View Full Version : Training progression sequence?

May 23, 2011, 10:47 PM
What's next? I'm good at standing still in front of a target in my nice Weaver stance and shooting tight groups at 4, 7, 10, and 15 yards, while maintaining good trigger control. What do I do next? Move and shoot (e.g., some sort of box drill)? Shoot from one knee? Off-hand work? Longer distances?

Is there a good progression for new shooters? I like shooting straight on to a target; it's satisfying to have nice groups, but I don't think that's all I should be doing at the range.

Does anyone have a good training plan? I'm not interested in jumping ahead four training steps, three steps, or even two, but I would like to add something else into the mix now. I practice drawing and dry firing now at home; should I incorporate that into the my range time now, except as a live fire exercise?

Thanks -


May 23, 2011, 11:00 PM
At the most basic level, you want to start close and slow to get your form right and then gradually work up until you can make consistent hits shooting at a reasonable pace out to perhaps 15 yards or so.

As you find that it's no trouble to keep all your shots in a 6-8" circle shooting at a good pace, you can move the target out a little farther until you achieve the same level of proficiency at the longer range.

While many ranges won't allow you to draw from a holster, practicing from a low ready position is a reasonable compromise that, when combined with good practice at home, can allow one to develop the ability to draw and fire on a target.

Here are a number of drills and standards.




Shawn Thompson
May 24, 2011, 08:07 AM
1) Marksmanship

2) Manipulation

3) Application

4) Movement

5) Adverse Conditions (low light, stress, etc.)

If you feel you have established a useable and effective grip and stance, and are hitting well, a natural progression would be towards manipulation. The need for a safe and efficient way to draw and reholster a handgun should speak for itself. Becomming proficient at stoppage reduction (i.e. malfunction clearance, reloads, etc.) is a fundamental step in the competent use of a handgun.

May 24, 2011, 10:35 PM

I took up shooting less than a year ago and was in the same boat as you. I was steered toward IDPA competition by some folks I met at my local range. Honestly, it was pretty intimidating at first, but, I've progressed very quickly. I'm still not competitive, but that was never really my goal.

The first time I showed up I just told the match director that I was new. He put me on a squad with a very patient Safety Officer who talked me through each stage as I shot. My goal was to simply complete the stage without breaking any safety rules. Once I'd seen how the whole thing worked the real learning began.

Nowadays, I analyze each stage of every match. My errors become very apparent in this environment. In this way I've been able to easily identify where I need to focus my training.

I'm sure the drills suggested above are very effective. However, if you're performing them by yourself without benefit of constructive criticism (and encouragement) you'll be missing out on a lot. Additionally, without some context, it may be difficult to put the drills into perspective as steps toward a long term goal.

Edited for clarity.


May 24, 2011, 11:21 PM
I have seen a lot of shooters get to the point where they develop sufficient defensive accuracy, but never work on building speed, moving, and keeping their gun up and running. While many folks don't have a range that allows them to work critical tasks while live firing, these tasks can, and SHOULD be frequently worked at home during dry fire, and can be worked during live fire competition at your local USPSA / IDPA club.

Every time I train I work accuracy, speed, and critical tasks, with a goal of pushing myself beyond the comfort level and allowing a little slop. Soon enough, you find that you can perform a task faster with less slop, and then the cycle repeats itself via more speed/slop etc...

Here's a generic training plan:

Work accuracy
-fundamental refinement
-off hand
-alternate firing positions

Work critical tasks
-reduce stoppages

Work dynamic / moving accuracy
-shoot and move

Work speed
-draw to first shot
-shot splits
-critical tasks
-pretty much want to be able to do everything FASTER

May 24, 2011, 11:35 PM
Move to one hand shooting, strong and weak hand.

Most people do all their practicing with both hands. But in reality, you probably will only have one hand.

You'll have a flashlight, door knob, car door, wife or kids, in one hand leaving only one hand to use on the pistol/revolver.

Practice with the weak hand, you may be peeking around the wrong corner for your strong hand to be useful.

I believe 80% plus of pistol/revolver shooting should be with one hand.