Skills Check: Single-Action Defensive Revolver Drill

posted on August 26, 2019

Is there anything wrong with using a single-action revolver for personal defense? While few are used for concealed-carry, millions are carried afield and reside in homes and vehicles. Many Americans enjoy cowboy action shooting and some of these folks can run a single-action at mind-boggling speeds. It’s not necessary to have the latest and greatest trendy blaster for personal defense, a single-action revolver will do just fine—if you know how to run it and can make the hits. As evidence, I give you legendary lawmen and outlaws Wyatt Earp, Bill Hickok, John Wesley Hardin and many more.

There’s modest demand for training with single-actions, so we offer a single-action, defensive-revolver class at Gunsite Academy. But, truth be known, I think we do it because it’s really fun to teach and even more fun to take. Should you wish to train with your single-action, but can’t make it to Gunsite, here’s a drill that works on balancing accuracy, power and speed (Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas), something we strive for in all our training.

You’ll need your single-action revolver, 24 rounds of ammunition, a holster (or you can shoot this from a low-ready, muzzle-depressed starting position) and a 10-inch target, either steel or paper. A paper plate makes a suitable substitute. You can work it from close to far, but here’s the way it goes moving from 25 yards to 7 yards.

Here’s the drill:
25 yards, one shot in 3 seconds, repeat six times. Total: Six rounds.

15 yards, one shot in 3 seconds, repeat six times. Total: Six rounds.

10 yards, two shots in 3 seconds, repeat three times. Total: Six rounds.

7 yards, two shots in 3 seconds, repeat three times. Total: Six rounds.

Remember to observe Rule 3 and keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target. Change your focus from the target to the front sight, see it clearly in the center of the target and press the trigger. For the two-shot stages retain a firing grip with the strong hand, roll the revolver into the support hand and thumb the hammer back with the support-side thumb.

Running this drill twice will consume slightly less than a box of handgun ammunition. And should you visit us at Gunsite for a Single-Action, Defensive-Revolver class, you might just see this drill again.


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