Drill of the Week: Hackathorn 3-Second Standards

26-Oct-08 – 00:30 by ToddG

This week’s drill comes from one of the most talented and famous firearms instructors in the world, Ken Hackathorn. While Ken has been responsible for the creation and proliferation of many different drills over the years, his 3-Second Standards is incredibly easy to set up and administer. 

For this drill, you will need:

  • Three IDPA or IPSC (standard, not classic) targets
  • Shot timer with PAR time capability
  • Nine rounds of ammunition

Targets are placed at least two feet apart shoulder to shoulder at a range of five yards. PAR time is set to three seconds for each string. There are three strings of fire.

  1. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target, going from left to right
  2. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target, going from right to left.
  3. Fire one (and only one) shot at the head of each target, beginning with the middle target and then finishing with the two outside targets in any order.

A round anywhere in the scoring zone for the head (meaning both A and B zones for the IPSC target) counts as a hit. Shots fired after the 3-second PAR time count as misses. In total, you will fire nine rounds (three shots in three seconds, times three strings of fire).

Hackathorn considers a passing score to be seven hits, minimum.

Try the drill first from a standard ready position. If you can get all your hits, try it from a holster. If you can get your hits from the holster within the PAR time, try it from concealment.

Next week’s DotW will be an expanded version of this drill from Scott Warren.

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. 7 Responses to “Drill of the Week: Hackathorn 3-Second Standards”

  2. I started off my practice day today with this drill just for fun. I ran it 3 times – the first was as instructed 9 for 9 with my par runs being 2.1, 2.3, and 2.5. I ran it again at 7 yards 9 for 9 then again at 12 yards 9 for 9 – at 12yds the PAR time of 3 seconds was getting tight but still doable. Cool drill.

    By Bryan W on Oct 26, 2008

  3. BW — I assume that was from a holster. I think you’ll like next week’s drill. 8)

    By ToddG on Oct 27, 2008

  4. funny haha – yep…comptac paddle holster. No concealment though..just my production gear set up.

    Look forward to Scott’s version.

    By Bryan W on Oct 27, 2008

  5. Bryan,

    I keep on waiting for your advancing years to slow you down, but no such luck!


    By Wayne Dobbs on Oct 28, 2008

  6. trying to Reach Todd Green

    Todd: could you please call me. referred your way by an old bud from Sig who suggested I reach out. Working on a project that I could use your help with


    Tom Crahen

    By TomC on Oct 28, 2008

  7. Todd,

    Should the middle target be set higher or lower to keep all three heads from lining up on the X-Axis?

    I seem to remember you setting the middle higher at the Culpepper class but it may be my mind playing tricks.

    By Mike Puckett on Oct 1, 2009

  8. I think when Ken does it, he has the left target at 5 feet, the middle target at 6 feet, and the right target at 4 feet. But I could be remembering wrong. I’m seeing him in about a week in VA so I’ll get verification then.

    By ToddG on Oct 1, 2009

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