Archive for the 'Tactical Drills' Category

Dot Torture

8 months ago

This looks tough, mostly because it requires continued concentration over time. There’s a downloadable target as well.

This is a test that I got from a range officer at the NRA range one night. I showed it to Todd who liked it more than I did. He figured out that it originally came from David Blinder at I don’t know when David put this together, but IPSC shooters have told me they were doing this test in the early 90’s. It has taken on a life of its own and I have to admit, I can’t figure out why. It is a very inefficient way to practice anything, as it is a test. It isn’t hard for a good shooter, though it will obviously be difficult for someone new to handgunning. If you can clean this, then you have gotten what you need and should move on to something more productive. You can certainly push the distance back and try again. Todd cleaned it at 7 yards and was trying for 10 yards when last we spoke about it. I will also add that though Todd liked this test, we never shot it more than very occasionally during the years we trained together. As I said, I don’t favor this for anything, as I can use those 50 rds in much better ways, but it seems to be incredibly popular with recreational shooters. If you enjoy it, that’s great, but there are much better drills available on the rangework page if you are trying to get better.

Start at 3 yards. You have to get all 50 hits to pass. Once you can shoot the whole drill without a single miss, either increase the distance or add time pressure. For instance, try to finish the entire drill in under 5 minutes while maintaining 100% accuracy.

As always, the specific drill, procedure, and scoring are the link.

Also,  Cornered Cat, an excellent resource for beginners and intermediate shooters, covered a version of this drill several years ago.

Deep Dive: New Jersey’s New ‘John Wick’ CCW Qualification Test

8 months, 1 week ago

It looks like a police version of the FBI Q-target test. You can read the introductory thoughts here. Below is what the link indicates is the New Jersey CCW Qualification course. It’s undoubtedly discriminatory against folks with disabilities, especially those at the most risk of requiring self-defense with a firearm, such as the elderly, infirm, and young women. We’re not against continued intermediate and even advanced handgun tactics training, but all licensing to buy back your God-ordained duties is wickedness.

Vintage training

New Jersey’s new CCW qualification standards have been criticized for being too high, too rigid and too much like a police qualification course. The critics are right. This is nothing but a decades-old police qualification course revamped and repackaged for civilians. It does not reflect current best practices, far from it. The tactics and techniques it requires applicants to master were state-of-the-art in the 1990s.

Unrealistic score

New Jersey requires a 50-round qualification course, which uses an “FBI-type Q-target,” which looks like an oversized milk bottle. To pass, students must somehow achieve a score of 80% or 40 rounds within the border of the Q-target.


Applicants must fire four rounds kneeling and three rounds standing at a 25-yard target. This precludes most new shooters from using popular concealed-carry firearms, such as smaller and easier to conceal 9mms, .380s or short-barrel revolvers. Sure, there are some who can make consistent hits at 25-yards with any handgun, regardless of its size. However, many new shooters have difficulty hitting beyond 15 yards.

Twenty-five yards is an unrealistic test for civilian concealed carry. While there are certainly a few incredible exceptions, most deadly-force encounters involving civilians occur much closer, usually within spitting distance.

Open-carry holster

This qualification course is designed to use an open-carry holster, worn either outside or inside the waistband. However, only law enforcement officers can openly carry handguns in New Jersey. Civilians must carry their defensive firearms concealed. Therefore, why test them on their ability to draw and fire from an open-carry holster? Most ranges won’t even allow drawing from the holster, so where can civilians train this technique other than dry firing at home?


In a gunfight, once your knees touch the ground you’re stationary, and stationary targets don’t survive very long.

Shooting from the kneeling position is an old-school law enforcement tactic, not unlike shooting a handgun from the prone position. Testing a civilian’s ability to shoot from the kneeling position is lunacy.

Like drawing from the holster, most private ranges don’t allow their customers to practice from the kneeling position. One range I know that did quickly abandoned the practice after a customer positioned their target too close and put five rounds into the ceiling.

Additionally, there are many shooters who cannot kneel because they suffer mobility issues or use a wheelchair. Are they to be denied their Second Amendment rights because of their disability?

