This guide will highlight tips and tricks to be fast, and accurate when shooting. Now, if I’m being completely honest I’ve had my fill of ‘tacticool’ ninjas who have all the gear and shoot like a bunch of monkeys with banana guns. But I’m a rational guy, and unlike range nazis I’m satisfied when people simply have the aspiration to shoot better. Sure, they’ll be a little annoying for a few weeks, and you’ll need to humble them a couple times, but the last thing anyone should do is ostracize these guys for having the wrong approach. So to all my battle hardened veterans, don’t be a range nazi when you have a tacticool ninja on deck, have a conversation explaining your experience and how your tips can help them in their goals, because we need as many Americans as possible trained and ready for the shit to hit the fan…
Label me the preambling heretic…
Shooting fast can and will get you killed. If you’re a novice shooter I want you to learn how to shoot accurately before you even attempt speed shooting drills. And if you could only choose between shooting fast or accurately, I’d have you choose accuracy every single time. It’s a whole hell of a lot easier to learn how be accurate than fast. You can be in a ten second firefight where your opponent chose speed over accuracy dumping an entire mag without hitting the mark, while you fire three well placed rounds with one hitting the target. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. With this in mind we’re going to review the basics for shooting accurately like grip, sight alignment, stance, trigger control, and follow through…
Before we get into the fun stuff you can’t afford to underestimate the value of a good stance or fighting posture. There are three industry accepted standards for good shooting stances, and before I list each with the positives and negatives let me say this, many veterans who’ve been in active combat theaters will tell you a majority of their kills were achieved with pucker factor, and a shit stance, which is why Rule 1 in the 20 Rules to Win a Firefight is ‘Ditch style for the kill…’.
The most common stance I’ve seen on the range, and used by a lot of LEOs is the weaver stance, one in which I highly disagree with, but never the less it’s their thing. The benefit of using the weaver stance that provides better weapon or recoil control. The disadvantage to this stance is the blading of your body, exposing a right-handed shooter’s left armpit, and their heart.
This stance use to be the standard stance but as time progressed people have started realizing the disadvantage to the isosceles stance is it’s lack of front to back support when squaring up on your target, while providing a sound stance that allows for a natural positioning of your body, aiding in more accurate shooting.
The Fighting Stance
This is my go to stance for shooting, and the stance I was taught by an old friend who was an Army Sniper, a guy I’m sure cheated on the psych test, but one of the coolest dudes around. The Fighting Stance lets you fire your weapon with minimal exposure, while narrowing exposure to your torso (that should have armor). I’ve learned this stance allows for more accurate shots, and the ability to shoot quickly. Most instructors will tell you to pick the one that works for you, I won’t. Fighting Stance is the stance you should strive for.
Accurate shooting drills…
Front Sight Brass Dry-fire Drill – Unload your weapon with the magazine removed and the chamber cleared. Take a piece of spent brass and balance it on the front sight, with your index finger centered on the trigger (not at the joint or tip of your index finger, but the exact center of your fingerprint) and smoothly pull the trigger. If the brass falls off your pulling too hard, meaning the barrel is no longer in sight of your target. The idea for the drill is to keep your trigger pulls smooth to avoid missing your target. One of the things I did is at day and night I would practice this drill (and still do to this day) and clear my home room by room, with the goal of not letting the brass fall throughout the entire drill. One of the biggest complaints I hear about this drill is that dry-firing doesn’t emulate the recoil of a live cartridge, however I feel this drill builds fundamental muscle memory that will benefit your LFX.
Ball and Dummy – Ask any range veteran and they’ll tell you about the Ball and Dummy Drill that’s been around longer than I’ve been shooting, but you’re going to need a partner for this drill while alternating the ‘shooter’ role so you can both practice the drill. With the shooter turned away have your partner get their weapon in the ready position with you (shooter) facing the opposite position. Your partner’s responsibility is to either hand you the weapon with a round chambered or not with the goal of keeping you off balance. Turn around and your partner will hand you your weapon, sight in and press as if you’re shooting the target, and pull the trigger. If your barrel dips down it shows you are anticipating the shot. The ultimate goal is to keep your barrel from dipping regardless of a live round or not while still having a tight grouping. Oddly enough there’s a lot of misunderstanding of the Ball and Dummy drill online. Which I don’t get because it’s a fairly simple drill.
