“If I knew I was going to have a gunfight, I wouldn’t go.” – Jeff Gonzales
The Professional Development class with Jeff Gonzales is a one to two-hour seminar tied directly to the monthly Gunfighter Matches at the Range at Austin. Each seminar focuses on some area that needs improvement based on the performance of the shooters in the matches. I recently shot my first Gunfighter Match, so I decided to sign up for the seminar to see how it worked.
The seminar included a very simple, but telling drill: two mags, five rounds each. The target was a 6-inch circle at 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards. You had to put the first mag in with two-handed shooting, transition to the second mag, and do three shots with your strong hand, transition to your weak hand and shoot the last two.
At 3 and 5 yards, the goal was 100% in the circle. At 7 and 10, to pass the drill, you needed 80% or better. If you made it to the 10 yard stage, time pressure was applied and you had to do the drill and score at least 80% in under 10 seconds. We had some very good shooters in our session, but the best two scores anyone could manage at 10 yards were 14 and 17 seconds.
One of the things I like as a gunfighter-in-training about Jeff’s approach is how his drills begin easily and then suddenly escalate into a level of difficulty that really shows you whether or not you have the skill you are evaluating in your own development. He says, “You must have a standard, otherwise you only practice what you’re good at.”
Getting five consecutive shots into a 6-inch circle was something all of us could do, but the breakdown happened quickly once the transition to the second magazine happened. We then talked about why it’s important to practice one-handed shooting under time pressure as an essential skill for both competition and self-defense, Jeff outlined different scenarios in which both strong and weak-handed one-hand shooting would be essential.
Stabilizing a full-size 9mm and getting a good sight picture on my weak hand is something I have only recently started working on with both a curved and a flat trigger. There’s a lot of development to do, but as usual, the pithy, direct approach quickly showed me exactly where the work needs to happen – and what I need to practice to get better.
What are your favorite one-handed shooting drills and what helps you improve?