Skills Check: The Zen Master Drill

Refine your shooting skills to the point of enlightenment with this exercise.

by
posted on October 30, 2023
Zen Master drill illustration

In a world full of go-fast drills with aggressive par times and demanding courses of fire, it can be refreshing to change the pace—but not the challenge—and slow down. The Zen Master drill creates a magnifying-glass effect wherein the shooter must pay attention to the perfect technique between the beep and the boom. These progressive-workout practices focus on the sights, tactile discrimination at the trigger and grip consistency, while simultaneously presenting the pistol on target. Everyone wants to get those first gorgeous hits on target faster than the next guy, but to do so, you must explore the functional elements of the gun, clean up your techniques and practice calming the mind, all of which are promoted by this drill.

Here’s the drill:

In addition to your handgun, you will need a B-8 target set at distance of 5 yards and a total of 12 rounds of ammunition.

Phase 1: Dry Fire
Begin by confirming your firearm is clear, with no magazine in the gun and no round in the chamber. Close the slide and establish a two-handed grip at compressed ready. Present the pistol by raising it high (vertically) into your line of sight and then pressing forward toward the target in an L-shaped path of travel. As the gun travels forward, immediately acquire the sights on the target.

Once sights are acquired, perform one dry-fire trigger press in motion while moving the gun to the target. The trigger press should occur before the firearm is at full extension. Do not stop presenting the gun on target. Keep it moving, focused on sights even after the dry-fire shot. Repeat to simulate two dry-fire shots before the gun is fully extended. Then, repeat for three additional simulated dry-fire shots before the pistol is at full presentation.

Phase 2: Live Fire
Begin by presenting on target, firing one round before the gun is at full extension. Repeat a second time. Next, present on target, this time firing two rounds before the gun is at full extension. Repeat a second time. Finally, present on target, and fire three rounds before the firearm is at full extension. Repeat to complete the drill. Total rounds fired: 12.

Zen Tips

Pistol Presentation utilizing dynamic tension: When you tense the muscles and move against them, it creates a form of self-resistance to increase stabilization and improve grip strength.

Trigger Press: The L-shaped pistol presentation provides time to marry the sights and the trigger press. As soon as sights are acquired on target, immediately transition the trigger finger to eliminate the mechanical slack, achieve the wall, perfect grip and refine sights, and commit to the final stage of the trigger press to break the shot.

Breathing: Utilize gun-meditation breathing, i.e.: Inhale deeply at compressed ready, exhale slowly through the presentation and past follow-through at full extension.

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