First Shot Drill

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This drill simply teaches you how draw and shoot quickly, a skill that’s extremely useful in a gun fight.

In a gun fight the most important shot is the first one. If you can get it off faster than the other guy and hit the target, the odds of winning increase substantially. Forget what you have seen in the movies about the “blinding speed” of the draw. It takes time to get the gun out, line up the sights and break the shot, even for the top shooters.

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This drill is simple. Start standing ten yards from the target, arms at your side. Another variation is to have your hands raised in the “surrender” position. Any man-sized target will work, but an IDPA or USPSA cardboard target is most common. Ten yards is enough distance to force you to use the sights and aim correctly. The gun should be in your holster. You should also practice with your carry gun while wearing your normal concealment garment like a jacket or vest, but have the gun exposed to start. Once you master this with an open gun, start practicing with your concealment garment. Of course, this is also a very good drill for anybody who shoots competition. In that circumstance you will of course use the gun and holster that you use for competition.

Practice with an empty gun until you have the motion perfected. Then switch to live fire. Remember, the speed is not in snatching the gun from the holster as much as it’s in being able to have the sights lined up and your focus on the front sight when your arms reach full extension so you can shoot as soon as that happens.

A shot timer is an important training tool. It will measure the time from the buzzer to the shot. You can’t do that accurately with a stop watch or your phone. Spend a few bucks and buy a timer, it is one of the best training tools out there.

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At the buzzer, draw the gun and fire one shot at the target, trying for a center of mass hit. My guess is you will be surprised at the amount of time it takes to draw from a carry holster and get off a shot that actually hits the target. Many “experienced” shooters who are trying this on the clock for the first time are shocked to see three or more seconds on the timer.

The top competitive shooters using “speed” gear can do this, including reaction time, in 0.7 seconds or even faster. But normal humans will be a bit slower. With a competition rig, if you can draw and score a center hit in 1.5 seconds or faster you are doing very well. When you can do it in one second you are going to attract attention on the range.

Most carry holsters, particularly those with retention, will be slower. With them, anything under two seconds is good, while less than 1.5 seconds from a carry holster is excellent.

One other thing this drill will teach you is the folly of thinking you can draw and shoot at a bad guy who already has his gun trained on you. That might work in the movies, but in real life it will get you dead.

 

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