Drill of the Week: Changing Gears

27-Apr-08 – 15:55 by ToddG

This week, we’re going to readdress some of the issues from Tracking Your Sights and Tracking Your Sights II in January.  Sometimes you can make perfectly good hits without much of a sight picture … or, in the case of the photo below, no sight picture at all!

This drill is intended to help shooters learn to change speeds as the situation requires. It uses two different size targets, a small (3×5 card) and a large (8″ plate). A shot timer is used set to a par time that pushes the shooter to shoot as quickly as possible while still getting hits. 3-4 seconds is a good start; once the shooter is getting a total of 5-6 hits per run, reduce the par time for a greater challenge.

There are two variants of the drill. Both should be practiced:

Slow-to-Fast
Draw, fire two rounds at the small target, then as many hits on the large target as possible before the par time runs out. This emphasizes a very precise draw and first shot, which is especially important on Traditional Double Action (DA/SA) guns. After hitting the small target twice, the shooter must speed up to get as many hits on the large target as possible within the par time.

Fast-to-Slow
Draw, fire two rounds at the large target, then as many hits on the small target as possible before the par time runs out. This emphasizes control, because the first two shots should be very fast and then the shooter should slow down to get his hits on the smaller target.

Be sure to switch out targets, especially the 3×5 card, often enough that you can get an accurate count of your hits each time.  If you don’t know whether you’re hitting the target, the drill won’t do you any good.

Alternative targets: other targets can be used to get the same effect (for example, the head box of an IDPA/IPSC target and the torso zone of the same) or two identical targets can be placed at different distances (e.g., 5 yards and 15 yards).

Remember, the point of this drill is to change gears as you change targets.  If your speed on the small & large targets is the same, you’re not doing it right.  Hitting the smaller target should take more time to guarantee hits; shooting at the larger target should give you an opportunity to push yourself.  You may not even be able to tell the difference yourself.  A partner, or reviewing the shot timer, should give you a better idea of your split times on the different targets.

Training with firearms is an inherently dangerous activity. Be sure to follow all safety protocols when using firearms or practicing these drills. These drills are provided for information purposes only. Use at your own risk.

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