It was a casual moment and I didn’t think much of it at the time. I’m not a coach to new shooters and certainly don’t hold myself out as one. So I simply rolled off the standard but typical answer, “Try shooting some one shot drills.”
I also elaborated that it’s useful to avoid trying to make the shot absolutely perfect. It isn’t all that helpful and generally it screws things up. And I further elaborated, he might want to start pulling the trigger just as soon as the target starts to turn without visual confirmation of even seeing the bullseye.
Three days later I had a chance to watch him clean his first Timed Fire target during a league match. … Dennis was justifiably tickled pink; he had the courage to try something new and worked at it.
I was elated to see my friend accomplish a new skill set. And later, I and several others proudly signed his cleaned target.
The entire process reminded me that very few people actually do drills or train. Most seem to be lost in the wilderness by simply practicing.
During my time on the practice range I see so many of my peers who do very little to help elevate their abilities. I don’t know if they’re adrift, never sought guidance, stuck in a rut—or at the very least—play this game for a different reason than I do. Which I’m certain many do.
Training and drills are good things, right?
If you’re a novice shooter here are a few of the most basic drills to get you started aside from dry firing.
Sounds simple enough, right? Just keep doing it until you can shoot 10 consecutive shots, one shot at a time, into the 10-ring. And if you can’t, just keep at it until you can.
Expect to fail. But once you mastered this drill not only will your sustained fire scores increase, so will your confidence while on the short line.
3) Shooting Thru the Donut Hole. Regardless whether you’re using a .22 or .45 this drill enhances your ability to quickly get up to speed on the short line.
Cutout the 10-ring from several sustained fire repair centers. Then place one on the backer at 25 yards with a corresponding hole. Yes, daylight should be seen through the target. Then go about and shoot a turning target set. Aim into the open area in either timed or rapid fire fashion.
Your goal is to try and avoid hitting the 9-ring.
Most novice shooters are quickly surprised to find out the vast majority of their shots fly right through that big gaping hole. And it does look like a big hole by simply viewing it from the firing line.
Many shooters using this drill discover their skill levels are much better than currently perceived. And it’s a confidence builder that easily translates to future matches.
Will there be an occasional failure? Sure. But the shooter’s attention should be placed on how well they performed with most shots. Shooters who use this drill sometimes get a unique epiphany. [I won’t ruin it for ya. You’ve got to find out for yourself.]
Here are some final thoughts.
One thing everybody notices about drills is—they’re excruciatingly dull. You don’t get a score, there’s generally no exhilaration from an unusually well placed shot, and there’s no real immediate feedback.
Ah, but they do help. They promote good fundamentals whether you like it or not.
If you want a full-blown drill list, download the USMC Pistol Team Workbook. It’s basically a singular path laid out for novice shooters, where it’s nothing more than one drill after the other.