Shrinking Targets – This drill is one of the more simpler drills with the goal of making your groupings smaller and tighter by setting up a target with with four circles on it, with each circle smaller than last. Stand around six yards from the targets and fire five rounds into each target circle with the goal of keeping your groupings within each circle. I don’t know about other folks out there but I like to set up four of these targets about three yards apart. My first target is target 1 circle 1, then target 2 circle 2, target 3 circle 3, and by the time I get the target 4 circle 4 my goal is to still have my groupings within the smallest circle under duress and movement, while alternating the configuration. Doing the drill ‘as is’ though will provide the basic building blocks of accuracy that will carry you through any other LFX.
Ragged Hole Drill – Again, from six yards away you’ll slow fire five rounds into a single point on your target. Basically, you’re drilling the same hole over and over again (kind of like a paper cutout of Audrey Hollander). To help you visualize the drill you can take a Sharpie marker and draw three dots that are 1”, 2”, and 3” wide to help you sight in. If you can’t maintain tight groupings on these targets at six yards and your shots are spread it it means you need to spend more time on the basics.
Pencil Drill – The most overlooked element of accurate shooting by all novice shooters is grip and finger placement. The way you hold your gun and how you pull the trigger makes all the difference between a well placed shot and a sloppy one. The Pencil Drill will help you get this basic form under control. The trick is to avoid smearing the trigger by keeping your firing-side hand from over-gripping the gun that causes your rounds to pull to your support side. A nifty drill to fix this bad habit is take a pencil and placing it on the web of your thumb with the eraser on your trigger finger. In a smooth motion press the pencil towards you while keeping it on your webbing allowing you to visualize good form.
How to Shoot Fast
When it comes to speed training I think military trumps civilian competitive training that focuses on engaging targets while moving in CQB, so for this guide we are going to focus on the military aspect of training. Not only will we focus on shooting fast and accurately, but also performing fast and accurately in a team element, which is the apex of training for us in the militia movement who heavily rely team movements. Shooting on the move is key training to be fast while hitting your target(s). Before you crucify me, ask yourself this, how often do you see civilian speed training involve movement? Especially in competitive shoot. However, here recently I have been noticing this chasm of movement training in civilian competition shooting begin to get filled with more and more movement drills. So who knows, give it a couple years and it could be standard.
Setting up your training environment..
To be honest I’ve been pretty impressed with people out there stepping up their firearm training by creating unique training environments. For example, I live in the desert and depending where I go most of them have natural backstops that I will incorporate into my course. I like to go out to our junkyard or check Craigslist’s ‘curb alert’ of stuff being given away for free like junked cars, cinder blocks, fridges, wood, and etc to enhance my training course, while using old mannequins, and plywood as targets. The idea is to be creative when designing your courses to simulate various combat theaters. Since speed is your goal you need a way to track your timing so a digital stopwatch or timer would be a good idea..
Being quick on the draw…
You know, since the dawn of the handgun having a slick draw has always been a key role in not getting dead in a gunfight. It’s such a rudimentary element of shooting that seems so small but can have huge consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing. The first thing you need to do is get yourself a good holster. I use an IWB holster since I conceal carry, and practice as such. The holster for my Glock 19 is the Galco King Tuk IWB that allows for a solid grip on my gun without sticking. The idea is to get a holster that lets you pull your gun from the holster in a smooth motion.
Once you have your stance down, and the basics in shooting accurately, you can start mastering speed as a whole pulling your gun from its holster, to your stance, while shooting accurately and quickly in a fluid motion. With everything in position, including your range course, you can set up a few GoPro’s or cameras to film your training that you can review and critique later. Below there are a few speed shooting drills, but one thing I want everyone to know is that there is no limit to how you train, if you come up with a new drill that works for you and increases your accuracy and speed, then by all means continue doing what you do!
Speed shooting drills…
Before I go into this I want to make something perfectly clear, people like to try to complicate speed shooting as if it’s some sort of new plane of shooting, when in essence there are very little differences between speed shooting and paced shooting. If you’re not hitting your mark when shooting fast or slow the diagnosis or reason for missing your shot will more than likely be the same as seen in the illustration below. There are hundreds of drills designed by the military, and private professionals that can aid you in your training but they’ll all have the same core based on fundamental shooting habits.
