Skills Check: The Wizard Drill

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posted on July 9, 2020
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With only five rounds, the Wizard Drill can help you assess whether or not you possess the vital marksmanship skills needed to successfully hit targets quickly and accurately.

This month we’re going to look at another of Ken Hackathorn’s standard drills—one he has used for many years to evaluate shooter skills. As a matter of fact, at a Colt industry event held at Gunsite to introduce its new Python revolver, Hackathorn ran us through the Wizard Drill many times with the Python and Colt 1911 pistols. It’s a good drill and it goes like this:

As with most good drills it seems simple on the surface, but may be a little harder than you think. Fired from a concealed-carry holster beneath a cover garment, the drill is revolver or pistol neutral, meaning it can be shot with either, there being no advantage in one over the other. You’ll need a single silhouette or Option target, a timer and only five rounds of ammunition. You can use this drill as a gut check to evaluate your current skill level by shooting it cold with your carry pistol and ammunition, or you can burn through a lot of practice ammo shooting it over and over. Each stage has a time limit of 2.5 seconds.

Here’s the Drill

Stage 1 3 yards; fire one shot to the head, strong hand only.

Stage 2 5 yards; fire one shot to the head using both hands.

Stage 3 7 yards; fire one shot to the head using both hands.

Stage 4 10 yards; fire two shots to the body using both hands.

Designed as a pass/fail drill, your five shots must be inside the head and body scoring lines to pass and have to be fired within the 2.5-second limit. If you’re having trouble making the time you can run the drill again, this time starting from the low-ready, muzzle-depressed position. If your hits aren’t where they need to be, concentrate on making accurate hits without a time limit. 

Want to shoot more? Try doubling the number of shots at each stage, all within the 2.5-second time limit. While this is designed as an individual skill test, you can run it with a buddy by shooting it side by side and scoring the targets. If you’re both cleaning it, try reducing the time down to 2 seconds for each stage or add an additional two-shot stage at 15 yards.

Some drills have become standards—Jeff Cooper’s El Presidente comes to mind— and Hackathorn’s Wizard Drill is in the same category. Give it a try to see if you’re a shooting wizard.

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