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The Walk-Back Drill: Improve Your Shooting Accuracy

The Drill:
The Walk-Back Drill is a simple drill that will help you evaluate your basic shooting fundamentals. Most of us train on the range with silhouette targets or something that resembles an attacker’s torso. While this is a great way to train, it does allow for a certain degree of sloppiness. Here’s what I mean: When you shoot at a larger target area, your focus changes from precision shots to combat accuracy and speed. Your rounds all land within a 6- to 9-inch grouping. When you focus on a smaller target area (3×5 inches), you are forced to be precise. The only way you can be precise is to perform all the tasks required to fire your weapon perfectly.

The Setup:
For this drill, you will need your defensive firearm, training ammunition and 3×5-inch index cards. If you’re shooting at an indoor range with targets on a track, this will require cardboard backing to which you will attach the cards. This will be important so that you don’t inadvertently hit any of the range hardware. If you are on an outdoor range, you will need the ability to vary shooting distance, or “walk the target back.”

The Skills:
Shooting at a smaller target puts focus on the basic shooting fundamentals needed to be precise. These skills are grip, muzzle management, utilization of sights and trigger finger discipline. Slow, precise shots on a small target will help you identify any deficiencies in your fundamentals. When you have these skills mastered, it will allow you to increase your rate and distance of fire without sacrificing accuracy.

The Details:
Start out 3 yards away from the target containing a single 3×5-inch card. Beginning position is at the ready. On the command of fire, take aim on the card and fire five rounds at a slow rate of fire, being sure to acquire a good sight picture before each press of the trigger. If all five rounds land within the card, increase your distance to 7 yards. Repeat the same five-round string of fire at a slow, deliberate pace. If all five rounds land within the 3×5-inch card, begin walking the target back one yard at a time. Each time you move the target back, repeat the five-round course of fire. If at any time you fail to hit the card with all five rounds, reset the target back to the 3-yard line and start over.

Safety Considerations:
Be sure to follow all range safety rules. This drill is for entry-level and experienced shooters alike. Each course of fire should be at a controlled rate. Be sure to always wear hearing and eye protection. Now that it is finally summertime here in Wisconsin, I want to mention something we don’t typically address in Tactical Tuesday videos. Wear clothing that appropriately covers your torso and closed-toe shoes on the range. Hot brass can burn the skin and create an unsafe condition by directing your attention away from your firearm.

Closing Thoughts:
Incorporate the Walk-Back Drill into your normal training routine from time to time. It’s a great way to assess your basic shooting fundamentals. If you can successfully and consistently walk the target back to distances greater than 7 yards, then you know you’ll be firing accurate rounds downrange.  If you can’t, this drill is a great way to help you refocus your training and concentrate on the fundamental skills you need to further develop. Remember, whenever you’re training, make every shot count.

Vary your training. Keep it fun. Keep it safe. And keep practicing.

Related: The Fundamentals of Handgun Shooting

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