Over at Ammoland.com, Team Vertx 3 Gun Nation Pro Shooter Chris Andersen offers three target options for competitors looking to dial-up both their speed and accuracy. [Descriptions and recommendations after the jump.] Notice that the targets above are nestled in lush green grass. Not only does that tell you that Chris doesn’t train in the Texas summer, it highlights the simple fact that advanced shooting skills are more easily mastered in the great outdoors (weather dependent). Especially at ranges where you’re free to do whatever it is you like to do (as long as you don’t do something unsafe). I’d go so far as to say that . . .
most square ranges have very little to offer anyone training for armed self-defense, save practice on grip, stance, breathing, trigger control and weapon familiarity. I’ll go even further: standing still and shooting at paper targets trains you to . . . stand still and shoot at immobile targets. Not good. If you have to (i.e. if you face money and time issues) sacrifice regular square range practice for irregular outdoor work. Yeah, it’s that important.
Chris Anderson’s drills:
Pistol [image at top of the post]:
Start position: Pistol holstered, hands at sides. Upon start signal, engage 1 IPSC target at 7 yards with two rounds, then transition to two 4-6” steel plates at 15 yards.
The differences in speed between the two types of targets will be drastic. Forcing you to stay under control while transitioning between a high speed, target focus type shot, to an aimed hard sight focus shot. This setup will offer a number of different ways to shoot the drill as well. Starting on one of the difficult targets first, then transitioning to the high speed shot, and then back to the remaining difficult target is another option. Mixing up the drill forces you to keep thinking on your feet, and the large variance in speed will help you sharpen your focus and train you to stay under control.
Start position: Low ready. Upon the start engage an IPSC target at 10 yards with two rounds, then transition to an offhand shot on and 8-10” plate at 50 yards.
Just like the pistol drill, switch between starting on the slow and fast targets to keep yourself guessing. A ten yard rifle paper shot will be VERY fast, and the visual patience required to hit the offhand 50 yard steel will be invaluable in competition.
Offhand rifle shots are some of the best training opportunities available in all of shooting. The fundamentals they ingrain are incredibly important, and will carry over into every difficult shot that you ever take with your rife.
Start position: Port arms. Upon start signal engage 2 falling steel targets at 10 yards with birdshot and then transition to a third falling steel target obstructed by a no shoot plate in front that requires a careful hold-off to execute.
The shotgun is the most dangerous gun of all in my opinion when it comes to staying under control. The amount of forgiveness a good birdshot pattern can offer is great, but it is also very easy to get cocky and push too hard.
This is especially true if you have a difficult shot situated amongst some faster shots. The consequences of a miss are much higher due to the guns limited capacity, so focus is very important. Varying between fast birdshot targets and a difficult, no-shoot hold-off shot will test that focus. Not to mention, these types of shots will reinforce valuable knowledge of your shotgun’s birdshot pattern.
Stick with these drills.
I have been doing drills like this pretty much since I started shooting, and still use them regularly. Try setting up your own version of these drills and plug them into your practice routine each time you are at the range. They are simple enough to be easily duplicated.
Keep your setup consistent and track your times to monitor your progress. Also don’t be afraid to push occasionally to find out where the limit is. You will find if you practice these skills regularly, that limit will be faster and faster!