This course of fire is something I developed for the AT-IV class as a test of the essential skills: basic marksmanship, fast shooting on a single target, target acquisition and presentation of the pistol from the ready and holstered positions. This 100 round course can be used as a basic practice regimen with or without a shooting timer.
Set up two IPSC or IDPA targets about 2-3 feet apart. There are 4 target zones: left center mass (L), right center mass (R), left head (LH), right head (RH). I use IPSC targets and use IPSC scoring, which means that the small A-zone in the middle of the head is worth 5 points, and the rest of the head is worth 4 points. It’s also OK to score the head using IDPA scoring, where the whole head scores at maximum value. If you are using IDPA targets, score 5 points for the “0” zone, 4 points for the “1” zone, and 2 points for the “3” zone.
The goal for each string is the same: get the most points possible as quickly as you can. If you have a shooting timer, pick a level and use the par times for that level. Without a shooting timer, run the drills at whatever pace you can shoot your best, then repeat the whole thing (on the same day or a later practice session) and try to increase your speed by 10-15 percent over what’s comfortable.
The three sections can be shot in any order, and each exercise can be broken out and repeated as part of a practice session.
If you are doing this drill at a range that won’t allow drawing from the holster, run all the drills from the low ready position or even better, start the holstered drills with the gun in a retention position (the point in the draw when you have both hands on the gun and the muzzle is pointed downrange, but your arms are pulled in close to your body). Start the drill by pushing the gun out, just as you would do in the last part of your draw.
All the 3 yard drills are run from defensive ready which is my term for having both hands up at chest level, palms out (as in “please don’t hurt me, I don’t want any trouble”). It’s not the traditional surrender (wrists above shoulders). In defensive ready, wrists should be below shoulder level. I’ve seen this position called “interview position” in law enforcement texts. It puts the hands close to midline and allows quick transition to drawing, blocking, punching, pushing back, and other options. You can substitute hands at your sides or any other start position you like.
Note: because of the high number of hits per target, it may be useful to split this part into two sections and tape after the Rapid Fire Group.
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