It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted one of these articles (see some prior iterations here, here, and here). Though my writing productivity for the blog has slowed a bit in recent months, I am happy to say that I have been shooting a bit more than last year.
The biggest change I made this year was joining a range. In my case, I joined a local indoor range that is only about 10 minutes away from my home. This is not a private club, but a public range that also offers memberships. It is the range that I most frequently used over the years, but I never really considered joining until I found out that members are, once observed and cleared by the RSO, allowed to draw and fire. That was the key right there, but other factors (free handgun rentals) and the fact that I do not have to watch the clock when I am there (non-members get charged by the half-hour) had me convinced. Joining meant dropping the full membership fee all on one day, but just 4 months after joining, I have spent time there that, if I was paying by the half-hour as a non-member, would have been more than half of my membership fee. If we extrapolate that out, my break-even point (financially) will be at about the 8 month mark. Plus I get to draw!
So far this year, I have spent some time shooting drills or courses of fire that I have tried in the past. Doing so allows me to check my progress—or lack thereof—over time.
The Fundamentals of Accuracy and Speed Test is something I first tried a little over a year ago. The brainchild of the late Todd Green, it “tests” quite a few different skills in just 6 total rounds (two shots to the box, slide-lock reload, four shots to the circle, all from 7 yards). For the first time, I shot a F.A.S.T. in under 7 seconds (6.97). Technically, it doesn’t “count” because I did not shoot it cold. Indeed, I achieved the 6.97 mark on my third try (after dropping two rounds outside the scoring zones in each of my first two tries). Nevertheless, it does represent improvement, and I will look to continue to shoot this drill from time to time in order to continue to test myself.
I wrote an entire article just a few months ago on shooting the F.B.I. Qualification. I scored at their Instructor level with my Glock 17, 19, 26, and 43, but never shot a perfect score. More recently, I tried this course of fire again and achieved a 100% with one of my Glock 19s. While this course of fire is not overly challenging, it is just challenging enough that someone of my skill level cannot afford to screw around too much and still expect to do well.
I continue to play around with Dot Torture. Having passed it at 3 yards with several of my handguns, I have moved it out to 4 yards on several different range trips since last summer. Earlier this year I finally passed it with one of my Glock 19s. I plan to try to pass it with several pistols before I move it out to 5 yards.
“The Test” is a drill or test that I continue to revisit from time to time, and I wrote about it and its cousin, “The Super Test”, in a prior article. “The Test” is, from the ready, 10 rounds from 10 yards in 10 seconds, and I go by the Vickers scoring of requiring every round in the black. On this day, I shot it twice. I had two misses on my first run. On my second run I shot it clean but just over par at 10.88 seconds. However, I had to clear a stovepipe in my Glock on round 6, so I felt pretty good about my time. I did not, however, feel good about the stovepipe, a recurring problem of late on my OD Glock 19. More on that in an upcoming article.
Modified and New Drills
I have written about the Casino Drill in one of my prior “Random Days” articles, and I got to shoot it a number of times in Tom Givens’ Two-Day Combative Pistol class. My local range does not have these targets available, and being a cheap b*****d, I did not want to order any. As luck would have it, I discovered that the printer/copier at my workplace (shhhh) can print in color on 11”x17” paper. So I found a photo online of the DT2A target, saved it, sized it to fit on the 11×17 paper, and then ran off a bunch of copies. As the Casino Drill is supposed to be shot on a larger version of the target at 5 yards, I just use these at 3 yards. I’m too lazy to do the necessary algebra to figure out if this size target at 3 yards is the equivalent of the regular sized target at 5 yards, but it’s close enough for me. And cheaper. I have used these targets on two of my recent range trips, using the one shown in the photo to shoot the drill twice. My times on these reduced size targets tend to be close to 21 seconds (I did my clean run on this one in 21.58).
One of the other drills we shot in the aforementioned Givens class was what he calls the Parrot Drill. The idea behind the Parrot drill is to be able to fire quickly at larger and/or closer targets, but to be able to slow down a bit for intermediate targets, and slow down even more for smaller/more distant targets on demand. I made my own target, literally cutting and pasting circles of different sizes onto one sheet of 8 ½ x 14” paper. As you can see in the photo, the target includes a central 8 inch circle, a 4 inch circle above that, a pair of 2 inch circles in the upper corners, and then a pair of 1 inch circles (the Parrot Drill in class utilized circles of only three sizes, but I had the space for the two 1 inch circles, so figured why not?). I have started to set up my own drills utilizing this target, shooting pairs at the 8 inch, the 4 inch, and then one of the 2 inch and one of the 1 inch circles. So far, I have only been establishing an average so that I have a par time for myself to beat in the future (8.08 was my fastest clean from the draw so far). Though I have only shot this target from 3 yards, I can obviously vary the distance and also the number of rounds fired, or include all 6 circles instead of just 4 of them. I can also vary the order in which the circles are shot. Again, the idea is to vary the cadence of shots depending on the level of precision required.
In the coming weeks I will continue to revisit these drills as well as add a few others, new and old, so please stay tuned for updates. Hopefully, I will be writing about improvement on these many skills and drills. I should also add that the little league season is nearly over, so I can soon start adding some IDPA matches to my Saturdays!
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse.