Precision Pistol

posted on April 8, 2011

This drill comes by way of Dan Smith, co-owner of International Cartridge Corporation and long-time competitive shooter. He built it on a tip Ray Chapman taught him during a shooting school in 1983.

No amount of practice will help you become a better shot if you are not following the fundamentals. Sight picture and trigger control are critical to successful shooting. Even when you go fast, you must do these things correctly.

The concept of the drill is to focus the mind and muscle memory with regard to sight picture and trigger break. By starting with this simple precision drill, the shooter becomes "programmed" to focus on these fundamentals, an approach that will jump start your skills and help set the stage for a productive shooting session.

Smith recommends opening each training session with this drill to reinforce in your mind and body the importance of sight picture and trigger control for the practice session that follows. If you have the time and ammunition, it is also a good idea to end each session with this drill because it helps to refocus on the trigger and sights. The resulting tiny groups end the day on a positive note.

Place a 1-inch paster of contrasting color on the target. Move back to 5 yards. If you think you are good, practice it at 7 yards.

Using a standing, two-hand hold, slowly fire 10 shots at the paster. Take as much time as needed, do not hurry. The goal is to keep all shots on the paster inside a single, 1-inch—or smaller—group.

You will need perfect sight alignment, with equal amounts of light on each side of the front sight, along with a perfect trigger pull or the shot will not hit the paster. Even a small error in sight alignment or trigger pull will show with a shot outside the target.

You will see the bullet holes and know where each shot hits. Every time you pull a shot off the paster, there is a reason. Maybe you let the sights wander, the sight picture was bad, you jerked the trigger or your grip was poor—something caused that bullet to miss. Slow down; focus on the fundamentals. Think of nothing else but putting the next bullet through the paster.

After 10 shots, put up a new paster and repeat the drill using only your strong hand. Then repeat the drill using your weak hand.

The goal is simple: three separate, 1-inch or smaller 10-shot groups fired with two hands, strong hand and weak hand. When you have done that, proceed to the rest of your training session knowing both your mind and body are focused on precision.


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