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Rapid fire drills and advice please.

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  • Rapid fire drills and advice please.

    Hello All,
    Can y'all provide some tips on rapid or quick fire for me. I have been shooting for nearly 50 yrs but my instinct is precision shooting, having grown up hunting. Rapid fire is not anything I would have ever considered practicing but I want to now as most self defense situations happen quickly and at short distances. Note: I am quickly drawing from my concealed carry holster for these drills.

    Anyhow this is how I have been practicing and my results.

    1) Initially I practiced using instinctive shooting. Something I have never done, btw.

    I can engage and shoot two targets really fast using this method, even double taps. My targets are 12:00 o'clock and 9:00 o'clock or 12:00 o'clock and 1:00 o'clock depending on which one I am facing. My accuracy is fully sufficient at 10ft but unacceptable at 15ft to 20ft. I could still hit the silhouette target with regularity at those distances but I would have quite a few misses and that is unacceptable to me.

    2) Consequently, I moved away from instinctive shooting and have resorted to front sight acquisition only for rapid/quick fire. I'm strictly practicing from 15ft and 20ft now. I have seen some improvement at that distance but my accuracy is still not acceptable for me.

    * I am consistently shooting low on the first round/target with a grouping of about 14in. Most of my shots are in the silhouette but around the mid to upper belly area. A few will be between the hand and body, so a miss.

    * My grouping on the second target are better and at chest or lower chest area. I think my results are better on the second target because the gun is already at level -vs- coming to level as with the first target.

    I think there are several issues. I catch myself at times instead of concentrating solely on the front sight to attempting to align the back sight and front sight. I have bar dot sights. This occurs when I am trying to bring my rounds up higher as desired. I think this is causing me to lose focus on my target and I feel my follow through is non existent or suffers. In other words, I'm concentrating on quickly aligning my sights but then I lose focus on my target.

    So what drills do you recommend to correct this and what do you feel is acceptable speed and accuracy? I don't have a timer but if I guessed I am getting off two rounds in maybe 2.0 seconds or so. So one round on the first target and one round on the second target. The time is slower when I attempt to align the sights of course.

    I think I just need to practice rapid firing (full magazine) at one target. I think this would allow me to figure out how to aim and acquire the target as well. I also think maybe I need to slow down some because I am going beyond my skill set at the moment. So what should be my goals (speed/accuracy) and what advice can you offer. Thanks in advance.

    God Bless,
    Last edited by Ralph III; 03-15-2020, 06:38 PM.

  • #2
    For shooting low on the 1st target, I would think it's because one concentrates on wanting to get the 1st shot off accurately and quickly that you are engaging the 3 amigos too much (think firing hand pinky, ring, and middle finger in that order). What happens is you want to squeeze so fast that you move not only your trigger finger but the others as well. This is natural since you've been doing it since you were able to make a fist (4 months old maybe or even younger). Try to ease up pressure and only squeeze with the middle finger. This should help.

    As far as sights, learn to determine acceptable sight pictures. Do you need equal height, equal light to get an "acceptable hit" or do you just need any portion of your front sight anywhere in the rear sight to make a good hit at the distance you are at? At 7 yards, getting the front sight anywhere within the rear sight should get you an acceptable hit.

    The most difficult thing to over come though may be the mindset of precision shooting vs acceptable shooting. Do you need a 1inch group at 7 yards or will a 6 to 8 inch group work? If you ask a trauma surgeon they would rather work with someone shot with a 1 inch group vs a 6 to 8 inch group.


    • #3
      Hello Angry Smurf,
      Thanks for the input and can you please provide your credentials? It's always nice to know the extent of experience of those offering advice.

      In regards to your advice. You mention the grip and that is something I meant to mention in my original post! It isn't a matter of an unbalanced grip due to finger pressure however, as you suggest. My grip and trigger action are well honed after many decades. However, I did notice that while drawing I could feel myself making very minute adjustments as I was actually drawing the gun and bringing it onto the target. This wasn't really a conscious effort and I was amazed it was happening or that I could even do such.

      What was happening is I am having difficulty getting my thumb fully behind the gun pulling quickly from my IWB holster. So as I was pulling the gun from the holster I could actually feel myself adjusting my thumb further around in attempting to get a proper grip. In retrospect and as you mentioned the grip, I think now that is my major issue. Because my grip isn't consistent my line of sight is slightly off each time and that is causing my accuracy issues.

      So I think we have it figured out. My sight isn't the issue. That's just the result of an inconsistent grip. So I will spend some time just practicing my draw and insuring that I get a good grip. I will concentrate heavily on this the next time I shoot versus simply trying to be fast.

      Take care,


      • #4
        Hey Ralph,

        Lot of different points that can be looked into and discussed based on your original post, but to avoid writing a novel, I'll focus on the one you've already mentioned you'd be working on--grip.

        Grip is definitely one of the points I was going to bring up. As typically, the two most common 'missed' shots are the first shot out of the holster because of a less than ideal grip or the first shot after a reload because most people lose their good grip after a reload.

        So, I'd definitely work on establishing a solid master grip while your pistol is in the holster/before the draw. This should help if an improper grip is one of the reasons you're missing.

        Overall, it sounds like you just need more time behind the gun, rapid firing, to work the following essential areas when it comes to shooting rapidly, grip, trigger press, and acceptable sight pictures. Practicing bill drills would be helpful--6 shot strings. Start off at a cadence where you can manage to get all the shots placed where you want them. Then speed up a bit the next round. When you begin to miss, you'll know you've reached your limit. Having a timer will help. This time will be your baseline to beat as you train and improve.

