Handgun Practice Drills
HANDGUN PRACTICE DRILLS
API 250/GUNSITE Standard Exercise
All exercises start with the gun holstered, facing a single IPSC target.
Proficient students can begin with the weapon concealed.
Starting position is hands clasped in front
3 yards 1 round head shot 1.5 seconds
3 yards 2 rounds A zone 1.5 seconds
7 yards 2 rounds A zone 1.5 seconds
10 yards 2 rounds A zone 2.0 seconds
10 yards 2 – reload – 2 A zone 5.0 seconds (In battery reload)
15 yards 2 rounds A zone 3.5 seconds
25 yards 2 rounds A zone 7.0 seconds
Time limits can be adjusted as needed. Times shown are graduation standards for the API 250 course.
Plaxco Academy of Practical Shooting Basic Drill
Designed by IPSC competitor J. Michael Plaxco
Set up up three IPSC targets at 10 yards.
Starting position is weapon holstered & hands clasped in front.
-On the first target, draw and fire one shot, perform an in battery reload, and fire one shot.
Repeat 6 times for a total of 12 rounds. Par time is 4.0 seconds.
-On the second target, draw and fire two shots, perform an in battery reload, and fire two more shots, for a
total of 4 rounds fired. Repeat 3 times for a total of 12 rounds. Par time is 5.0 seconds.
-On the third target, draw and fire 6 shots, perform an out of battery reload, and fire another 6 shots,
for a total of 12 rounds. Par time is 15 seconds.
The goal is 100% A-zone hits and smooth reloads. FOCUS ON ACCURACY! .
Time limits can be adjusted as needed.
Modified Gunsite 250 Drill
3 yards Draw & fire one round in 1.5 sec (2x)
7 yards Draw & fire one round in 2.0 sec (2x)
10 yards Draw & fire one round in 2.5 sec (2x)
15 yards Draw, drop to kneeling, fire one round in 3.5 sec. (2x)
25 yards Draw, drop to prone, fire two rounds in 6.5 sec (1x)
total of 10 rounds fired
Practice Drill by Mike Benedict of Talon Tactical (www.talontactical.com -- kydex holsters)
10 yards single target 10 rnds -- single shots for precision all A Zone hits (10x)
12 yards single target 10 rnds -- controlled pairs for precision all A Zone hits (5x)
7 yards single target 12 rnds -- 2 body/1 head for precision (4x)
7 yards single target 6 rnds -- "Bill Drill" 6 rnds as fast as possible all A zone hits
7 yards single target 6 rnds -- 6 headshots slowfire for precision
10 yards single target 6 rnds -- 6 headshots slowfire for precison
10 yards 3 targets 6 rnds -- two rnds on each target all A zone hits
10 yards 3 targets 6 rnds -- two rnds on center target, 1 rnd on each on outside target
two rnds on center target again, total of 6 rounds
10 yards 3 targets 6 rnds -- one rnd on center target, 2 rnds on each outside target
one rnd on center target gain, total of 6 rounds
M drill center target at 5 yards, outside targets at 10 yards
two rnds on center target, 1 rnd on each outside target, two rnds on center target
one rnd on center target, 2 rnds on each outside target, one rnd of center target
12 yards 3 targets barricade drill 2 rnds on each target from each position
right/left and high/low
Ken Hackathorn Square Drill
Make a square 5 to 7 yards on a side. Start at any corner and then fire two rnds on each target while moving to the next corner. Keep going until you are back to the starting point. About 24 rounds expended per run. This is an excellent shooting while moving drill.
Barrel Drill (2 or 3 targets)
Set up 3 barrels at 10, 15, and 25 yards in a zigzag pattern. Fire 2 rnds at each target from each barrel while kneeling behind cover.
5 yards From the holster, single headshots for precision
7 yards From the holster, controlled pairs for precision
7 yards Out of battery reloads. Begin with one round in the chamber and an
empty magazine. Draw and fire one round, reload, fire one round.
7 yards Malfunction clearance drill. 2 dummy rnds & 4 to 6 live rounds per
magazine. Draw and fire double taps, TRF for each malfunction.
7 yards Malfunction clearance drill. Begin at low ready with a failure to eject
malfunction created with a piece of empty brass. Come on target,
attempt to fire, clear the stovepipe, fire two rounds.
7 yards Tactical reload drill. Draw and fire two rounds, tac reload, fire
Remember proper After Action Drills (AAD) -- breath, check the environment, scan for additional threats, find available cover.
