Shooting Skills Baseline Drills, Round 1: 5×5, Bill Drill, F.A.S.T.

After fighting busy-ness and weather for a week, I was finally able to get out to the range this past weekend to begin shooting the baseline drills I will use to monitor my progress toward my goal of shooting better in 2018. It was a breezing 39 degrees at 14:30 but I pressed ahead with my plan.

You will recall that I am tracking my progress using drills taken from the list of “minimum competency drills” suggested by Karl Rehn and John Daub on the Handgun World Podcast recently and those being demonstrated by Chris Baker and John Johnston as part of Lucky Gunner’s “Start Shooting Better” series.

I shot 3 drills Saturday at my home range, Veterans’ Range in Mocksville, NC:

  1. 5 x 5 Drill
  2. Bill Drill
  3. F.A.S.T.

Equipment from my “reverse sponsorship” deals (I pay THEM to use their equipment): Glock 17 (with brand new Ameriglo Spaulding sights), American Eagle 124 gr full metal jacket ammunition, a leather OWB holster from my former holster guy who I won’t name, and a spare magazine in a belt-mounted Wilderness Tactical double-stack Pistol Mag Pouch.

Zero stoppages or malfunctions. All shooting errors were my own.

1. 5x5x5x5x5

Five shots in five seconds from five yards on a five inch target with five total strings of fire. I shot this drill five times from low ready per Karl Rehn’s suggestion, then once from concealment after I had met the standard in the first five reps.

1. 4.84 seconds total, 1.55 seconds to first hit

2. 4.87, 1.25

3. 4.61, 1.25

4. 4.72, 1.24

5. 4.20, 1.11

6. 5.55, 2.80 (from concealment)

2. Bill Drill

From 7 yards, draw from concealment and shoot six rounds in five seconds in the -0 down zone of an IDPA target. Par time = 5 seconds (according to Rehn).

I shot the drill 4 times and met the par time just once.

1. 5.38 seconds, 2.55 seconds to first hit, -0 down

2. 5.56, 2.93, -0 down

3. 4.96, 2.34, -0 down

4. 5.02, 2.30, -2 down

3. F.A.S.T. or F.A.S.Test

From 7 yards, draw from concealment and fire 2 rounds on a 3×5 target, slide-lock reload, then fire 4 rounds on an 8″ circle. Par time: 10 seconds (per Rehn).

I ran the test twice and did not meet the par either time, and in the second run missed one of the shots on the 3×5.

1. 11.20 seconds, 3.49 seconds to first shot

2. 10.56 seconds, 3.54 seconds to first shot, 1 miss on 3×5

Counting some warm up shooting and goofing around, I shot 150 rounds total in one hour, plus 30 minutes setup and 30 minutes tear down and documentation, for a total of two hours at the range.

Lessons Learned

Of course I wanted to shoot better, but I am going into this year with the understanding that I am a mediocre shooter with a lot of room for improvement. So, it was important for me not just to establish a baseline, but to learn some lessons from this trip to the range.

What I learned:

  1. I am slow to get my first hits on target, especially from concealment (but drawing from the holster in general I am sure). Times to first hit ranged from 1.21 seconds on average from low ready on the 5×5 drill to 2.53 seconds from concealment on the Bill Drill. And when I tried to speed up on the last Bill drill, I got 2.30 seconds to the first hit, but I missed the -0 zone with that shot and then over-corrected and sent the next shot low of the -0.
  2. When drawing from the holster, I frequently did not get a good firing grip on the gun from the start. A couple of times I could feel the gun moving in my hand as I was pressing out to the target on the Bill Drill.
  3. I could not reliably hit a small target (the 3×5 card) from 7 yards under time pressure. Need to work on target acquisition and trigger control.

Basically, shooting these drills revealed that every aspect of marksmanship fundamentals needs work.

Going forward: Shoot the rest of the baseline drills; weather looks great this coming Friday and Saturday. Until then, dry practice and begin Mike Seeklander’s American Competitive Shooting Society IDPA Mastery Series One program.


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