View Full Version : Handgun Training Exercise "The 550"

March 16, 2010, 07:30 PM
I've been shooting handguns seriously (300 or so rounds a week I consider serious - some of you won't) for about 2 yrs. For most of this time I would go to the range without anything planned and just shoot. Some time ago I developed a training exercise that I follow and I've noticed my accuracy skills increasing at a much greater rate. I call this drill the "550."

I'm interested in 1) sharing this with others in case you might be interested and 2) hearing from others about any modifications you would recommend. What I like about this drill is that it pushes me out to the edge of where I am accurate and forces me to focus on that distance before I go out further. The downside of this drill is that with enough practice it might become easy. Well, here it is. It could also be a fun contest between friends...

Shooting the 550

Fire 10 strings of 10 shots each (100 rounds total) at 6” round target. Tape any misses between strings and score.

1) First string is shot at 10’ and each hit is worth 1 point per hit (pph)(max of 10 points).
2) If all shots are hits, move target to 15’ for string two. Each hit at this distance is worth 2 pph (max 20 points). If first string had a miss you must remain at 10’ for string two and each hit remains 1 pph.
3) As you continue to get all hits move out 5’ for each successive string and increase points for each extended length (10’=1pph; 15’=2pph; 20’=3pph; 25’=4pph; 30’=5pph; 35’=6pph; 40’=7pph; 45’=8pph; 50’=9pph; 55’=10pph)
4) If at any point you fail to get all hits, you must bring the target back 5’ for each miss. If for instance you are at a distance of 35’ for string 6 and you get two misses, you must bring the target back to 25’ for string 7 and will be scored at that distance (4 pph). Assuming you get all hits at 25’ the target moves to 30’ and is scored at that distance (5pph), etc.

A perfect score is 550.

Uncle Ben
March 17, 2010, 01:25 PM
I like it. Keeps things interesting and moving up, and there is increased pressure to perform as you move on.

Don P
March 17, 2010, 03:43 PM
Sort of sounds something like this www.idpa.com

March 17, 2010, 06:35 PM
Yes - I like that it places me right at the edge of my accuracy distance and forces me to really own that distance 10/10 before moving out. Don, I shoot IDPA and hope this helps me move up in qualifying. Stage 3 of the qualifier really kills me with the long shots that I hope to do better on. When I was just going and plinking I would keep the target around 25' and it was fun because I did well, but I didn't get any better.

March 17, 2010, 08:11 PM
I like the routine and I will try it. The only problem is the cost of 300 rounds of ammo per week. That's why I like .22 pistols so much. I can't afford to spend $120 per range session. I'm just getting into reloading so my ammo costs will decrease substantially in the near future.

March 17, 2010, 11:34 PM
Some more drills and qualifiers.


March 21, 2010, 12:13 AM

I assume that since you did not mention any time factor, you take as much time as you want for each shot.

That is ok for target shooting.

If you are endeavoring to develop defensive handgun skills you might want to consider limiting your time. Timing your shots. Reducing the time you allow for your shot string. Time pressure is one way to impose some stress into the practice session.

Who is a better shot the shooter who can get a perfect score in 60 seconds or the one who can do it in half the time?

March 21, 2010, 12:23 AM
I always like to see what other shooters are using for practice drills.

A Question: Are these drills performed from the holster? And is it a series of single shots at each distance, or one string of fire?

(Stage III on the IDPA classifier has often been my downfall. One mistake I found I was making was that I was crowding cover when shooting from behind the barrel, which made me have to contort to engage some of the targets. If I stay at least arm's length behind the cover, I can work the angles better. And sometimes I shoot too fast on that stage.)

March 21, 2010, 11:53 AM
Mello and Jeff,
THanks for your replies. My priority right now in this exercise are mastering the accuracy (I still have IDPA drills and monthly IDPA comp for speed and draw as well as dry fire practice and holstering around the house). I shoot at a steady pace, two shots every breath and I don't holster in-between stages. Once I start scoring 550s the next thing to come will be a progressively reducing time limit including reload, then I'll add holstering between strings.
Thanks again.

March 21, 2010, 06:39 PM
Thanks, bignz, . . . now I got something else to try to shoehorn into my day :D

May God bless,