The Forty-Five – Defensive Handgun Drill

I call my version of the adrenalin dump drill “The 45 Drill” because the drill has four elements of five; five shots at a five inch circle at five yards in five seconds. Draw a five inch circle on a target or download the target at the bottom of this page and place it on the white side of a cardboard IPSC target. Start the drill with you handgun holstered, the way you commonly carry it. If you pocket carry, start with your hand on the gun.

Download target and find link for Surefire shot timer at bottom of page.

Scout Rifle Workout – Carbine/Hunting Rifle Drill

This drill is specifically designed for ARs or Scout Rifles but will also work for sporter weight hunting rifles. Download and print the target at the bottom of the page and staple it to the white side of a cardboard IPSC target or an animal target at 50 yards. Start standing with the rifle at the low ready. At the signal fire one shot from the standing position, one shot from kneeling, one shot from sitting and one shot from prone. The goal is to keep all four shots inside the five inch circle in less than 30 seconds.

If you want to incorporate a reload and additional shots; after the fourth shot – the shot from the prone position – reload and reverse the drill firing four more shots with the last shot being from the standing position. The goal is to keep all eight shots inside the five inch circle in less than 60 seconds.

Head-Shot Cadence Drill – Defensive Handgun

Gunsite Instructor Il Ling New believes one of the best ways to train with a defensive handgun is to practice head shots at moderate to extended ranges; meaning as far out as 20 yards. At first blush this may seem a bit extreme but consider that if you can consistently and quickly get heads shots at these distances, center punching a troll at between three and five yards should be easy.

The most common way to practice head shots is to draw from the holster and fire a single shot at the head of a target. Action Target’s Steel Hostage Target works great for this because you can use either the square head of the silhouette or the flapper head that will swing from side to side when hit. This flapper target actually adds a new dimension to head shot training that is impossible to achieve just about any other way.

Regardless of the defensive handgun training that you conduct, training to only deliver one round is not tactically sound and does little to advance your skills, especially when working at varying distances. One question firearms instructors often get asked is, “How soon after my first shot should my next shot be?” In other words, students want to know what their shot cadence should be. The answer is of course as fast as you can get hits and this will vary as your ability increases.

With the Action Target Steel Hostage Target you don’t need a shot timer or an instructor telling you you’re shooting too slowly. Since the flapper target swings from side to side based on energy imparted to it by the bullet, the further away the target is, the slower it will flop over to the other side. The time it takes the target to flop lets the shooter recover from recoil and reengage the target at a new location.

This is realistic because it’s doubtful a bad guy will stand still while you are shooting at him and, the greater the distance to the target, the more time it will take you to recover and align your sights. This time is matched very well by the flapper target. If you are ready to shoot as soon as it reappears, you’re shooting fast enough and not too fast, if you get a hit.

Here is a simple drill you can use to practice head shots at varying ranges while fine tuning your shot cadence. Set Action Target Hostage Targets at 5, 15 and 20 yards. Start by practicing at each individual distance, engaging the flapper target only. After you are consistent at each range, engage all the flapper targets starting with the closest and moving to the furthest, with at least two shots each. More shots at each range are even better if your handgun has a higher capacity. If you only have two Action Target Hostage Targets or limited ammo capacity, place one at 5 yards and the other at 20.

You don’t need a shot timer; your goal is to engage each flapper target as soon as it reappears. Do this often and you’ll become at-one with your proper shot cadence at near and far ranges. This drill and the Action Target Steel Hostage Targets offer a simple, mechanical solution to a complex firearms training problem.

This drill was originally featured in the Action Target Journal





SHOT TIMER / TARGET DOWNLOAD: If you have an iPhone you can download the Surefire shot timer APP and use your iPhone as a shot timer. As for a target, make your own 5 inch circle by tracing around a CD with a thick felt tip marker or you can open and print the target here. It is suitable for use with all the Empty Cases drills. Use it alone or stapled over the white side of a cardboard IPSC target.

Click for info on SUREFIRE shot timer.

Clink on the image and print from the PDF file.

3 Responses to SHOOTING DRILLS

  1. Pingback: The Forty-Five Drill | EMPTY CASES


  3. Mike Wodjenski says:

    Great info Richard, can’t wait to see the others.

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