Achieving Zen - Strong Hand Drill

posted on March 24, 2015
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My first task as an instructor is to bring a student to an understanding of what anticipation feels like in a physical sense. There are many drills to do this, but my favorite is to use a handgun in a strong-hand-only, slow-fire drill ranging from 10 yards to 50 yards (or 100 yards for advanced students).

•    Start 10 yards from an 18x24-inch steel target.
•    From a strong-hand-only stance, hit the target once, then move back in 5-yard increments, hitting once at each 5-yard line all the way back to 50 yards (adding the 75-yard line and 100-yard line for advanced shooters).
•    Set a limit of five shots to hit the target once at each yard line. This reflects the fact that at 75 and 100 yards, it is possible to take a great shot and nonetheless miss when using a pistol.

I like this strong-hand-only drill because students intuitively understand they will not be able to control recoil with one hand. Also, as the distance becomes greater (beyond 25 yards), sight alignment and placement are emphasized. You have to accept "wobble" in the sight picture, and you absolutely cannot anticipate at the longer ranges and hope to get a hit.

There are no other factors in this drill. Speed, tactics, follow-up shots, etc. are all eliminated from consideration. Other students should be watching the shooter's trigger, not his target. This allows them to see anticipation in others and helps them learn faster. I have never had a student fail this drill out to 50 yards.

Once a student passes this drill, I immediately ask, "If you can hit that target at 50 yards one-handed, what could possibly make you miss at 15 yards with two-hands?" There's only one answer: you.


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