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Old May 5, 2013, 01:52 AM   #1
ZRTaylor
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Newbie Shooter: Shifting from Bullseye to Drills

Friendly greetings all.

I've started a handful of threads on this forum over the last few months, feeling my way through the beginnings of developing some skill with a handgun.

So far I've been sticking to bullseye training, and worked my way out to fifteen yards, at which I can reliably put rounds in an eight inch circle, and within four inches more than half the time. I've deliberately kept the pace slow and steady, trying to focus on concentration and form. Part of the reason for this is that my weapon is chambered in .22lr, which I've been told is not ideal for drill training because the low recoil can develop bad habits when moving to more traditional defense rounds.

The nature of my question is whether or not there is anything to be gained from moving from bullseye training to defense training drills at this point, or at some point in the future. Should I be shifting gears, and to what extent?

The second stage of my question is what sort of drills will benefit me with my current firearm? The scenarios I'm interested in are home defense, and scenarios in which a weapon is worn as an additional defensive measure for public carry (most likely concealed) in potentially hazardous areas.

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread. I look forward to seeing your perspectives.
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Old May 5, 2013, 01:58 AM   #2
jimbob86
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What is your goal?

For Self Defense, IMHO, Bullseye work will give you a pefect sight picture on your attacker 1/2 second too late ........

Try http://pistol-training.com/
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Old May 5, 2013, 06:46 AM   #3
MrBorland
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I was in precisely your position 4 years ago. I could shoot 25 yard cloverleafs, but at some point, I realized it was a skill looking for an application. Also, it's just one facet of handgun proficiency, and I wanted to be more well-rounded. The well-rounded shooter is proficient in accuracy & speed, and knowing if, when & how to balance the 2, so I started shooting competitively (IDPA & USPSA), and have done very well, due in part, to my earlier focus on the fundamentals.

I still use a .22 in training as an "understudy" to my centerfire gun. While the recoil impulse is different, there's a lot more to shooting well than quickie rapid fire. Here are a few things you could do:

1. Index. Your natural point of aim. If you're not able to draw from a holster, start at the "ready" position. Quickly bring the gun to aim and get an aimed shot off as quickly as you can verify your sight picture. Only good hits count.

2. Transitions. Shoot a target (1 round), then transition to a 2nd target with a second round. Combine this with #1 for a little extra challenge. Only good hits count.

3. Movement. If you're able to move where you shoot, there are a number of movement drills. Do the above while moving. Do #2 with each target around the end of a long barricade, but start at the middle of the barricade. Did I mention only good hits count?

4. Steel. Nothing's more fun than rimfire & steel. If you've got access to a rack or dueling tree, all the better. My range has a plate rack, as well a free-standing plates which can be moved. I could spend the entire day with my .22 doing the above on steel, and it'd be a productive day. Heck, I could burn a lot of ammo with just 2 moveable plates. Our plate rack is set up for centerfire, so one .22 drill I do is triple-tap 2 plates. A miss means I wasn't fast and/or accurate enough, and/or my transition was bad.

5. Speaking of steel, try some rimfire steel matches. It may humble you at first, but in your situation right now, rimfire steel competition would be excellent training. Even top shooters shoot rimfire steel. And it you're not able to move or shoot steel at your current venue, by asking around at these matches, you'll likely find somewhere better to shoot. Competitive shooters network quite a lot, and there's a lot to be gained by getting in on it.


BTW, much of the "bad habit" stems from accepting poor shots. That's a shooter, not an equipment issue. Only accept good shooting no matter the gun or the drill, and make it a point to shoot just a little better each time, and you'll excel quickly.
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Old May 5, 2013, 07:07 AM   #4
MrBorland
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I should add that I think you should continue your bullseye-type shooting, even if you incorporate defense-oriented drills into your regime. The cornerstone of good shooting are the fundamentals, so they should be worked on regularly. The great Brian Enos once wrote "You never really go Beyond Fundamentals; you just apply them faster".

A final word of advice: There are those who'll poo poo target-type shooting as irrelevant, since only "combat accuracy" matters. Many will also poo poo competition as irrelevant because it's not self-defense training (I agree it's not). Ironically, though, these guys usually can't shoot their way out of a paper bag. I've seen it many times. They have strong opinions, but don't have the desire or discipline to actually shoot and become a shooter. Don't let these guys get in your head. Smile politely, and move on.
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:01 AM   #5
g.willikers
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Here, I was just getting ready to jump in, and Mr.Borland covered all the bases already.
Good advice, all.
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Old May 6, 2013, 01:47 AM   #6
ZRTaylor
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jimbob86: My goal is to become proficient with a handgun deployed in the defense of myself and others. I agree with you on the limitations of Bullseye type training, which is why I started the thread. The two scenarios that stand out to me at the moment are a home defense scenario and an alert (as opposed to a general) concealed carry scenario.

