Skills Check: The Debbie Drill

Do you have what it takes to make every shot count?

posted on August 18, 2021
Pistol on steel target

Steady customers are a good thing, but customers who become friends are more valuable yet. Such is the case with a group that comes to Gunsite every year for a family reunion. Comprised of the family of a Medal of Honor recipient, their associates and friends, this group has trained at the school for more than 20 years and now they’re bringing their grown children to the event. That’s what you call a long-standing relationship.

Our drill this month is an evolution of a drill that has become an annual tradition. It started as a drill we called “It Pays to Be A Winner” and has now become “The Debbie Drill.” It is a no-time-limit drill—all you have to do is make a head shot in the scoring area of an Option target. It starts at 3 yards then moves back to 5, 7, 10, 15 and 25 yards. If you miss, you’re out; if you hit, you’re in. Last man (or woman) standing is the winner.

Year after year, Debbie won this drill. Rock steady and applying the basics of sights and trigger, Debbie calmly beat all comers. It got to the point where there was no reason to shoot at the shorter distances, because Debbie never missed, so the Debbie Drill was born.

Here’s the Drill
It’s simply this: From 25 yards, no time limit, make as many hits as you can on an 8-inch steel plate. The winner is the person who stays calm, doesn’t rush, ignores the pressure of family and friends cheering and jeering and refuses to miss. And that would be Debbie, over and over.

Considering the scarcity and cost of ammunition these days, I thought now is a good time to introduce this drill. After all, it can be over in one round, then again you might hang in there for a dozen shots or more. 

To run this drill, you will need a steel plate or, if one’s not available, a paper plate stapled to a target backer will do. You’ll also need steady nerves and the skills to combine a perfect trigger press with perfect sight alignment and follow-through. Slap the trigger, and you miss. Anticipate the shot, and you miss. Lift your eyes off the sights to see the hit, failing to follow-through, and you miss. Do everything right, and you hit. It’s just that simple, and just that hard.

Give this one a try and concentrate on making every shot count, one perfect shot, one shot at a time.


Sheriff Jim Wilson
Sheriff Jim Wilson

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