How to Maintain Pistol Marksmanship During the Ammo Shortage

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posted on July 26, 2021
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With an appropriate target, a shot timer, your EDC handgun and a mere 10 rounds of ammunition, you can regularly practice and hone your shooting skills to maintain readiness, even in the midst of an ammo shortage.

With ammunition expensive and hard to come by, making every shot count has never been more important. When I began writing this column, the emphasis was on drills using less than a box of ammunition; now I think it prudent to suggest drills requiring an even smaller number of rounds.

While I described the Gunsite School Drill in a column several years ago, I think now is a good time to look at it again. Why? Because it is an excellent Skills Check and only requires 10 rounds of ammunition. It’s the sort of drill you can run from time to time to check your skill level and with ammunition prices and scarcity being what they are, it’s an economical drill.  I often use it when testing new pistols to find out if the sights, trigger and gun, in general, are working for me.

The School Drill, while seemingly simple, involves complex skills performed in short time periods. Drawing from the holster, aligning the sights, focusing on the front sight and pressing the trigger without disturbing the sights are some of them—and all necessary—if you’re to be successful. Speed is of the essence with 1.5-second shots into a head-shot zone about the size of a 3x5-inch card being the starting point.

We shoot the School Drill from the holster, but if you are not confident in quickly drawing the pistol or you’re shooting on a range where it isn’t allowed, it can be run from a low-ready, muzzle-depressed starting position.

You’ll need an Option or silhouette target, 10 rounds of ammunition and a shooting partner to time you.

Here’s the drill:

3 yards
One round to the head-scoring zone in 1.5 seconds. Repeat. Total: two rounds

3 yards
Two rounds to the center-scoring zone in 1.5 seconds. Total: two rounds

7 yards
Two rounds to the center-scoring zone in 1.5 seconds. Total: two rounds

10 yards
Two rounds to the center-scoring zone in 2 seconds.Total: two rounds

15 yards
Two rounds to the center-scoring zone, fired from kneeling, starting from standing, in 3.5 seconds. Total: two rounds

If you score the head- and center-scoring rings as five points, the possible score is 50. Hits on the silhouette but outside the scoring zones are good for two points. Shots off the target or not within the time limits are awarded zero points. Perfect scores are, well, perfect. Scores in the 40s are very good.

Want to attend the Gunsite Defensive Pistol 250 class and hope to receive an Expert rating? If you’re in one of my classes you need to shoot a perfect School Drill, among other things. You can practice this five times with one box of ammunition. I assure you, it’s a good investment.

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