All shooters reach a brick wall where continued practice tends to tear down skills, not improve them. Where this wall is depends on individual skills and experience. Meanwhile most of us cannot afford to shoot 500 or 1,000 rounds a day like the pro shooters do. So, in looking at how to get the most of a single box of ammo, I have developed a course of practice covers a number of the basic skills. Each stage builds on the skills that were practiced on the previous stage.
While shooting on IDPA or ISPC targets can be fun, they are not well suited for practicing basic skills. To keep things simple, a NRA B-16, 25-yard pistol target is used for the entire course of fire. The black center of this target is 5 5/16” in diameter, and the object of the drill is to keep all of the shots in the black area of the target. The times shown are recommendations as a starting point for a mid-level shooter.
By using a standardized practice routine, the shooter has a tool to measure individual improvement. This simple course of fire addresses the majority of the basic skills. Don’t overlook, or give up on, the 25-yard slow fire drill. At 0-10 yards, we can get away with a lot of sins—such as poor sight alignment and sloppy trigger control. Shooting a 5” bull’s eye at 25 yards will quickly highlight any of the aforementioned bad habits. It is also a great confidence builder. If you are keeping all of your shots in the black at 25 yards, the bull’s eye looks huge at the seven-yard line.
As with any skill, a proper training regimen is needed to improve one’s skills. This course represents a baseline starting point. As your skills improve, decrease the time limits and increase the ranges. You will be amazed at how quickly it will happen.