Skills Check: Rifle Mini-Navy Drill

Time to put your skills with a long gun to the test.

posted on September 15, 2023
gun on paper target

Drill Practice is isolating an individual part of a skill and focusing intently on improving or mastering. The goal with good drill practice is to maximize your overall improvement while minimizing overall effort. Success equals consistency over time.

It’s no secret I’m a huge rifle fan—especially of the AR-15 platform—and when I get a chance to sharpen my rifle skills, I try to add this drill to my practice plan. It can be performed a couple of different ways, but this way seems to be the easiest for most folks who have some range limitations. In this format, you are using a single target and either move to the various distances or, for an indoor range, you move the target to the different distances. The objective is to quickly perform target acquisitions at different distances and meter your speed accordingly. It’s all about awareness, and here’s a little hint: Let your sights dictate your trigger press.

You will need a silhouette target with an 8-inch scoring zone in the body. The drill starts at the 20-yard line, then moves to the 10 and finishes at the 5. Start as prescribed, but if you can score 80 percent (fewer than three misses) or better, consider scaling up. To scale up, complete the drill using a target zone of 6 inches. Any shot fired in excess of the par time is an automatic disqualification. Regarding ammunition, load one magazine with only 15 rounds, which will be the total number of rounds fired for the drill. The maximum score is 100 points, with each miss being a penalty of six points.

Here’s the drill:

The task will be to fire five rounds at each stage and record your time. The condition will be from the low-ready position (rifle barrel depressed at 45 degrees) starting at the 20-yard line, then the 10 and finish at the 5. There will be a 10-second par time with no more than three misses for an 80-percent hit rate or better.

● At the 20-yard line: From the ready position, on the signal fire five rounds to the body.
● Move to the 10-yard line: From the ready position, on the signal fire five rounds to the body.
● Move to the 5-yard line: From the ready position, on the signal fire five rounds to the body to complete the drill.

The drill’s objective is to complete each stage with a descending time with the fewest misses. Tally the time from each distance. Overall time must be below 10 seconds, with no more than three misses. The first stage should be the slowest. The second and third stage are both fast, but not so fast you miss a lot. Let your sights settle back in the target zone and fire. The key is to try not to over-aim or refine your sight picture too much.


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