Random Day at the Range

Every now and then I like to post about a range day, although admittedly it has been a while.  I typically post quick results of things like “Dot Torture” on our Facebook page, but thought I would do a longer post this time.  My reasoning for doing so is three-fold.  First, I like to mention different drills that might be worth trying.  Going to the range without a plan (as opposed to what John posted way back when) is never a good idea.  I used to be that guy who just went to the range and made noise and a pile of spent brass.  Now I go with a plan (and a backup plan) geared toward what skills I would like to address/test.  My second reason for these types of posts is to show that I am just a regular dude, not some sort of super-sniper man who cannot miss.  I consider myself a slightly above average shooter, I suppose, with plenty of room for improvement.  My final reason for making such posts is as personal motivation.  The next time I post the results of these same drills, I will now have motivation to do better, since the “baselines”, if you will, are now immortalized on the web.

The Range Day

After the stress of dropping the cost of a quality AR with a good optic to a local plumber for an emergency, I had just enough time to drive the 30 minutes to the range where I can draw and fire…..if such a lane was available.  I was lucky on this day and such a lane was available.  I had brought three handguns with me and over 200 rounds of ammunition, along with all the targets I would need to perform several different drills that I had been wanting to try for some time.  Except for the last drill of the day as noted below, I shot all of these drills with a Glock 19 equipped with Ameriglo I Dot Pro sights.  I used a combination of Glock factory, Magpul, and, ETS magazines, and shot Freedom Munitions 124 grain FMJ ammunition.  My holster was the Raven Concealment Systems Eidolon, and I used a Raven Concealment magazine pouch on my belt under a short-sleeve button down Wrangler shirt.

The Drills

I decided to start with the Tom Givens (Rangemaster) Core Skills Test.  This is a test that requires a total of 40 rounds fired over 9 strings that can be shot on several different types of targets.  I chose an IDPA target and added a 4 inch diameter circle to the head box, per the instructions (I’ve read in various places online to use a 3 or 4 inch circle….I only had a 4 inch stencil available in my bag, so went with that).  This was the first time I ever shot this drill/test.  The course of fire is as follows:

1.       3 yards.…….From Holster……Sidestep and Draw……………………………….4 rounds

2.       5 yards.…….From Holster……Sidestep and Draw……………………………….3 rounds to chest, 2 to head

3.       5 yards……..From Ready……..Strong-hand only…………………………………4 rounds

4.       5 yards.…….From Ready………Support-hand only………………………..…….5 rounds

5.       7 yards……..From Holster…….Draw……………………………………………….….6 rounds

6.       7 yards…….From Ready……….3  rounds loaded, spare mag on belt……3 rounds/reload/3 rounds

7.       10 yards……From Holster…….Draw…………………………………………………..3 rounds

8.       15 yards……From Holster……..Draw………………………………………………….4 rounds

9.       25 yards……From Holster……..Draw………………………………………………….3 rounds

When completed, you add up your times from each string and then your score.  Your score on an IDPA target is scored 5 points in the down zero areas, 3 in the down 1 areas, and 1 in all other areas.  The head is scored 5 inside the circle and 3 outside the circle.  You then take your total points divided by total time, take that number and multiply it by 20, and that gives you your score.  There is then a range for how well you did:  80-100=Very Good, 100-124=Advanced, and 125+=Master.

My score was an 87.89, so pretty much in the middle of the “Very Good” category.  I had figured I would score as Advanced, but I took too much time on a few of the shots, particularly on the first shots of each string.  This issue would plague me all day. 

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IDPA target after shooting Tom Givens’ Core Skills Test

I really like this Core Skills Test, as it tests a pretty good variety of different skills.  It strongly skews to the closer ranges, which goes hand-in-hand with the statistics on which Givens focuses his training.  It requires both accuracy and speed, which is nice.  Finally, I like that it provides a “range” by which to judge your score.

I decided to stick with a Givens classic for my next drill and shot the Casino Drill.  Once again, I found a few different versions online, but the one I decided to use had Givens’ name right on it.  Set the special target at 7 yards (21 feet).  Load three magazines each with 7 rounds (21 total).  On the buzzer, shoot 1 round on target 1, 2 on target 2, etc., up to 6 rounds on target 6.  Obviously, you will have to reload twice.  After each reload, you have to finish whatever was remaining on the number you had been shooting.  The version I found said to start from the low-ready.  The goal is to complete it in 21 seconds (catching on to where the name of the drill comes from?).  This was the first time I ever tried the Casino Drill.  I shot the drill clean in 24.18 seconds.  There is definitely room for improvement.

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Target used for the Casino Drill.

