, I’ll be able to find my trouble spots and track progress against an objective pressure standard.
If you’d like to train with this drill and keep track of your performance, here are a couple things you might like: