Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pistol Drill Skills

I started an article about the need for actual live-fire
firearms training versus just shooting the agency qual course over and over,
but it started to turn into a rant and I am in a good mood. Instead, I am going
to post some challenging [airsoft] pistol skill drills that you can use on your own to
improve your shooting.

First of all, standard disclaimer. Know the Four Universal Firearms Safety Rules and follow them every time. Also knowand follow the regulations on the range where you are shooting. Know your own skill level and stay in your lane. You are accountable for every round that you
fire, and if you ever get into a real world shooting, every round you have ever
fired will end up in the same place – in court. Like any physical skill,
only perfect practice makes perfect, so when you begin to get tired and sloppy
or fool around, it is time to be done for the day. Finally, the best way to
practice these drills is with a partner who can keep time, call the course and
critique your form and hits. For live fire, a shot timer works better than a
stopwatch and whistle, but use what you have.

Some tools for pistol skill drills; snap caps, Airsoft
pistol, CO2s.

Dry fire is the best training you can get, and it is almost
free. Some additional safety rules apply when conducting dry fire. All live
ammo must be secured in another part of the building. Training partners should
then check each other for live ammo. No “I trust you, Dude” – actually check to
make sure no live ammunition is present. When conducting dry fire, have a
backstop capable of stopping whatever round your weapons fire. Remember that
sheetrock and 2x4s stop almost nothing. Old body armor, hung behind the dry
fire targets, is ideal. You want to do 70-80% of your training dry, and 20-30%
live fire. Focus on the fundamentals – Solid grip, aggressive forward stance,
and a smooth trigger press while maintaining sight alignment/sight picture.
Start off slow and concentrate on good form. Smooth is fast.
I am a huge believer in Airsoft as a training tool. My
preferred training progression for these drills is Dry Fire – Airsoft – Live
Fire. Another advantage is that Airsoft allows you to shoot these drills if you
are prevented from shooting them live by range configuration, lack of access to
live ammo or weapons, the cost of ammo, or cranky old guy Armory Staff.
Remember to ALWAYS wear eye pro when shooting Airsoft. Don’t be that kid from
“A Christmas Story”.
My all-time favorite [airsoft] target is the plastic lid
from a Folger’s coffee can. They can be stapled or taped up almost anywhere,
take up next to no space in your range bag, will take a bunch of [airsoft] hits from live
rounds before they fall apart, and can also be used with a sharpie to make a
reasonable “A” zone on a TRANSTAR target. The coffee can lid is about 8″ in
diameter, perfectly sized for practicing [airsoft] center mass chest hits, and they make
a satisfying SMACK when you ding them with Airsoft – almost like shooting steel
reactive targets with live fire. The best part is that I have yet to see an
agency that doesn’t have those red Folger’s cans in abundance. If it’s free,
its for me!
Now for the drills;
Hackathorn Standards ([airsoft] Pistol)
Course Designer: Ken Hackathorn (Contract SFOD-D and FBI-HRT Firearms
Source: Larry Vickers (former SFOD-D Lead Firearms Instructor)
300 Points 60 Rounds No Make Up Shots
IPSC Target (or sub an 8″ round target for the “A” zone/head):
A = 5 C = 3 D = 2 Entire Head = 5
All stages start holstered unless otherwise noted.
250+ Expert
200-249 Acceptable
Below 200 Needs Improvement
Overtime shots do not count for score
Targets: 3 IPSC, 1m spacing, staggered medium-high-low
#1–5 yards–1 rd on each head from draw freestyle–3 sec
#2–5 yards–1 rd on each head strong hand–4 sec
#3–5 yards–1 rd on each body strong hand–3 sec
#4–5 yards–1 rd on each body strong hand–3 sec
#5–8 yards–2 rds on left target freestyle–2 sec
#6–8 yards–2 rds on center target freestyle–2 sec
#7–8 yards–2 rds on right target freestyle–2 sec
#8–10 yards–El Presidente; start facing uprange w/6 rds in gun, turn and draw,
2 rds each target, slide lock reload, 2 rds on each target–10 seconds
#9–10 yards–weak hand pickup; gun on ground, butt to strong side, start
standing, strong hand in small of back, retrieve handgun, 1 rd on each target–5
#10–12 to 8 yards–2 rds each target while moving forward from 12 yds–5 sec
#11–15 yards–transition drill; start with hands at shoulder level as if holding
rifle (Holding an empty rifle or Blue Gun is better), 1 rd on each target–4 sec
#12–20 yards–start standing; drop to prone, 2 rds on each target–10 sec
#13–25 yards–start behind barricade; 2 rds on each target standing, perform
tactical reload under cover(retain/stow partial mag), 2 rds on each target
kneeling–24 sec

Hackathorn 3-second Head Shot Standards ([airsoft] Pistol)
Range: 5 yd
Target: 3 IDPA or IPSC Targets, shoulder height, two foot
Rounds: 9Par Time: 3 Sec All Strings
1. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target,
2. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target,
3. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target,
middle target then outside targets in any order.
Hits after Par count as misses. Minimum 7 hits to
CSAT Pistol Instructor Standards
Course Designer/Source: Paul Howe, SFOD-D Veteran of
Mogadishu, Owner/Lead Instructor of CSAT
All shot at 7 yards except for string 10.
1. Ready, 1 shot, 1 target- 1 SEC
2. Holster, 1 shot, 1 target – 1.7 SEC
3. Ready, 2 shots, 1 target – 1.5 SEC
4. Ready, 5 shots body, 1 shot head, 1 target – 3 SEC
5. Ready, 2 shots x 2 targets – 3 SEC
6. Ready, 2 shot weak/2 shots strong, 1 target – 5 SEC
7. Ready, 1 shot malfunction drill, 1 target – 3 SEC
8. Ready, 2 shots, reload, 2 shots, 1 target – 5 SEC
9. Rifle Up, Dry fire/transition 1 shot, 1 target – 3.25 SEC
10. Holster, 1 shot kneeling, 1 target, 25 yards – 3.25 SEC
Total: 25 Rounds
Must Pass 8 of 10 standards to receive a “go”

Too easy? Try them again low-light with your
Like anything else worth doing, challenging ourselves to reach the next level of proficiency with a pistol is hard work. It takes a commitment to putting in the reps and pushing beyond
“minimum standards” both from a personal and agency perspective. Bad guys will
not pro-rate the effort that they put into killing you based on your CDI
factor. Can you imagine? “These guys are only patrol, they aren’t SWAT- I am only
going to try 50% to kill them.” A gunfight is a gunfight, and your worst has to
be better than the bad guy’s best. Train for it.

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