MrBorland: That covers the fundamentals of what I was wondering rather nicely, thank you. A lot to digest, I'm sure I'll have to grow in to a lot of that information. I'm going in to town tomorrow so I'll look in to getting a couple of inexpensive steel targets and coming up with some way of mounting them. I strive every time I hit the range to avoid being lazy and perform a little better than the time before. Thank you for giving me the advice necessary to continue meeting that goal.

My current training regimen is a fifty round sequence starting at my maximum comfortable distance and working back in five yard increments with a bullseye target. I don't want to go many more than fifty rounds because .22lr is still a difficult to obtain commodity in my area. Do you have any advice for adjustments to my routine that will allow me to maintain my progress in bullseye accuracy while incorporating some of the fundamentals that will forge that accuracy in to an effective tool?

One approach I've taken already is incorporating reloading drills in to my routine, but that doesn't feel like it's sufficient.
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Old May 6, 2013, 06:43 AM   #7
MrBorland
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Lessee...if I had a 50 round box of .22, I'd probably do something like the following:

1. Start off with some of your accuracy work: 5 rounds, 3 times (15 rounds), 50' or 25 yards, using official NRA B-2 or B-16 targets, respectively. Official targets are scaled accordingly, and you can keep track of your score and progress this way. Make every shot count. You're under absolutely no time constraints here, so take your time. You can even abort the shot if need be (hint: aborting a shot is a very difficult thing to do). Just lower the gun, clear your head, visualize a good shot and start over. Your mental focus is the process of making a good shot (trigger control, sight alignment), and not the goal of a good score. Always keep this in mind - the target itself is unimportant. It's merely a recording device that records how well you applied the fundamentals, so focus on applying the fundamentals well for each shot, and the target will take care of itself.

2. Index & transition (24 rounds): If you have a holster, draw and get a shot on target 1, transition to target 2. Steel would be best for this. If you don't have a holster, start at the "ready". Once you start getting good at this, add some movement - begin retreating or moving to the side as you draw. Eventually, add more targets. Another twist would be to eventually incorporate reloads. Shoot 1, reload, shoot the 2nd. Or shoot 1 & 2, then quickly reload for your next string. If the reloads (or movement) are affecting your ability to get good hits, though, hold off, and keep practicing without them.

3. "Show up and shoot" (11 rounds). This is an important skill to develop - seeing what you need to see and getting a good shot off as soon as you arrive at a new position. Start behind a barricade such that the target's not visible. Move to the end of the barricade, and as soon as you see your target, get your shot off. This is a deceptively difficult skill to learn and self-honesty is important. Matter of fact, it's a great drill to run without even using ammo - as soon as you see the target, for instance, STOP!! - don't take the shot. Just freeze in position and ask yourself "Where's my gun?" Still at the ready? Your not ready to shoot, are you? Held high, but not even close to being pointed at the target? Better, but still not ready to shoot. If you were to pull the trigger as soon as you see the target, where would the bullet go? If not into the target, you didn't show up ready to shoot. Keep the gun & sights in your line of sight, and use your upper body as a tank turret.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the value of dry fire. It'll turbo charge your time spent at the range. All these drills can be practiced at home via dry fire. Many rimfires ought not be actually dryfired (though some can), so your dry fire drills are more about gun handling, and more importantly, seeing what you need to see. Dry fire is highly underrated as a visual exercise, but effective dry fire is as much about developing visual skills as it is about gun handling and trigger control. Drill #3, for instance, would be an excellent dry fire drill to practice at home. You've got all kinds of barricades to work with (e.g. walls & door openings).

Good shooting!
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Old May 6, 2013, 07:40 AM   #8
kraigwy
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I agree with Mr Borland.

First of all, keep up with your bulls eye shooting.

But there are two simple drills (to supplement your bulls eyes) that will get you started.

The need for self defense occurs fairly rapidly. So you do need speed.

Drill 1: Take a sheet of 8 X 11 paper for a target. Set it out at 3 yards. From your normal carry, draw and shoot, hitting the paper. Get your time down to 2 sec or less. Keep at it until you can constantly hit the 8 X 11 sheet of paper in 2 seconds. When that's done, move to 5 yards and do it again, keeping your time to 2 seconds. When you can consistently hit the paper under 2 seconds from the draw, move to 7 yards and do it again. Only hit count so if you start missing, back up and start all over.