My next drill was to run the Fundamentals, Accuracy, and Speed Test (F.A.S.T.).  The brainchild of the late Todd Green, this is a tough drill to shoot fast.  Using the special F.A.S.T. target (or just a 3×5 card oriented horizontally on the head of a silhouette target and an 8 inch circle on the chest), the drill is run as follows:  load pistol with only two rounds.  On beep, draw and fire two rounds into the head “card”, execute a slide-lock reload, and then shoot 4 rounds into the circle.  This is done at 7 yards.  The top pistol shooters in the world can do this drill in under 5 seconds (Gabe White, Mike Seeklander, etc.), earning an Expert rating.  There are many known names in the “Advanced” category (under 7 seconds), including Tom Givens, John Hearne, Ken Hackathorn, etc.  This was the first time I ever tried shooting the F.A.S.T.  I shot it clean in 7.14 seconds, which I thought was blazing (for me).  Again, however, it was that first shot that just about killed me; I felt like I was aligning my sights forever.

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The F.A.S.T. Target. Can be printed from Pistol-Training.com on 8 1/2 x 14 inch paper!

My next drill was to run Paul Howe’s CSAT Pistol Standards.  However, I was not able to shoot all of the strings in this course of fire due to several issues.  For example, one string requires shooting on two targets (I don’t think I’m allowed to rent two lanes and shoot on them both!), while another requires a switching of hands mid-string (I was using my  SHOTMAXX Timer on the accelerometer setting, which requires it to be worn on the firing wrist.  Changing it in the middle of a string was impossible, and using a regular shot timer at a public indoor range is problematic).  Also, one of the strings requires a carbine, as the string involves dry-fire of a carbine simulating a stoppage and then transitioning to the handgun.  I did not bring a long gun with me on this day and I am not really too sure how well the range officers would look upon it anyway.  Finally, I could not shoot the one string requiring dropping to a knee, as the bench was left in place in front of me by the RSO.

Because of all of this, I only shot 6 of the 10 strings.  I had shot portions of these standards once before.  All of these were at 7 yards using the standard CSAT target:

1.       From Ready………..….1 shot………………………………….…………………..1 second

2.       From Holster………….1 shot……………………………………………………….1.7 seconds

3.       From Ready……………2 shots……………………………………..………………1.5 seconds

4.       From Ready……………5/1 shots (5 to body, 1 to head)………………..3 seconds

5.       From Ready…………….1 dry-fire (malfunction), tap-rack 1 shot…..3 seconds

6.       From Ready……………..2 shots, slide-lock reload, 2 shots…………….5 seconds

In string one, I made my hit and did it in .97 seconds.  In string 2, I made both hits but I was just over with 1.72 seconds.  In string 3, I made both shots in 1.47 seconds.  In string 4, I put one of the rounds to the chest up into the head box, made all the other hits, and was over with a 3.71 seconds.  In string 5, I made all my hits with a time of 2.6 seconds.  In string 6, I made all my hits in 5.05 seconds. 

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CSAT Target after I shot 6 of the 10 standards

Overall, I was okay with my performance on these standards, passing 3 of the 6.  My accuracy was great on all but one shot, and I was only a touch slow on a couple of the strings.  I really like these standards as they are challenging but not impossible to achieve.  I will one day pass at least these 6 strings, and in the future I can do the kneeling string as well as the one involving the long-gun to pistol transition. 

My final drill of the day was the good old “Dot Torture” drill, a brainchild of Doug Blinder.  In recent months I had passed Dot Torture at 3 yards with a Glock 19 as well as my Glock 26.  On this day, I chose to try to pass it with my Glock 43, which I had never tried before.  Alas, I threw two rounds outside the circles (one with my left hand, the other on dot #7).  While I love to pass Dot Torture, I think my performance with the Glock 43 shows that it can definitely be done.  I just loss focus for two critical moments; no fault to the gun.

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Dot Torture

After completing the drills, I played around with some new magazines I am starting to test out, and called it a day.

Overall, I shot “okay” today.  I had hoped to do better on the Givens Core Skills Test, but can accept “Very Good” for now.  The Casino Drill was fun, and I look forward to trying it again in the future.  I suppose I was most pleased with my performance on the F.A.S.T., and would love to push my time under 7 seconds into the “Advanced” category.  I WILL pass the CSAT Pistol Standards one day!  I am definitely close, and I do believe I will soon pass Dot Torture at 3 yards with my Glock 43.

I hope you found information in this article useful, either introducing you to some drills or as some form of motivation.  In the coming weeks I hope to post up some similar articles as I explore some other drills.  As always, thanks for reading.  If you have any questions or comments, please write below or on our Facebook page.

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