This article, "'A Perfect 10," appeared originally as a Skills Check column in the October 2017 issue of Shooting Illustrated. To subscribe to the magazine, visit the NRA membership page here and select Shooting Illustrated as your member magazine.
Our 10-yard bullseye drill this month comes from top trainer Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical by way of Ken Hackathorn. Vickers likes to emphasize speed and accuracy, and his variation of Hackathorn’s drill uses the NRA 25-yard Timed and Rapid Fire Pistol Target to help make his point. The objective in this drill is to keep all your shots “in the black,” or bullseye portion of the target that measures just larger than 5 inches in diameter. You’ll need some targets, a timer and as much ammo as you care to devote to your practice session, because I’m pretty sure you’re going to try this drill more than once.
Here’s the basic drill: Move back 10 yards, come to a low ready (two hands on the pistol) and fire 10 shots at the bullseye in 10 seconds. You say your pistol doesn’t hold 10 rounds? Not a problem. A variation on this drill is to fire five shots, reload and fire five more. If you’re making the times, comfortable with drawing from the holster and shooting on a range where drawing is allowed, it’s time to turn up the wick a bit and try these drills from the holster. You pass Mr. Vickers’ drill if you keep all your shots in the bullseye without going over the 10-second time limit. Shots outside the black add a second each to your time.
Stepping back to 10 yards, I found that bullseye was looking pretty small. Because I was evaluating several pistols, I used them to shoot the drill and got a pretty good idea about their sights, triggers and handling characteristics. My suggestion for you is to shoot this drill with your daily carry pistol. Take the opportunity to shoot up the ammunition you’ve been carrying, switch to practice ammo as you continue, then reload your pistol with defensive ammunition when you’re done. As you can imagine, there are a number of variations you can throw in, such as adding movement or increasing the distance from the target. If you’re shooting a 1911, you can run the 10-yard bullseye drill with eight rounds while starting from the holster.
As always, safety is foremost. Don’t try going any faster than you’re comfortable with and make sure to pause, get your finger off the trigger, de-cock or engage the safety as appropriate, take a deep breath and slowly holster. I say it all the time: High speed, low drag is nothing more than basics applied to a problem. The idea with this drill is to apply the basics of stance, grip, sights, trigger control and follow-through to each of your 10 shots. A brief lapse, such as jerking the trigger or lifting the eyes off the sights will cause a miss; looking at the target rather than the sights will result in lots of misses. Stay on the sights and control the trigger. There will be plenty of time to admire your target when you’re finished.
Mr. Vickers knows his business. He survived a long career in Special Operations, was a 1911 builder and is a top trainer. Give his 10-yard bullseye drill a try and see if you can measure up.