60 rnd modified Ken Hackathorn Practice Drill
3 yards draw & fire 2 rnds 3x for total of 6 rounds
5 yards draw & fire 3 rounds strong hand only (total of 6 rnds)
5 yards begin from low ready. Fire 3 rounds weak hand only (6 rnds)
3 yards to 10 yards. Load with a three round magazine. Fire 3 rounds
while retreating. 2x for a total of 6 rounds
7 yards draw & fire 2 rnds 6x for a total of 12 rounds
7 yards draw, rapid lateral movement and fire 3 rnds. Repeat from the
other direction. Total of 6 rounds.
7 yards facing 3 targets. 2 rnds on each target. 2x (total of 12 rounds)
10 yards draw & fire 2 rnds. 3x for a total of 6 rounds.
THE DOUBLE TAP: The "double tap" is a generic term describing engaging a single target with a two round burst. There are three types of double tap:
The Hammer is two quick shots fired with one sight picture, and is best employed on a target at very close range.
The Dedicated Pair is two shots fired with flash sight pictures for both shots, best suited on a target at intermediate range.
The Controlled Pair is two shots fired with a separate conventional sight picture for each shot. The Controlled Pair is most appropriate for any situation requiring a degree of precision accuracy or for targets at greater distance.
Practice Drills from Rob Leatham
(as described by Massad Ayoob in American Handgunner March/April 2005)
SLOW FIRE DRILL -- Five shots on target, unlimited time, two hand standing position. Done once each from 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards. Each shot reinforces the basics and the shooter also verifies sight zero.
FIVE-SECOND DRILL -- The shooter has five seconds to draw and fire a single shot. This is an opportunity to refresh muscle-memory and make sure every moment from the draw to the shot placement is correct. Then the shooter repeats the drill with three rounds, then with four rounds, then with five rounds, etc. all the way up to ten rounds in five seconds. Distance begins at 3, then to 5, 7 and 10 yards. All shots must be in the A-zone of the target.
THREE-GRASP DRILL -- The shooter draws and fires two shots from their preferred two-hand stance, then shoots two rounds strong hand only and then two rounds weak hand only. (An alternate version is to fire one shot from each position). This is conducted from 3,5,7 and 10 yards, all shots in the A-zone of the target.
SHOOT AND MOVE DRILL -- Fire five shots moving forward. Then five shots retreating. Then begin at the 10 yard line and leave a magazine on the ground at the 3 yard line. At the start signal, move forward firing until you have reached the point where you placed the fresh magazine. Pick up the magazine from the ground and reload and then fire as you retreat back to the starting point.
SHOOT - RELOAD - SHOOT DRILL -- At ten yards, facing a single target. Draw and fire six rounds, reload, and fire another six rounds. The shooter should fire as fast as they can and still keep all hits within the A-zone of the target.
THE EL PRESIDENTE DRILL -- At ten yards, facing three targets placed one yard apart, shoulder to shoulder. At the signal, draw and fire two rounds on each target, reload, and re-engage each target with two rounds. The shooter should fire as fast as they can and still keep all hits within the A-zone of the target.
Once the shooter can perform this drill with consistent good results, practice the traditional "El Presidente" drill: Begin with your back to the targets. At the signal, turn and then draw and engage each target with two rounds, perform a mandatory reload, and re-engage each target with two rounds. The goal is accuracy, shooting quickly yet keeping all rounds in the A-zone of the target.
Another alternative is performing either one of the versions above, but after the reload engaging the head of each target with either one or two rounds. Doing this teaches the shooter to "change gears" -- first engaging the targets fast with coarse accuracy and then slowing down to deliver precision head shots.
Shooting Drills (Mike Benedict of talon tactical holsters)
Shooting drills from Mike Benedict
three targets set in a "V" center target at 8 yds left and right targets at 10 yds
3 yds between targets.
two rounds on center target
one round on left target
one round on right target
two rounds on center target
2 seconds is the time to beat from the holster
three circles on aligned vertical like a snowman:
2" on top
4" in the middle
8" on bottom
6 shots on each dot
6 seconds on the 2"
4 seconds on the 4"
2 seconds on the 6"
shot from the ready and then from the holster
25yds: 6 shots COM 10 sec
20yds: 3 shot FTS 5 sec(x2)
15yds: 3 shot FTS 3 sec(x2)
10yds: 2 shot COM 2 sec(x3)
7 yds: 6 shot reload 6 shot COM 12 sec
5 yds: 6 shot strong hand, reload, 6 shots weak hand 15 seconds
3 yds: 2 rds COM 1
The Dot Drill (Sierra Firearms Academy)
THE DOT DRILL
This is a precision drill, fired at 10 yards without regard to time, only precision. The targets are 10 - 3" dots placed in the following sequence. 1 dot on top, then 3 rows of 3.
