By the Numbers Drill

The Drill:

The By the Numbers Drill utilizes a target with different shapes, colors and numbers. This drill forces you, the shooter, to think before shooting and to avoid going into autopilot and simply throwing rounds downrange. Typically, you’ll have a training partner call out a shape, color or number that is to be engaged. However, with this drill, we add in simple mathematical calculations and trickery to stimulate the brain even more.

The Setup:

This is a live-fire drill, so you’ll need a handgun and ammo; a training partner; a target with numbers, shapes and colors; and electronic hearing protection so you can hear your training partner’s audible commands.

The Skills:

The By the Numbers Drill forces you to think before shooting. The last thing we want to do is get in the habit of simply throwing rounds downrange that have no training value. This drill requires you to engage your brain before engaging the target. We’ve all heard the adage that you will fight the way you train. In a violent encounter, where you are forced to use your weapon, the last thing you want to tell a jury is that you didn’t think before you fired.

The Details:

Line up with your training partner, approximately 3-7 yards away from the target (distance adds difficulty; use your individual skill level to determine how far to set up away from the target). Load and make ready, starting from the low-ready position. Your training partner will then call out a mathematical equation that corresponds to a number on the target. If you’re utilizing a target that features duplicate numbers and shapes, you must ask questions to determine the proper target. For instance, if your partner calls out “2 – 1” but there is more than one target labeled “1,” you should seek out additional information, like the color of the target. Your partner can vary the difficulty of the equations, or you can increase the distance to the target to add more difficulty to the drill.

Safety Considerations:

Remember to always follow the four universal safety rules along with any facility-specific rules for your local range. Always wear eye and hearing protection whenever shooting.

Closing Thoughts:

Avoid the same old routine when training on the range. Force yourself to think before you shoot. Your life, and the life of those around you, depends on the split-second decisions that you make when the time to act is at hand. Train your brain and your body will follow.

Remember to vary your training. Keep it fun. Keep it safe. Above all, keep practicing.