Drill of the Week: F.A.S.T.

16-Nov-08 – 00:30 by ToddG

To celebrate our new Challenge Coins, this week’s DotW is the F.A.S.T. (aka the Fundamentals, Accuracy, and Speed Test). The F.A.S.T. is a simple, easy to set up drill that tests a number of different skills in just a few seconds. The draw, reload, marksmanship, speed, and the ability to switch gears are all covered in this six shot drill.

Targets are a 3×5 card (which is the “head”) and an 8″ circle (the “body”). Range is seven yards. A shot timer is needed for the drill.

The drill is shot either from concealment (vest, untucked shirt, etc.) or using a retention duty holster with all retention devices in use. Starting position has the shooter facing downrange towards the targets, hands relaxed at his sides. The pistol is loaded with exactly two rounds. On the buzzer:

  1. draw
  2. fire two rounds at the 3×5 box
  3. perform a slidelock reload
  4. fire four rounds at the 8″ circle
Score is based on time plus penalties for misses. Missing the head adds 2 seconds per miss. Misses to the body add 1 second. Only the first two shots can count as hits on the head; only the last four shots can count as hits on the body. Extra (make-up) shots are not allowed.

Open-top retention holsters (e.g., Blackhawk SERPA, Safariland ALS) add an additional 0.50 to the shooter’s time unless the shooter wears a concealment garment. (e.g., if the shooter scores 7.00 seconds with no misses, his calculated score is 7.50 seconds total)

For duty gear, using both a standard duty retention holster (e.g., Safariland SLS, SSIII) as well as flap/retention magazine pouches awards a 0.50 reduction in recorded time. (e.g., if the shooter scores 7.00 seconds with no misses, his calculated score is 6.50 seconds total)


  • 10+ seconds: Novice
  • less than 10 seconds: Intermediate
  • less than 7 seconds: Advanced
  • less than 5 seconds: Expert

Give it a try and let us know how you do!

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.


photo coutesy of Jack-imageX, used with permission

  1. 13 Responses to “Drill of the Week: F.A.S.T.”

  2. I’ve shot a bunch of these. Great drill.

    My best was a 4.26 and a 4.74, but alas they were not from concealment. I’ll have to get my duty rig out and run it with that – I sincerely doubt I’ll break 5.0 very often with the magazine pouch I have setup right now, but I’ll get it.

    Slingshotting the damned slide adds some time, but I don’t think there is a better way to do it.

    By MHCPD on Nov 16, 2008

  3. Todd – What’s the distance between the index card and the plate? Is it just “I’ll put one here, and the othern thar”? :)

    I’m going to try this with the P6, just for grins.

    By revchuck on Nov 18, 2008

  4. I’ve been practicing this drill with my Walter P99 AS lately. :) My mag changes have improved drastically, along with my accuracy!

    Any recommendations for a nicely priced shot timer? It’s no fun to practice this and have no idea how I am improving!

    By Phil on Nov 19, 2008

  5. revchuck — It’s not important because you’re performing a reload in between the two targets. The most common setup is to use an IDPA target for the 8″ circle and paste the 3×5 card in the center of the head. But any configuration where the two targets are more or less that distance from one another should work.

    Phil — I’m very partial to my CED7000.

    By ToddG on Nov 19, 2008

  6. try #1: 11.87 sec (including penalties)
    try #2: 11.78 sec (including penalties)

    Thanks for taking time out from your training to time me Todd!

    By lindertw on Nov 19, 2008

  7. lindertw — If not for the slide thing, you would easily have hit sub-10 second times. Funny how our fingers do strange things under even just the minimal stress of a shot timer, eh?

    By ToddG on Nov 19, 2008

  8. I ran the drill cold yesterday, first thing I shot when I got to the range:

    #1: 4.75 seconds clean (1.54 draw, .60 head split, 1.93 reload, .23, .23, .22 splits)

    #2: 4.67 seconds clean (1.51 draw, .59 head split, 1.91 reload, .23, .22, .21 splits)

    By ToddG on Nov 21, 2008

  9. I messed around with this at my last two range sessions. I say “messed around” due to the fact that I shot it in an indoor range with other shooters nearby, so I didn’t time it. The first time was with a SIG P6, the second with a M&P9. I used the same ammo with both guns.

    Going from a head shot on an IDPA or USPSA target (36 square inches) to the 3×5 card (15 square inches) is a big slowdown. I had to really concentrate with the P6 due to the gritty DA trigger. I have to wonder how much of that grit is due to the bar the mainspring encircles…and yes, I’d love some cheese with that whine. 😉 I expected the M&P to be much quicker, but it wasn’t, since I discovered that I had a problem with my head position for the first shot. I speeded up once I pulled my head from where it was inserted. The reloads were much quicker with the M&P due to the bigger gazinta hole, and this was in spite of the more restrictive cover garment I was wearing (pseudo-Hawaiian shirt with the front buttoned, as opposed to the open front Eddie Bauer fleece vest with the P6).

    For me, the main benefit of this drill was the re-affirmation of the need to do everything right for the first shot. The other five shots and the reload are a relative cakewalk.

    By revchuck on Nov 24, 2008

  10. Todd,

    Your times look like mine do – but a LOT more consistent, and shot from concealment instead of my cheating. My 4.26 had sub .20 splits and a clean reload on a solid draw. My hang up in terms of consistency is the mag change – I love my Glocks, but they are not lefty-friendly and I fumble reloads more than I should.

    Nice to see you are taking your time on the second head shots – I thought I might be too slow but vertical dispersion has always been my weakness – if you mounted the 3×5 vertically I could probably cut down to .40 for the head splits, but I’m sure I’d lose it somewhere else….

    I’ve run a bunch of guys on my PD through this and it sure is easier to setup than the IDPA Classifier…

    By MHCPD on Nov 28, 2008

  11. chuck — For what it’s worth, the drill was originally designed with traditional double action guns such as your P6 in mind. That’s the whole reason the 3×5 card is shot first … it challenges you to be perfect with that DA stroke. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve had more than a few IPSC GM’s comment on how much that 3×5 card makes them slow down.

    MHCPD — Very gratifying to hear that your department is using the test, even if it’s informal! Goes without saying, if your problem is an inconsistent reload … you need to practice your reloads. I’m totally sympathetic, when I switched from open-front carry to closed-front carry I had to re-learn my reload technique and it still costs me about half a second compared to using a vest. So you’re not the only one who needs to practice!

    By ToddG on Dec 4, 2008

  12. Well, I was consistently in the high eight/low nine second range with my S&W M67. Occasionally had problems with the ammo – .38 Special +P Blazer Cleanfire that I’m using up. I’d end up with powder in the chambers and under the extractor star after about three-four runs. I need to re-try this with my (much cleaner) handloads. 😉

    BTW, this drill is (probably unintentionally) revolver-friendly. You start with two rounds, shoot, reload, shoot four…which conveniently leaves you with two rounds to start the next run.

    By revchuck on Dec 12, 2008

  13. revchuck — You know, I have never had a student shoot this drill with a revolver. Never. But we do actually have a contingency plan in place for it, giving the revo shooter an extra second due to the reload. Probably makes it unrealistically easy for someone like Jerry Miculek but for normal mortals it seems fair.

    By ToddG on Dec 12, 2008

  14. I printed the fast sheet on a 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper and the circle doesnt measure 8″. I tried the drill a few times so far(no concealment )with out a real timer did video it looks like about 5 sec.I’d like to have some one critque the video I could send it to themit will play with quick time
    It’s a geat drill. Thanks

    By msb on Aug 11, 2009

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