        In future training sessions, if your fundamentals are sounds, you should see faster times while maintaining accurate shots.

        When it comes to diagnosing rapid fire (accuracy) issues, there are two main schools of thought--instructors who feel trigger press is the culprit, while others consider grip, more. I'm the latter. I feel as long as one's grip is solid and consistent, they can be a little sloppy with their trigger press. (Think of a vice. If a pistol is in a vice and doesn't move, you can be as sloppy as you want with your trigger press and the bullet will go where you want it to go.)

        This being said, as you continue to practice rapid-fire drills, it would be a good idea to pay attention to your grip.

        I wanted to mention looking at your front sight. Many people I've talked to who have actually had to use their pistol in a real gunfight have told me at close distances, they didn't really look at their front sight as everything happens so fast. However, they still train to find that front sight.

        Speaking to some of the best sport shooters out there, as fast as they shoot, they all mentioned that they see their front sight with every shot that breaks and are so good at it that they can call every shot just from focusing on their front sight. Now, pro sport shooters shoot for a living, so they have spent years training their eyes to see fast.

        Hope some of the points above help.


        • #5
          Thanks Myles and I agree with everything you stated. All excellent advice! I just couldn't get my sights lined up properly or consistently while drawing from my IWB and firing quickly. That is why I began catching myself attempting to line up both sights instead of concentrating solely on the front sight. So my initial thought was some sort of sighting issue. Angry Smurf brought up the grip though and thinking about that it dawned on me what is occurring. Sometimes my thumb is further behind the grip and sometimes it isn't. So even though I may have the front sight on target the back sight is often out of alignment.

          Yes, I got into a big online debate recently with a purported instructor on a prominent forum, as he was completely diminishing the importance of the grip and stance (as well as aim) in stating trigger control was all that matters for accuracy. So I challenged him on that notion. This simply re-affirms the vital importance a solid and consistent grip plays in regards to accuracy. I should have taken my own advice.

          Thanks again guys. I will be insuring to practice getting a solid grip on my gun from the draw. There is no doubt I will see improvement quickly. Then it's just a matter of practice like Myles said. Stay safe!

          God Bless,
          Last edited by Ralph III; 03-18-2020, 06:52 PM.


          • #6

            Just to add on to what Myles said, the way to perfect your draw is slow, precise practice. You can break down the draw into sections during dry practice (clear garment and grip, draw to sight line, support hand grip, prep trigger etc) perfect these sections individually and then put them all together smoothly. Test yourself by using the shot timer, see where you are inconsistent or sloppy, then practice those sections some more.

            My posts are for general educational and informational purposes only. What you do with this information is your responsibility. I encourage you to seek out professional instruction. Nothing replaces in-person training with a qualified professional to ensure you learn properly and train safely.


            • #7
              Thanks Coch!

              Yes, I plan on working on my draw a lot before going back to the range. I'll work in reverse, whereas I have my proper grip and then I'll place it into the holster. This allows me to figure out exactly what I need to do to get that good grip from the draw. One thing I noticed from this is that the sweat guard on my holster is part of the issue. It is not allowing me to get a high grip and hindering my ability to get my thumb fully behind the gun. So I will be trimming some or all of the leather sweat guard off. I will also be polishing up a few other things as you mention. I don't have a shot timer at this time but I do plan on setting up my camera and using video for feedback.

              I will say I am very happy with my speed in drawing the pistol from concealment and getting on target. That was going much better than I ever expected. Now it's just a matter of isolating a few things in order to increase my accuracy. In this case, slowing down will probably be best until perfection starts showing and then I will begin speeding back up.

              Thanks again guys and stay safe!
              Last edited by Ralph III; 03-19-2020, 08:13 PM.


              • #8
                Sorry for being late to the game guys..... I see that grip, trigger, sight picture / focus has all been covered in pretty great detail. One part of your question was drills that can help build accurate speed.

                I am a huge fan of a drill we called Push/Pull (similar to the push/pull method for locking down grip). This drill is generally shot with varying sizes of dots (I prefer 3" and 6" or 4" and 8-10" dots). Two targets side by side, one with a small dot and one with the larger dot. On the beep, draw and engage one dot, then transition to the other (I like to vary my engagements with anything from 1 - 5 rounds per dot and steer away from the common "controlled pairs" that can lead to training scars). I find that the size of the Tgt will defiantly control my throttle. shoot fast enough that you are trowing no more than 2 out of 10 outside of each dot. Going from large to small and then vice versa keeps the drill fresh. I have had a lot of success using this drill to build accurate speed.

                Ralph, I hope you like this drill. Let me know if I need to detail anything greater in it design or descriptions.
                My posts are for general educational and informational purposes only. What you do with this information is your responsibility. I encourage you to seek out professional instruction. Nothing replaces in-person training with a qualified professional to ensure you learn properly and train safely.


                • #9
                  Hey Steiny,
                  Yes, thanks for the drill suggestion. That sounds like an excellent drill and it is somewhat similar to what I have been doing at times. I have two different targets (9 and 12 o'clock or 12 and 9 o'clock). However, one of the targets is at 20ft whereas the other is at 15ft so the target size and depth varies.

                  At what distance do you practice the drill you suggested? It may be a few more weeks before I can shoot again with all the mess going on and lack of ammo but I've got some good practice ahead.

                  God Bless,