Forcing applicants to kneel violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires “state and local governments including their criminal justice agencies to comply with the ADA.”

New Jersey’s AG and its state police should be ashamed of their “ableist” misdeeds.

Point shoulder

“On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds from a point-shoulder position,” the training document states.

Those words haven’t been spoken at an American gun range for quite some time, yet New Jersey still plans to require its concealed-carry applicants to shoot from the point-shoulder position.

The point-shoulder or Weaver stance was developed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Weaver in the 1950s. It fell out of favor among law enforcement tactical trainers decades ago, because by blading their body toward the threat it exposed the officer’s side, which was not protected by body armor.

While the point-shoulder position has remained popular with some competitive shooters, nowadays, most instructors teach a modified isosceles shooting position, which was first developed by Tier One trainers. It’s more natural and not as awkward as the point-shoulder because it makes it easier to absorb recoil and track moving targets.


New Jersey requires concealed-carry applicants to draw using their strong hand, transfer their weapon to their support/weak hand and then fire three rounds in two seconds at a 5-yard target.

Offhand shooting requires constant practice because it is not a natural skill. While it is a prerequisite for police and military shooters, it has no place in a qualification test for civilians – other than to prevent them from achieving a passing grade.

Besides, has there ever been a documented defensive shooting where a civilian was forced to transition their handgun to their off hand?

Indiana Woman Fatally Shot Man Who Held Gun To Her Husband’s Head, Police Say

8 months, 1 week ago

Good girl. Train and practice, practice and train, and then practice and train some more.

An Indiana woman shot and killed a man as he held a gun to her husband’s head, police said. Police said the incident happened at a home in Salem on Monday evening around 6:40 pm. Michael Chastain, 45, drove through the front yard of the couple’s home before grabbing the husband, forcing him to the ground, and pointing a gun at his head, according to investigators. His wife saw the situation from inside the home and shot Chastain with her handgun, the investigators said.

The criminal assailant has a record of being a scumbag; not a shock. The woman has not been charged. Deuteronomy 19 covers the Law of Innocent Blood; she did the right thing and should face no repercussions. More at the first link. Is there a specific drill for this?

The Elk Grove Shotgun Qual

8 months, 4 weeks ago

Do people still train for defensive shotgun conditions? Well, they should.


Shotgun qualifications are often an afterthought for police departments. With the reliance on the patrol rifle, the tactical and patrol shotgun is often ignored and forgotten about. It’s a very versatile tool that’s sadly ignored and seemingly forgotten about. Well, it’s almost forgotten. The folks at the Elks Grove police department put on quite a bit of training in how to use the scattergun. Today we are breaking down their course of fire, as well as their training drills.

What You’ll Need

First, we need a shotgun! The Elk Grove PD uses the tried and true Remington 870. If you want to run the drills as well as the qual, you’ll need a pistol and holster. In terms of ammo, if you want to just shoot the qual, you need 12 rounds of buckshot. If you want to run the drills and the qual, you’ll need the following:

  1. 18 Rounds of Buckshot
  2. 3 Rounds of Federal Flitecontrol
  3. 12 Slugs
  4. 34 Birdshot
  5. 14 Pistol Rounds

You’ll also need something to carry spare shotgun ammunition as well as a sling for your shotgun. They don’t list a target, but I’d bring about 10 man-sized targets. Shotguns mess targets up really bad, real quick. This makes it easier to score. Don’t forget your eyes, ears, and a shot timer.


The shooting drills stress movement and loading, which is good, but there isn’t much more than that. I do like that the course of the fire starts at 25 yards and continually moves inward.

It’s a closing-on-the-target drill with reloads, both of which are good to practice, especially for a case where your access to loved ones is between you and the assailant. This one is a three drill, multi-stage qual. As always, the particulars are at the link. Read the rest.

The Shotgun Casino Drill: Shoot, Reload, Enjoy

9 months, 2 weeks ago

A good drill for shotgunners.

I’m not sure who invented the Shotgun Casino Drill. I first saw it on the Active Self Protection YouTube channel. Maybe the ASP crew created it, or maybe not. However, I give them full credit for them making me aware of the drill, which almost immediately sent me to the range to give it a spin.

