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Four Classic Shooting Drills to Help You Improve Your Skills

January 19, 2023 4 min read

Regular practice is your best bet for improving your skills and becoming more proficient with your firearm. Even if you dry fire regularly, it’s important to spend time on the range for live fire practice sessions. Incorporating specific shooting drills into your training can help you focus on specific skills and track your progress.

There are a lot of shooting drills to choose from, so which ones should you start with? Classic shooting drills are an excellent choice because they’re easy to understand, repeatable, measurable, and proven to improve your marksmanship.

Here are several classic shooting drills you can practice at the range in order to improve your accuracy and overall proficiency.

Dot Drills

Accurate shooting requires consistent sight alignment and strong trigger control. Dot Drills can help you improve both. You’ll find that shooters of all levels practice dot drills because they go a long way toward mastering sight alignment and improving trigger control to achieve better accuracy.

There are a lot of different versions of this drill, but all of them include one or more small dots or circles on a single target. By aiming at a small area, you’re forced to focus on your front sight, which is crucial for accurate shots.

To shoot the Dot Drill, find a target with a series of small dots or circles. Place the target at a distance of your choice, get a proper grip and stance, align your sights with the dot, and fire one untimed shot. Focus on your sight alignment and trigger control with each shot. Your goal is to place every round on the dot or inside the small circle with no misses.

Repeat the drill several times during your practice session and try shooting it at different distances. We have several free, printable targets that are perfect for shooting a dot drill. Grab one here.

The Bill Drill

This is a classic drill originally designed by renowned competitive shooter and gunmaker, Bill Wilson. It’s designed to help you improve your accuracy at speed. It will also reveal how relaxed you are when firing multiple rounds (tensing up results in poorly placed shots). It’s great for shooters of any experience level and can be performed at an indoor or outdoor range.

The Bill Drill involves shooting 6 rounds at a target as fast as possible while still maintaining accuracy. The goal is to complete this drill as fast as possible while putting all 6 shots into your target's scoring zone.

To shoot the Bill Drill, set up a target or paper plate at a distance of your choice (we recommend starting at 5 yards if you’re new to shooting). Start with the gun holstered or at the low-ready position (gun lowered and pointed in front of you at about a 45-degree angle) and fire 6 rounds as quickly and accurately as possible. 

Repeat the drill several times during each practice session. Your goal is to improve your time with each attempt.

Here’s our version of the Bill Drill

The Mozambique Drill

This drill is sometimes called the ‘failure’ or ‘failure to stop’ drill. It’s another tried-and-true drill that can help you practice shooting quickly and accurately in a self-defense situation. There’s a long history behind why it’s named the Mozambique drill – we won’t get into that in this article, but you canread more about its history here.

To shoot the Mozambique Drill, set up a USPSA/IDPA target at a distance of 3-5 yards (You can also use a paper plate for the midsection and an index card for the upper target). You can start with your gun holstered or at the low-ready position. While timed or untimed, aim for the midsection area of the target and fire two shots, then fire a third shot at the head. Repeat the drill several times, and try to improve your time with each attempt.

The El Presidente Drill

If you want to incorporate movement into your practice sessions (and you should), this drill is a great way to ease into it. It’s a slightly more advanced drill that involves turning, drawing, then shooting multiple rounds. The drill will help you get a feel for what it’s like to move, then shoot. It can also help you speed up your target transitions while maintaining accuracy.

To shoot the El Presidente Drill, set up three USPSA/IDPA targets at the same distance (we recommend starting at 5 yards). Start with the gun holstered, your hands at your sides, and facing away from the targets. While timed or untimed, turn, draw (after turning), and engage the targets with 2 shots each. Make sure to fire 2 shots on one target before moving to the next one. Repeat the drill several times, and try to improve your time with each attempt.

Before you attempt this drill, make sure you know how to draw from a holster. Take a look at ourtips for drawing from a holster if you're new to it.

All of these drills are a great way for you to benchmark your current skill level and track your progress over time. By incorporating them into your regular practice sessions and taking note of your times and accuracy every time you shoot them, you can identify areas where you need to improve. It’s also a great way to see how much progress you’ve made!


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