Last Man Out

7-Sep-15 – 20:00 by ToddG

Students benefit from being put under pressure when shooting. One very common approach is the “man on man” exercise in which two shooters compete against one another. Here’s an example of Ernest Langdon and me shooting a drill I call “Action vs Reaction” in West Virginia a couple years ago. Each of us is trying to knock down the three plates on our respective side of the plate rack.

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There are some negatives to running man on man drills, however. They often rely on reactive targets and are designed primarily around just two shooters. In a class with 10-20 students, there is a lot of down time while waiting for your turn.

One outstanding idea comes from Tom Givens of Rangemaster. It doesn’t add time or complexity to running students through a drill, but it makes every rep count. It puts pressure on every student every time he engages the targets. Fail on accuracy or speed and you’re done; succeed and move on to the next run. You can think of it as Last Man Out. For simplicity’s sake, let’s suppose the exercise is to draw and hit an 8″ target at seven yards.

  1. Instructor gives the start signal.
  2. Students draw and fire.
  3. Anyone who doesn’t hit the target is out for the rest of the drill.
  4. The last person to fire a shot is out for the rest of the drill.

So every run at least one person (the guy who fires the last shot) is out. Anyone who didn’t score a hit is out, too. That means there is pressure to succeed on every run of the drill. Go too fast and miss, you’re out. Go too slow and hit last, you’re out. As the playing field gets smaller, the fastest and most accurate shooters rise to the top. The competition keeps getting harder.

It’s an excellent way to add student-vs-student pressure to drills without any special equipment or slowing down the class.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 7 Responses to “Last Man Out”

  2. The bad thing about it is, that the shooters who need to train the most, geht out in the beginning. Sometimes they fire only a few rounds. This is especially true if the skilllevel within the class isn’t homogenous.
    If you instead work with a decreasing par time, you achieve the same (pressure) but give every student a fair chance of getting some reps.
    For example draw and fire one shot. You could beginn with a 2 sec par time and work down from there.

    By Kontra on Sep 8, 2015

  3. I like it and I’ll use it with credits to the author of the idea.

    Thanks for the proposal.

    By Mohicane on Sep 8, 2015

  4. Vickers does that drill with paper targets, you miss the target zone, you’re out, last shooter out if no one missed. I thought it was a good way to reward a balance of speed and accuracy.

    By Brian on Sep 8, 2015

  5. I think it is a great idea. Kontra’s point about it excluding the lesser skilled shooters is true, but I find that an element of competition, as is introduced with such a drill, puts far more stress on the students than does only par times and that added stress is more beneficial than a few more repetitions.

    By Salvatore on Sep 8, 2015

  6. I would note that in the TG classes I have been in (3), “Last Man Out” is not part of every drill such that Kontra’s concerns re weaker shooters getting enough reps is completely and fully addressed. TG makes sure that everbody gets enough reps.

    By david barnes on Sep 8, 2015

  7. Weaker students are always going to be at a disadvantage in competition against stronger shooters. That what makes them weaker & stronger. It’s like having a student get crushed on a plate rack or dueling tree.

    The assumption that a few more reps is going to turn the worst shooter into an average shooter is probably misplaced. Classes can’t be designed around the worst shooter any more than they can be designed around the best shooter. There have to be segments that challenge everyone.

    By ToddG on Sep 8, 2015

  8. First, Last man standing is a great addition to any drill. Pumps up the pressure and engages everyone involved.

    Two additional observations;

    1)There’s no sin in getting knocked out by a better shooter. You won’t get better shooting against others of lesser ability.

    2)If you do get knocked out, watch and learn from the better shooters and figure out what you need to improve on. Take notes, ask questions and develop a plan.

    Getting beaten always made me want to go back, train harder and be better the next time.

    By WardS on Sep 8, 2015

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