I love shotguns and shotgun shooting, but there aren’t a ton of training drills with shotguns. It’s easy to see why. With the shotgun, it’s often an aim, shoot, target down scenario. The shotgun is an extremely powerful weapon and a dominant force in close-range fighting. There is something about a single shot putting eight to nine .32 caliber pellets into a bad guy that ends the fight. Still, we train for the worst possible scenarios, and the Shotgun Casino Drill allows us to stretch our legs and train and test a variety of skills.

The Casino drill didn’t start with the shotgun. The Casino drill is a classic drill that requires a bit of a special target. You start by firing one round into target one and escalate until you are shooting six rounds into target number six. It integrates reloads, target changes, and good marksmanship. The Shotgun Casino Drill does the same but with a bit less ammo.

What do we need to run the Shotgun Casino Drill?

We need a modern shotgun that falls into the repeater category. What’s a repeater? Well, you need a shotgun with a magazine tube or even a magazine. However, you’ll need several magazines if you take that route. A modern repeater is basically any modern pump or semi-auto shotgun. It needs to be able to hold at least four rounds, which tends to be the lower end for defensive shotguns.

We need ten rounds of ammo for each run. You can use either birdshot or buckshot. If you plan to shoot it a few times, consider starting with birdshot and escalating to buckshot when you develop a little more skill and experience with the drill. You’ll need to be able to hold at least six rounds on the gun or a mix of ammo on the gun and on the belt. Either way, it needs to be easily at hand and ready to load.

We also need four targets. Shotguns tear targets up, so steel is best, but man, four man-sized steel targets is an expensive venture. Good paper targets will have to be what it is. I prefer the Sage Dynamics targets, mostly because I can print them for free and not rip through fifty bucks worth of targets in an afternoon.

Don’t forget your basics: a shot timer and your eyes and ears.

As always, you’ll have to click the link to see the setup and drill specifics.

The Kansas CPOST Police Qual – Shoot It Up

9 months, 4 weeks ago

This looks like interesting handgun training with only 50 rounds expended. But that’s no fun, you better have more and run it multiple times.

The only thing I know about Kansas is from the band Kansas, and it’s the songs “Dust in the Wind and “Carry on Wayward Son.” If I had to guess, I bet people from Kansas are fine, upstanding Americans who likely live in peace in a rather nice state. Seriously, look at some of the natural beauty in that state and tell me it’s not gorgeous. Well, today, we are talking about Kansas, and learning something beyond a few 1970s rock songs. Today we’re learning the handgun standards the Kansas police employ with the Kansas CPOST annual firearms qualification.

What We’ll Need

The Kansas CPOST Handgun qual is fairly simple and won’t cause you to go broke on ammo. All you’ll need is 50 rounds, which isn’t bad. In terms of magazines, that’s up to you. You could stop the qual to reload your mags or just bring four average 9mm magazines. I suggest at least two mags, but the qual doesn’t require a particular number.

Train like you fight or how you’ll most likely be carrying should a self-defense situation arise. Included is information about the rig he used, but for the average personal defense minded CCW, train just the way you EDC.

Obviously, we’ll need our handgun. It’s a police qual, so I went with a duty-sized handgun with the P320C that’s optically equipped with a ROMEO2. You’ll also need a holster. I used an L2C fit to a battle belt. While it’s not a police belt, it’s a close replication. The CPOST also requires a single target, and the target is either a standard FBI Q or an IALEFIQ. We aren’t Kansas police, so we can make it up as we go. I used a simple Sage Dynamics target, which is admittedly smaller and more challenging to hit.

The FBI “Q” target, or bottle target, is actually just the lighter-shaded “bowling pin” shape, but the above image better represents the purpose of using this target. If employing it, the object is to hit the Q at center mass:

FBI Q Target (Free Printable Qualification Targets) - Targets4Free

The article continues…

We will also need a barricade of some form to train behind. You can improvise your own or employ something like the PTSB Lite. I’ve been using an old blue barrel, and it seems to work pretty well for what I need.


