The most fundamental drill

There is one drill that really bottom lines your street readiness.  It is a staple of many instructors, and rightfully so.  If you can only practice one drill, this is it: from seven yards, draw and hit an 8-inch circle.  When not wearing a concealment garment 1.5 seconds is a good par time.  Make sure you add concealment eventually though, and see if you can’t still break 1.5 seconds.

There are many variations of this fundamental drill.  Tom Givens, the man with the data on what really happens in civilian self-defense shootings, and with scores of student victors in these things, likes to see 1.5 seconds from concealment on a 7×9 target at five yards.  Neither variation is a gimme, but they are achievable by a shooter who practices and doesn’t just plink during their precious range time.  This drill hits all the vital skills: clearing concealment, an efficient draw, good presentation, accuracy, and trigger management, all in a street-relevant time frame.

You can use anything for a target that’s about the right size: steel, an IDPA -0 zone, an IPSC A-zone, even an 8.5×11.5 piece of paper folded into an 8.5×8.5 square.  Start with an approximate 10-inch circle if you need to.

You’ll need a timer, but if you are ever going to improve you’ll need to buy one sometime.  They are much less expensive now than they used to be, and you can even get a shot timer app for your smart phone…so there’s no excuse.

If your range doesn’t allow holster work, improvise, because this is important.  You can still clear concealment and pick up your gun from the bench, and practice holster work at home with a dry gun.

Now, this is a drill.  It assumes a foundation of skills which need to be achieved first,and also worked on to improve.  This isn’t by any means the only street standard, but it is the drill that will tell you, probably better than any other, if your shooting and gun handling skills are street-ready.

Notice that I didn’t say it’d tell you if you were ready.  That’s because there’s a whole lot more to self-defense than shooting.  But shooting is nonetheless a critical part of it.

Finally: I hit this point often and hard because it’s the part of self-defense that most people foolishly omit. If you carry a gun for self-defense, you have to know the law. Invest the money you’d spend on shaving a tenth of a second off your splits with Andrew Branca’s book or seminars — it’ll pay far greater dividends. Visit this link to learn more, and use the discount code “streetstandards” for a 10% discount.

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