For our November 2020 Handbook, Richard Mann pulled together a half-dozen drills culled from some of the most renowned self-defense trainers in the industry. One of the drills Mann included was the “Pick a Spot” drill from Il Ling New, one of the many talented instructors at Gunsite Academy. It’s a drill intended to improve your front sight focus and trigger press.
The drill is, as you might imagine, quite simple to setup and devilishly difficult to master. New suggests starting with your eyes closed or with a soft focus on the target, and then to pick a small part of the target. As you bring your pistol to bear on that part, focus on an even smaller portion and break the shot carefully. For the execution, we opted for a 1-inch paster as the small target, and brought to bear on the 6-o’clock position of that 1-inch target.
New suggests this drill to work on target focus in conjunction with efficiency in targeting. Obviously, having a smooth, clean trigger press is also critical to eliminate disturbing the sight picture. This makes the “Pick a Spot” drill a great opening drill for a range session—efficiently focusing on a small target and your front sight while executing a smooth trigger press will help prepare the mindset for effective practice. It’s also a great “reset” for those days when you just feel a little “off,” too. If you’re trying to shoot fast and not quite getting the accuracy you need, stop, reset, run a smooth "Pick a Spot" drill and see if that helps.
There’s no time limit on the Pick a Spot drill, nor is there a prescribed distance. Achieving the proper sight picture, target focus and trigger press is the goal for this particular exercise, and it can be run as often as needed. While small targets like the 1-inch paster are helpful, any small area will suffice to assist in focusing.