Scoring is very simple. Shots have to hit the bowling pin of the Q target. There is no call for headshots or specific body portion shots. To pass, shooters have to score a 70% or higher, which means 35 shots have to hit a fairly big target. Any shots fired outside the time limits are misses.

Hitting the Range With the Kansas CPOST Qual

What you should know about this course is that there are no required or timed reloads. Ammo management and reloads are entirely on the shooter. If you are shooting a string and run empty, you have to reload and keep shooting. This can make things interesting and force you to either reload quickly or plan ahead.

Stage One: 1.5 Yards

Yep, we start up close and personal with your target. This likely simulates an interview position and situation that goes bad. At the beep, you have to step to the rear and then laterally. At the same time, you have to draw and fire three rounds into the target. You have a total of three seconds to get it done.

There are six stages, some of which are multi-phase; the longest is 25 yards. You can always tighten the training down with smaller targets and timed runs. If I were to do these drills, a different target would be in order; the plain white bottle isn’t great. See the rest at the link.

Hierarchy of Combative Firearms Training

9 months, 4 weeks ago


Safely handling a firearm and improving marksmanship at the range is just the beginning for armed citizens and professionals. Follow this Hierarchy of Combative Firearm Training to understand what skills are necessary, and in what order they should be learned.

According to my Webster’s Dictionary, training is defined as “to instruct so as to make proficient.” Instruct means “to teach, educate or inform,” while proficient means “highly competent, skilled.” Thus, combative handgun training, in my mind can be defined as follows: Teaching a person to be highly competent and skilled in the use of a handgun for personal defense. How much skill do you need to proficiently take care yourself? Who knows? For me, it’s as much skill as I can develop because it will be my life on the line, and my life is really important!

Hierarchy of Combative Pistol Training

The three levels of combative pistolcraft. (from Dave Spaulding, found at the link)

Base Level: Essentials

The Essentials level provides the foundation for everything else to build upon. Compare it to placing your hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel when learning to drive. The fundamentals include safe handling, grip, body position (aka stance), sight alignment, sight picture, loading and unloading and, most importantly, trigger control. You know, all of the things that keep the gun running.

The grip should use both hands and cover as much of the grip as possible. The grip is the human contact with the firearm, place as much skin on the gun as you can. Any area of the grip left open will provide an avenue for recoil to carry the gun off target, making quick, follow-up shots more difficult. And follow-up shots may be needed to end the fight.

I’ve quit using the term stance as it relates to shooting a handgun because it really doesn’t matter where your feet are situated. As a matter of fact, it’s quite likely they will not be where you want them when you need to shoot. What is more important is keeping your body in a position that allows you to deliver multiple shots in multiple directions without being thrown off balance. In general, this means you must keep your shoulders over your toes and your knees unlocked.

Clearing a stoppage or malfunction is a requirement for any piece of machinery, but in a gunfight it is a life-saving skill. For semiauto pistols, you must be able to clear any malfunctions quickly and easily, which is not as hard as it sounds. Someone just has to show you how to do it. Revolvers are a whole different matter. A quality revolver runs under very extreme conditions, but when it malfunctions it usually requires a trip to the gunsmith. Some would say this is an advantage of the revolver over the pistol — I will leave that up to you.

While many wish to debate using sights versus point shooting, I’ve found neither is very important if the shooter can’t control the trigger. Without trigger control, the muzzle won’t stay in alignment with the target, and the shot will miss regardless of the system used. Only hits count, so while I admit I’m an advocate of sighted fire, I’m an even greater advocate of trigger control. Without it, everything else is a doomed to failure.

All of the skills taught and practiced at the Essentials level are required to keep the gun running in a fight. That is why I say they are essential. While some may consider one skill more important than another, ask yourself, which skills will be needed to win your gun fight? That’s right, you don’t know. So, having a mastery of all will be required to rapidly adapt to the situation faced.

Ultimately, the most essential of essentials is a combative mind, but you won’t find that listed among the classic fundamentals of shooting or taught in basic marksmanship classes.

Continues at the link with mid-level and upper-level interactive combatives.


Fun Training Exercises To Try This Summer

10 months ago

These look like fun family handgun exercises or for an Independence Day cookout with friends. These drills are functionally important, and a challenge with other shooters is an opportunity to sharpen your skills.