Dot #1: Draw and fire one continuous string of 6 rounds for your best group.
Dot#2: Draw and fire 1 shot, holster and repeat for a total of 6 shots.
Dot#3&4: Draw and fire one shot on 3, then one shot on 4. Holster and repeat 6 times.
Dot#5: Draw and fire 6 shots continuous fire, strong hand only.
Dot#6&7: Draw and fire 2 shots on 6, then 2 shots on 7. Holster and repeat 6 times.
Dot#8: Draw and fire 6 continuous shots weak hand only.
Dot#9&10: Draw and fire 2 on 9, reload, fire 2 on 10. Holster and repeat 6 times.
If the drill is too difficult with this target size or distance, reduce the distance or increase the target size and work down to 10 yards and 3 inch dots. Once you can do this on demand, your precision skills will be way above average. Practice with a goal of increasing your speed, while maintaining your accuracy. Just blasting at them will not help you a bit.. Perfect practice makes perfect performance.
Remember... The only way you can be successful at this, is to have your sights clearly in focus for each and every shot. Shoot at the center of the dot, not the whole dot. Good luck!
modified Hackathorn Drill
30 Round Self Defense Practice Drill Using One IDPA Target:
(A modification of Ken Hackathorn’s drill)
1. From 5 yards, allowing 2 seconds, beginning with gun holstered, fire one shot to head. Repeat 3 times.
2. From 5 yards, allowing 2 ½ seconds, beginning with gun holstered, strong hand only, fire two shots to body.
Repeat 2 times.
3. From 7 yards, allowing 2 seconds, gun holstered, fire two shots to body.
One time only.
4. From 7 yards, allowing 2 ½ seconds, facing 180° away from target, gun holstered, turn and fire two shots to body.
One time only.
5. From 7 yards, allowing 4 seconds, while backing to 10-12 yards, fire three shots to body.
Repeat 2 times.
6. From 10 yards, allowing 5 seconds, beginning with gun in holster, fire one shot to body, do a tactical reload, and fire one more shot to body.
Repeat 2 times.
7. From 10 yards, allowing 5 seconds, beginning with gun in holster, round in chamber and empty magazine, fire one shot to body, change magazine, fire one more shot to body.
Repeat 2 times.
8. From 15 yards, allowing 2 ½ seconds, draw and fire one shot to body.
Repeat 5 times.
Multiple Target Drill (Tom Givens)
MULTIPLE TARGET DRILL
Inspired by a course described in the book Fighting Smarter by Tom Givens
(Rangemaster, Inc; Memphis, Tenn., 2000) Page 201
Each shooter faces two targets (T1 and T2)
1. Facing T1 at 3 yards. From the holster, draw and fire a “double tap”
2 rounds in 2 seconds. Perform 6 times for a total of 12 rounds.
2. Facing T2 at 5 yards. Begin facing 90 degrees right or left. At the
Signal, pivot, then draw and fire 2 rounds in 3 seconds. Do three
Times facing to the right and three times facing to the left. Perform
6 times for a total of 12 rounds.
3. Facing T1 at 3 yards and T2 at 5 yards. At the signal, draw and fire
A “double tap” on each target, 4 rounds in 4 seconds. Perform 3 times
For a total of 12 rounds.
4. Facing T1 at 3 yards and T2 at 5 yards. At the signal, draw and fire a “double tap” on each target, followed by a single shot to the head of
each target, 6 rounds in 8 seconds. Perform 2 times for a total of 12 rounds.
5. Facing T1 at 5 yards and T2 at 7 yards. At the signal, draw and fire a Single head shot on each target, 2 rounds in 5 seconds.
50 total rounds fired (25 on each target) Each hit in the primary scoring zone scored as 2 points each.
On Stage 4, be sure the shooters fire a “double tap” on each target BEFORE coming back with a headshot, to simulate a situation where the initial engagement didn’t neutralize the threat, forcing the operator to go for headshots.
Distances between the targets are at the discretion of the instructor. Distances of engagement and time limits can be modified as necessary.