Drill of the Week: Accuracy

2-Dec-07 – 22:11 by ToddG

Beginning this week, we will put up a specific drill every Sunday (or Monday) to help develop a particular skill. To start things off, we’re going to begin at the beginning … marksmanship fundamentals.

For a target, we’ll use a cheap 3×5 card. They make outstanding targets because they are available at any office supply or grocery store, they’re cheap, and they do a good job approximating the size & shape of an ocular window so they are great for “head shot” targets.

Put up three cards at a distance of three yards.

Slowly and deliberately fire six shots at the center card, using a 2-handed grip and stance. Your goal is to shoot the tightest, most accurate group you can. Aim for the center of the card every shot … do not “chase” bullet holes as this will just distort your group and make it difficult to assess what imperfections you may have in your technique. Ideally, all six bullet holes should be touching. At the very least, all six shots should be on the card. If you cannot go six-for-six on the card, you need to slow down and focus more deliberately on your sight alignment and trigger press.

Once you’ve shot six on the center card successfully, shoot six rounds at the card on the right, shooting with your right hand only. Then shoot six at the card on the left, shooting with your left hand only.

A special note for shooters using TDA (Traditional Double action, aka “DA/SA”) pistols: you should fire each string as three pairs. So you fire DA, SA, DA, SA, DA, SA. This gives you equal practice with both the double- and single-action trigger pulls on your gun as well as gaining proficiency transitioning from the double-action shot to the single-action shot.

In just 18 rounds, you’ve practiced and tested your accuracy shooting freestyle, strong-hand only, and weak-hand only. Compare the size of your groups and see where you need to devote more practice time. Part of becoming a better shooter means spending more time practicing the things we do the worst, instead of always practicing the things we already do well.

(this is just a variation of the 3×5 Card Drill listed on the main drills page)

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.

  1. 4 Responses to “Drill of the Week: Accuracy”

  2. Todd, I thought I’d go out and try this drill with the 226. Starting at 3 yards, I’m able to keep all the SA shots right on top of each other.

    Its that pesky DA shot thou! Throwing them low, right at six o’clock consistently.

    Any advice for me?

    By JLM on Mar 11, 2008

  3. First thing I’d recommend, work on the Wall Drill with the DA stroke until you’ve eliminated the movement of your front sight during the trigger break.

    Assuming you’re right handed: make sure you’re not squeezing with your whole hand as you press the trigger. Only hold the gun in your strong hand with about as much force as you’d use to shake someone’s hand. If you find your grip tightening as the trigger is pressed, that could be throwing the shots off as you describe.

    If you’re left handed, it’s most likely just common trigger jerk. Be smooth and slow pressing the trigger straight back, waiting for the gun to go off.

    The best way to get good at the DA shot is to shoot the DA shot a lot!

    By ToddG on Mar 12, 2008

  4. Kind of a newbie question that probably doesn’t matter but when you say 3 yards is that measured from your feet or the front of the firearm (front or back of the bench), makes 2-3 feet difference for a tall guy like me. Just found this site and going to be giving these drills a try.

    By AKWintermute on Jun 4, 2009

  5. AKWintermute — Distance to the target is measured from your feet.

    By ToddG on Jun 4, 2009

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