Drill 2: Again using the 8 X 11 sheet of paper and starting at 3 yards moving out to 5 then 7 yards. Take a magazine loaded with one round. Have a spare loaded magazine in your pocket or how ever you plan on carrying the spare (or speed loader for revolvers). Draw shoot you one round reload and shoot as many rounds as you can in 4 seconds, hitting the target.

You'll need a shot timer. For drill one have it set for 2 seconds, for the second drill have it set for 4 seconds.

Remember only hits count, if you're not hitting the 8 X 11 target, slow down to the point where you are hitting, then speed up. Don't move back until you can constantly hit in the 2 seconds. In the second drill, shoot, reload and shoot again as many shots as you can in 4 seconds. Again only hits count.

After you successfully can accomplish the two drills above then you can go to other drills such as shooting while moving, shooting from cover, shooting with a flash light etc etc.

But again keep up with your bulls eye so you don't loose the fundamentals.
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Old May 6, 2013, 03:08 PM   #9
Erno86
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In a defensive scenario...a bladed bullseye stance will possibly expose your body to a double lung hit --- which you'll probably expire in about 30 seconds. Besides a bullseye stance, a modern isosceles is preferred --- not only with armour --- but a single lung hit might make you last about 30 minutes.

Besides two handed pistol shooting with the isosceles stance...shoot one handed --- with both hands with the same stance {isosceles} --- with your non-firing hand clenched in a fist, close to your chest, so you can punch or shove your attacker away from you. Angle the pistol to help align the sights, to your master shooting eye.

In a close range shot...cradle the pistol close to your body with both hands in front of your stomach, to avoid having an attacker grab or shove your pistol away.

Besides close range shooting...practice pistol shooting at 50 and 100 yards with reactive targets. It is important to see the bullet hit the backstop if you miss the reactive target, so as too have instantaneous sight recognition of your mistakes.
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Last edited by Erno86; May 6, 2013 at 03:14 PM.
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Old May 6, 2013, 03:46 PM   #10
g.willikers
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Here's an inexpensive steel target with hanger.
I have three that have stood the test of time, for many years and lots of rounds.
They are usually found discounted at the mail order and sporting goods stores.
http://birchwoodcasey.com/Targets/Ta...c-7361f0dac618
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Old May 7, 2013, 02:32 PM   #11
Erno86
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May I quote from my favorite gun magazine --- NRA's "Shooting Illustrated" --- on some pistol drills; April 2013. {SKILLS CHECK, by Ed Head}

Quote:
I often start a practice with precise head shots at 3 to 7 yards, move on to fast pairs on single and multiple targets, and then run through failure drills. I finish by shooting at steel from a standing position using both hands at 25 yards and one hand a 50 yards.

For the Change-Up drill--- designed by Col. Jeff Cooper --- you will need a torso-sized steel silhouette target placed at 7 yards and an 8-inch, round steel plate at 60 yards. On the start signal, with the pistol in the holster, draw and hit the silhouette twice, and by ringing the 8-inch plate once. That's it --- three hits, and the best time wins.

On a good day, highly skilled shooters can sometimes run this drill in three seconds, firing all three shots while standing. If you don't have a steel silhouette, substitute a cardboard or paper target. Depending on your skill level, there is nothing wrong with moving the second stop plate closer and then gradually moving it back as your hits increase. Practice shooting the stop plate from standing, kneeling and prone.

The Change-Up combines gun-handling skills, speed shooting and precision. If you can smoke it, Jeff Cooper will be smiling down on you from Valhalla.
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Last edited by Erno86; May 7, 2013 at 02:37 PM.
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Old May 8, 2013, 01:25 AM   #12
ClydeFrog
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Skill training...

I'd suggest reviewing a few training books or guides then maybe taking a few in depth classes with top instructors who can teach you the proper CQB(close quarter battle) or defense tactics.
Massad Ayoob, a sworn LE officer, match shooter & legal use of force expert, has a few articles/books/training aids for armed citizens.
www.MassadAyoobGroup.com
Other top training instructors include Kelly McCann, Jeff Gonzales, Larry Vickers, Duane Dieter, Bruce Gray, Clint Smith, John Shaw, and John Farnam.

See; www.deltapress.com www.gunvideo.com www.nra.org www.paladin-press.com www.SIGsauer.com www.SmithandWesson.com .

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