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How To Train Yourself

How to Train Yourself: Range Drills

By Editorial Staff


At each firearms training class I teach, people ask how they can train on their own and what they can do so as to not waste time and money at the range. (Most people will go to the range with no plan, much like the gym.) Here is what I recommend to maintain a level of combat proficiency. 


First, dedicate 30 minutes each week to “dry practice,” spending half of that time with a pistol and the other half with a rifle. Use a barrel plug in your gun. (I don’t like dummy rounds and think that they are a recipe for a disaster, both on the training side and operationally.) You can even get a dedicated dry-fire gun from Glock. Use the same model gun and holster for all your dry drills. Don’t mix and match weapons, as this won’t serve you well in real life. Here is a link to barrel plugs.


Next, spend 30 minutes at the range for live fire once per month. While there, complete the following pistol drills (all drills listed can be done at 5–15 meters, depending on your ability).


With your first box of ammunition:

  • Five rounds slowly in quarter-square paper. Two-hand slow fire. Work on your sights, trigger, and grip.
  • Four rounds with one-hand slow and accurate fire. Support hand on your chest.
  • Five rounds from a high-ready position, one round at a time. Don’t move your body; just punch the weapon up and out. Get a follow-through trigger reset and sights.
  • Five rounds of draw-and-fire single shot. Same-size target for first-shot placement guarantee. Work on your draw times.
  • Three magazines with three-four rounds each. Draw and fire full magazine as fast as you can hit an “A” zone ISPCA target. Work on your rhythm sets and shot breaks. Goal is .20–.33 breaks consistently.
  • Three magazines with four rounds each. Draw and fire three to the body and one to the head. Work on your transition times, draw times, and shot breaks.
  • Two magazines with six rounds each. Shoot three to the center mass, two to the pelvic area, and one to the head to finish.

With your second box of ammunition:

  • Five rounds, with one round in each magazine. Draw and fire one round to your head target (index card). Change magazine four times, for a total of five rounds. Use a shot timer. Draw should take less than 3 seconds from concealment facing 90 degrees away. Each magazine change should take 3 seconds or less.
  • Two magazines with nine rounds each. Two staggered targets (e.g., one at 7 meters and one at 12 meters). Draw and fire three rounds to the center mass of target one, transition to target two for another four rounds, then back for a head shot, one at each target.
  • Three magazines with three, four, and five rounds each. These are rhythm drills to achieve shot breaks between a maximum of .33 and ideally .20. Focus on rhythm. Once you can do this well, just use magazines of five rounds and increase distance.
  • Ten rounds in one magazine. Start with the gun out in two hands extended. Then bring it in and put it in the support hand. Punch it out single handed and fire two rounds. Next, bring the gun back in and go back to your strong hand but don’t fire. Then repeat the process five times (for a total of ten rounds, all fired from your support hand).
  • Seven rounds divided in two magazines of three and four (mix them up). Practice walking with your weapon at the high ready, as if searching an unsecured area. Use a flashlight in your non-shooting hand. Start 15–20 meters from your target. Walk in search mode and engage your target with one of the two magazines, allowing the reload to surprise you. Repeat.

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