Most of us have limited time and resources for training, but going to the range and firing at a man-sized target that is squared to us accomplishes little beyond basic skills. We need relatively challenging drills that polish our skills in a meaningful way. A combination of two hand, one hand, weak hand, and fast shooting at typical combat ranges is needed. If you are up for the challenge, box drills can be your next step to upgrading your combat shooting skills.
The following drill isn’t my invention; it has been around a long time, but I have adapted it for my use. You will modify the drills for your own range. Most of you likely practice on a square range with the targets at one end and berms on the other sides with an opening facing away from the target. I like shooting on the move. Very few of our protein fed, ex-con criminal class have any skills. Moving and firing will present a difficulty to them. Remember… safety first.
Work out the drill in dry fire. Have someone watch for safety violations. Be certain of your footing. When beginning this drill, you will be moving from one point to the other to fire. As your progress in gun handling, you will be firing as you move.
Practice with the gear you actually carry including the carry gun, holster, and speedloaders or spare magazines. Begin with a standard, man-sized target set at five yards range. This target should be at the front edge of the ‘shooting box.’
Next, mark five yards distance at the five-yard line, you will be moving in that box. Then, go back another five yards—a total of 10 yards from the target—and space another five yards distance as a walkway. You may begin at the front corner, right or left, no difference, but do mix it up.
You will be 10 yards from the target and it will be to your left. Draw and fire with two hands. I usually fire a controlled pair at this distance. Then, I walk forward deliberately and halfway to the back of the box. I fire again. At the end of the box, with the target to the left five yards away, I fire the remaining gun load with one hand and then execute a reload.
Next, I move across the five yards at the box nearest the target and when I come to the end of the box, I pivot and fire again with the weak hand, firing five shots as quickly as I am able to control them. Then I move toward the line furthest from the target, stop half way, and fire the rest of the gun load with a two-hand shoulder point.
After that, I am at the point of the square on the left. I have executed a reload on the move, so I pivot and fire again, firing a controlled pair with maximum accuracy. Finally, I move to the center of the outer line of the box and fire the rest of the gun load at the target. This is the only string of fire in which I am squared to the target.
After you have gained some experience you will begin to fire this drill without stopping at each point but firing on the move. This builds real skill. You may also find that your work is better with one handgun than the other, and this is a revelation to some. Firing at a target you are squared to is one thing, firing on the move from different angles is far more challenging. Concentrate on heel toe movement and at all times keep the front sight in focus. You will learn marksmanship by stepping and firing deliberately better than you will if you rush through this drill.
I recently took to the range and worked out several of my handguns with this drill. A good resource for this type of work is the SIG Sauer Elite training ammunition. In .38 Special, 9mm, .40, and .45 ACP, I have enjoyed excellent results with these quality loads.
Do you have a favorite shooting drill to get you off the ‘X’? Do you practice box drills? Share your answers in the comment section.
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Phil Elliott says
To Bob, when I was on the S.O. pistol team, the concept of firing weak hand was introduced to me. After some initial trouble, worked out to change eye, as well as hand . Worked out very well. You might try that, my aim was back to the 10x.
Drills like this are great for those who are lucky enough to live in the country and have plenty of land to set up their own range. Try doing something like this when you live in the city (where most people happen to live) and all you have available are indoor ranges. It gets a little frustrating seeing gun writers who obviously have access to different types of facilities telling the rest of us that we need to be doing certain drills that there is no way we can realistically practice in real life.
Bob Campbell says
Thanks for reading. I agree, while a pistol range is close to the house I must drive over an hour to fire my rifles, so it isn’t as often. I am working on a feature called time and training that will address many of the issues that concern you.
Thanks for reading.