Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pistol Drills For When Your Options Are Limited

I have run into a bit of a dilemma.  The range that I frequent the most does not allow for rapid fire or drawing from a holster.  In fact, a lot of the ranges in my area do not.  So, I have been forced to make do until I can secure a location or a range that will allow me to practice everything that I have been taught at pistol training courses.

I have a sneaking suspicion that others at one time or another have found themselves in this position.  I hope it is not as often as it seems to be for myself.  I wanted to share some drills that you can still run at ranges with strict rules.  Here is what I have been doing outside of the fundamentals of sight alignment, trigger control, breathing, etc.

The Ball and Dummy Drill

I have heard that Larry Vickers made this drill popular with others.  The Ball and Dummy Drill is a good way to diagnose and fix any kind of flinching that may be occurring during your firing cycle.  With your back turned away, have your partner either load or not load a magazine with one round.  The partner will then load the gun without you knowing whether or not a round is chambered.  Once this is done, have your partner watch for any flinching that may occur.  Sometimes your partner may miss a flinch when you know that you did indeed flinch.  Do not game this!  If you flinch, perform ten good dry fire drills.  Repeat as necessary.  If you do not have a partner, then my suggestion is to load two out of five mags or so with one round, close your eyes, and pick one at random and load the magazine without looking.  Be sure to load the pistol on an open battery.  If you try to sling shot it on an already empty mag, the slide will stay locked open and you will ruin the surprise!

Immediate Action Drill

This is a malfunction clearance drill.  I refer to it, as do many others, as Tap Rack Bang.  To set up this drill, load your magazine with 7 live rounds and 3 dummy rounds.  I like to use the dummy rounds from ST Action Pro as they are easy to see if you are on a range that has grass or some vegetation.  Do not load dummy rounds consecutively.  I also recommend to not make the last round in a magazine a dummy round.  Speaking of which, this works best if you have a partner load them for you.  Once the magazine has been loaded, start your string of fire.  When you do not get a "BANG!" from your pistol, immediately (hence, "Immediate Action") smack the bottom of the magazine firmly in order to ensure it is seated, rack the slide to eject the bad round and continue firing.  Note that this is also a good tool to identify any flinching during firing.  If you flinched during the course of fire, then at the end of the magazine stop and perform 10 good dry fire drills.  Another tip:  On occasion, reverse the ratio of rounds so that there are 7 dummy rounds and 3 live rounds.  This will allow you to practice your dry firing more if needed.  It will also illustrate the inherent accuracy of not flinching when a round does go off (surprise!).

Quick First Shot Drill

How's that for a drill name?  :)  Since I am unable to draw my pistol from the holster at the range I frequent I try and do the next best thing.  I start the drill by holding the pistol in what some call the "meet and greet" position.  The "meet and greet" is the point in your draw where both hands have come together to support the pistol and all that is left is for full extension.  I then punch out the pistol and, as quickly as possible while maintaining combat accuracy, take my first shot.  Since I am not allowed to shoot controlled pairs, I simply focus on my front sight coming back down on the target and then return to the start position.  As always, if I find that I have flinched, I stop what I am doing and perform 10 good dry fire drills.

There you have it.  Those are three of the drills that I run outside of the normal fundamentals when my options are limited.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, then please feel free to share any drills that you run in the comments below.  Hopefully, I can run any drills you post without the Range Nazis Officers having a cow.

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