The Tueller Drill – Warning: we strongly advise using a fake gun for this exercise. This drill was created by Dennis Tueller of the Utah Police Department with the goal of improving your draw speed by having a partner (attacker role) stand about seven yards away, with a third party queuing the ‘go’ command, at which time the attacker rushes you, and you must be able to pull your gun and shoot the attacker within five seconds or you’re considered ‘dead’.
Quick First Shot Drill – This is a ‘variation’ of the First Shot Drill and in my opinion this exercise is one of the most useful speed training drills you can perform because it allows for the most improvement, and is based on one simple fact that the first shot is usually the most often missed shot. Please note, I’m trimming more of the nauseating useless features of this drill for the sake of practicability. For this drill you will create another target, this time with six three inch circles in two columns, three rows, about eight inches apart. You will need to stand ten yards away. In a fluid motion you will need to pull you gun from its holster in a fluid motion, get in stance, sight in and shoot each bullseye from top left to right working your way down. Your goal is to complete the actions in under five seconds, and to repeat the drill five times. Once you’ve cycled through the five drills use a marker to highlight the groupings that did not hit their target. On the dot with the least hits, fire six more rounds into that single target and use the shooting error analysis chart to correct one of the fundamental issues causing the deviation.
Mag Exchange Drills – Mag exchange drills are a little overrated but I can somewhat see the importance of having a clean mag exchange, but I think some people get too obsessed over the form than function of a mag exchange, and in a firefight if your forms good you’re probably not shooting enough. An easy little drill you can try is once your magazine has been emptied pull your gun back into the front of your body while seamlessly reaching your second magazine while maintaining muzzle awareness. Grip with your forefinger and once it’s out of the pouch simultaneously press your mag release button which will drop your spent magazine with the goal of having your new mag locked before the spent mag hits the ground. Once loaded, use your off hand to grab the slide and rack the first round in the new mag. With the new mag loaded and a round in the pipe you should be back in the fighting stance acquiring your target. If the mag hits the floor before the next ones racked you’re going too slow. Again, I wouldn’t focus on this as much because it create a stresser you don’t need. I’ve seen some of the most skilled marksmen get fucked up on the range focusing on creating a fast seamless motion, while the guy next to them didn’t go slow, but didn’t stress himself out over a mag exchange.
Crush Grip Drill – One of the few differences in speed shooting is the increased recoil, and if you were to ask Ben Stoeger of the USPSA (US Practical Shooting Association), he’d tell you to grip the shit out of your gun if you want to hit the mark while quickly dumping an entire mag, which is contradictory to what other instructors might teach you. You need a firm grasp to stabilize your gun to reduce muzzle rise. To perform this drill stand ten yards away from a standard target designating your mark and use all the necessary steps listed above, while pulling the trigger as fast as possible, while firmly gripping your gun, and analyze your shots. Continue this drill and improve your groupings as you go..
Other speed drills…
A few thoughts…
Look guys, I’m no genius, and I don’t claim to be the best marksman out there, but I do know I’ve been shooting since I was a kid, and was taught by a drill sergeant, my father, who taught me most of what I know. My other training sources include veterans I do various work with, militia members, and through trial and error. That’s what a lot of this all is, trial and error. For us guys who can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars to instructors, we only have ourselves and each other to rely on. As long as your training drills include the fundamentals, accuracy, speed, and results, I could care less what techniques you use.
Never let people discourage you from training. Yeah sure there are a lot of assholes out there that like to be range bullies, picking on novice shooters, but I don’t let that shit go down when I see it. There’s a reason people are considered novice, because they don’t know any better, and someone jumping down their throats making them feel like idiots doesn’t make them want to learn the right way. Instead, when I see someone who needs help, I go over their, talk to them, and give a few helpful tips and if they’re curious I give them my card and I’ll help them learn (as long as they bring their own brass).. Like I said guys, I’d rather there be more of us trained than not, so if you see someone who needs help, take them under your wing and tell them about usCrow.org. If anyone has any drills they’ve created that helps them shoot more accurate, and fast then please comment below!
This article has been read  times.