Written by: Greg Ellifritz
I like shooting drills that are timed and scored. Shooting drills that have standards allow shooters to track performance over time. A structured training program with performance tracking is the difference between training and “plinking.”
I generally start out each of my handgun range sessions with a standard drill. That gives me a “status check,” letting me know where my skills actually are and what I need to improve upon. For the last year or so, I’ve been using the Humbler Course as my starting drill every shooting session. I like the drill, but it is pretty time consuming.
I recently found Tom Givens’ Rangemaster Bullseye course on the Prepared Gunowners site. As soon as I read about it, I recognized that it could be considered a shorter version of the “Humbler” drill I had been regularly shooting. I started using it as my evaluation drill at the start of my practice sessions. The course uses a B-8 Bullseye Target. The stages (as described on the Prepared Gunowners site) are as follows:
The first string is fired at 25 yards, and it is designed to test your maximum precision with the gun and ammunition you are using. On signal, fire 5 rounds in one minute. It is best to fire these one at a time, coming back down to ready to take a couple of breaths and get ready to go again. Think of these as five individual, precisely aimed shots.
Next, move the target to 15 yards. Here we will fire 2 strings, as follows. First, on signal fire 5 rounds in 15 seconds. This is adequate time per shot to allow you to concentrate on getting a good sight picture and a smooth trigger press. For the next string, on signal fire 5 rounds in 10 seconds. Cutting the time limit forces you to work on immediate follow through and an appropriate cadence.
Now, move the target to 7 yards. Start with only 5 rounds in the pistol, and have a spare magazine, speedloader, speed strip or whatever you use for fast reloading on your person. On signal, fire 5 rounds, reload, and fire 5 more rounds, all in 15 seconds. This drill works on trigger control, follow through, proper cadence, and reloading skill, all in one string.
For the last string, move to 5 yards. On signal, fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds.
That’s it. You have fired 30 rounds total, for a maximum possible score of 300 points.
The drill is quick to shoot and covers a lot of skill sets. I like it a lot. With a full size gun, a good shooter will score 285/300 or higher. It really doesn’t matter if you score 300 or 150. The point is that you use the course to identify your weaknesses and steadily improve your score.
Give it a committed effort. Shoot this course at least twice a month. Note which stages cause the most number of dropped points. Train the skills you need to improve that stage. Repeat. With committed effort and quality practice, you’ll break that 285 point score and reach the coveted “good shooter” status.
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