Have you been to the range in a while? If you have, did you do any fun drills or did you just stare at a paper target and dump ammo downrange? A lot of us don’t go to the range as much as we should because life just gets in the way. Work and other activities make it hard to find time, but the cost of ammo is also a contributing factor.

I remember buying ammo by the case and shooting until there were blisters on my finger. But that was back in the day when ammo was about the same cost as candy. Now, ammo is equivalent to little gold coins that make you cringe every time you pull the trigger. I recently sighted a hunting rifle and every time I fired the gun it cost me $1.50. That adds up quickly when you’re not paying attention and get the trigger jitters.

But the good news is there are plenty of fun drills you can do that don’t burn through gobs of ammo. Getting some quality training, having fun, and not spending all your money sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not. You just need to spend a little more time setting up the range for various drills. Drills and exercises on the range are designed to improve specific skills. This could be accuracy, weapon control, speed, or a mixture of them all. And the good thing is most of them do not require a ton of ammo. Let’s look at some fun drills you could be doing this summer.

Mag Change Drills are discussed along with transition drills, but what he calls the Big-Little Drill can be important. It’s good to train your mind in a few things when shooting targets of various sizes and distances. One aspect of handgun shooting distance is to train your mind that the target is just smaller, not further away. The distance challenge can change the mind’s perspective on handgun shooting and cause less accuracy than simply viewing it as a smaller target at the same range. Also, our perception of a threat not standing squarely to us, presenting a quarter turn or only their side, can change our perception of how to hit the target when we can simply view it as slimmer; center mass is center mass. Those are some mental things to consider for practice; it may help.

Shooting at items you can find in the trash.

Here’s the Big-Little Drill, you can always improvise or modify targets as resources dictate:

I have no idea if this is a real drill or if my drill instructor in the police academy made it up, but it’s fun. For this drill, you can use metal targets or random bottles and other items laying around asking to be shot at. This is an accuracy drill, so you start out with the largest item on the left and move to the smallest on the right.

Mixing the sizes up or shooting from the outside in or inside out for subsequent rounds is a good idea.

I set mine up at 25 yards to make it more fun. I normally use a pop bottle or milk jug followed by a 16oz bottle or something comparable. Next a pop can and then a shotgun shell for the smallest item. If you want to add more items in there, go ahead. The idea is to start with the biggest item and move to the smallest. This drill will also work with rifles, you just set it up further out.

I have metal targets in different sizes, but there is something more satisfying about watching the bottles fly through the air when you hit them. I like to run this drill with my lever action rifle at 50 yards and 75 with my AR-15. One of my old instructors would use the drill at the end of the day so we could shoot at the bottles and cans from our lunch break. Golf balls are also fun to shoot at if you want a really small target.

Check out his other drills at the link, and remember, gun time is a fun time.

What is “Training”?

10 months ago

Cornered Cat:

Words mean things. For example, the word “training” does not mean the same thing as the word “education.” In the same way, the word “practice” does not mean the same thing as “training”, and neither one is the same as “testing.”

Education, training, practice, and testing are all needed for robust physical skills development. But none of these words means the same thing as any other.

The word “training”, in particular, has so often been abused by shooters that it has all but lost its actual meaning. This is too bad, as it expresses a really important concept.

What is “training”?

Let’s look at the word’s meaning in other domains:

Driver education happens in a classroom. It is followed by driver training. Driver training happens on the road, with a teacher watching carefully from the passenger seat as you perform the skills you discussed in class.

College education also happens in classrooms. It is often followed by on-the-job training, which is supposed to involve a qualified other showing you the practical realities of doing the job you studied in school. The observer should look at the work you do and give you feedback on how you are performing the skills the job requires you to perform.

Proper definitions are always important; in them are the details of learning. The article covers training, practice, and testing. Read it all.

USMC Marksmanship: Parts One, Two, and Three

10 months, 1 week ago

All three articles are available here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The articles are detailed with graphics and data, providing excellent information for use in AR-related training if you can apply it. Each has a short related video. Video to Part One below.

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