Friday Fundamentals 01 – Establishing Your Baseline

My friend Mark Luell, the author of Growing Up Guns suggested I provide a ‘Friday Fundamentals’ post weekly. We got the idea from my colleague Cecil Burch who wrote a blog post about Fundamentals. It’s a great idea to stay in touch with the basics.

The first installment is Session 01 of my Pistol Practice Program – Establishing Your Baseline. As in any journey, you have to know where you’re starting from before you can get to where you want to go.

The objective of this drill is to determine what distance you can make 100 percent hits on the vital area of a silhouette target. My feeling is that we need to work on achieving 100 percent accuracy because errant rounds in our homes or neighborhoods could be a major problem. Since I also think the first shot is the most important, I structured the session with a lot of first shots but also included multi-shot strings. A lot of people ‘walk their rounds’ into the target even with handguns. This is a huge problem and liability.

IL Qual w M39We don’t count hits on the head in this drill because they are actually misses if you are aiming at the body. The head is more than a foot away from the center of the body, if you hit the head when you’re aiming at the body, it’s just a lucky shot and doesn’t count in terms of performance measurement.

Required equipment:
Any silhouette target; B-27, B-21, Q, IDPA, IPSC, etc.
Masking tape (preferred) or magic marker to mark the target.
Pistol, 50 rounds of ammunition
Eye and ear protection
Overview
This drill consists of five (5) Sequences of 10 shots each. The Sequences are untimed.
Setup:
Place target at three (3) yards
Start loaded with five (5) rounds only.
Procedure:
The starting position is Low Ready. This means the pistol is aimed at the floor below the target. For double action pistols, you will decock after each Step.
Sequence 1 (10 rounds)
1) Start with handgun held in both hands, aimed at the floor below the target. Spare magazine loaded with 5 rounds or speedloader with 5 rounds or 5 loose rounds on the bench.
2) Bring the pistol up on target and fire 1 shot at the center of target. Followthrough for one second, then return to low ready. Decock, if appropriate.
3) Bring the pistol up on target and fire 2 shots at the center of target. Followthrough for one second, then return to low ready. Decock.
4) Bring the pistol up on target and fire 3 shots at the center of target. After two shots, the pistol will be out of ammunition. Reload it and fire the third shot. Followthrough for one second, then return to low ready. Decock.
5) Bring the pistol up on target and fire 4 shots at the center of target. After the shots, the pistol will be out of ammunition. Hopefully, the slide has locked back if it’s an autoloader.
6) Place your pistol down on the bench.
7) Bring your target back and mark all the hits, preferably with tape but a marker will do.
8) Write on the target how many hits you made in the body scoring area. I prefer to not count the outer scoring area as I mentioned in Why I hate the -3 zone. Use this format, (3) X/10, X being the number of hits. For this drill, do not count any hits in the head, they are actually misses.
Sequence 2 (10 rounds)
1) Send the target out to 5 yards.
2) Repeat Sequence 1 but with the target at 5 yards instead of 3 yards.
3) When you write on the target how many hits you made in the scoring area, it will be (5) X/10. The number in parenthesis is the distance in yards.
Sequence 3 (10 rounds)
1) Send the target out to 7 yards.
2) Repeat Sequence 1 with the target at 7 yards.
3) Write on the target how many hits you made at 7 yards. (7) X/10
Sequence 4 (10 rounds)
1) Send the target out to 10 yards.
2) Repeat Sequence 1 with the target at 10 yards.
3) Write on the target how many hits you made at 10 yards. (10) X/10
Sequence 5 (10 rounds)
4) Send the target out to 15 yards.
5) Repeat Sequence 1 with the target at 15 yards.
6) Write on the target how many hits you made at 15 yards. (15) X/10

When you finish the drill, record your score for each yardage. Make this a part of your practice record. Shooting this exercise will give you a good idea of what your current proficiency level is. That’s an important starting point.

12 responses

  1. This is an untimed drill, but for the purposes of this baseline are 2 second splits acceptable? 1 sec, .5, .25? Thank you for all the great information you are putting out. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. This is an untimed diagnostic, but for the purpose of this baseline is it acceptable to have 2 second splits? 1sec? .5? .25? Obviously we want to have a good hit as soon as we can, but in this case is there a ballpark time?

    1. Whatever time you can make 100 percent hits in. There will probably be a considerable variance in the times between 3 yards and 15 yards.

  3. Reblogged this on Growing Up Guns and commented:
    I’m glad The Tactical Professor decided to start doing this. It seemed obvious to me that a such a skilled shooter who is as ardent about emphasizing the fundamentals as Claude is, would have an easy time of coming up with a weekly post about building those skills. I’m looking forward to this series.

  4. Then we forget about speed here and focus on accuracy, doesn’t it? Misses usually come with speed. I guess accuracy is first in the fundamentals and speed will come later.

    1. That’s correct. You are focusing on performing the best you can from the standpoint of accuracy.

  5. Reblogged this on The Obsession Engine and commented:
    The beginning of a series of tips from my friend and instructor. I like the idea of doing these drills in a basement or garage with an airsoft gun as well. You can use reduced size targets to simulate greater ranges.

  6. Reblogged this on Concealed Carry Lifestyle and commented:
    Great stuff here from Claude Werner

  7. […] Tactical Professor describes a great shooting drill you can use to establish baseline competency and track improvement over time.   I like drills like […]

  8. […] order to quickly evaluate the new sight, I decided to shoot the Tactical Professor’s Baseline Evaluation Drill. While I do follow Claude Werner’s blog, I actually first learned of the drill from Greg […]

  9. […] – I shot the Tactical Professor’s “Baseline Evaluation” drill today. The only malfunction occurred when I was loading from slide lock, again I had the slide hang […]

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