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A “Murderous” Shooting Drill

A “Murderous” Shooting Drill

A “Murderous” Shooting Drill

A while back I was training with well-known instructor Louis Awerbuck. If you’re not familiar with Louis, he used to be the Chief Rangemaster at Gunsite and Colonel Jeff Cooper was his mentor. Well, on the day I was training with Louis I was shooting pretty well and after one of the drills I went up to him and asked him what I could do to improve my shooting.

His response was, “what do you mean? You’re shooting good.” I was. But I’m always looking for continuous improvement and I’ll be trying to improve my shooting until the day I die.

So I told him to give me a drill, something difficult to work on. And he says to me, “you want to know a murderous drill that will wreck your self-confidence?” Well, I couldn’t resist a proposal like that so obviously I said yes.

Here’s the drill that he gave me, which he said Colonel Cooper came up with…

From 25 yards, you have 2.5 seconds to get 1 shot into an 8-inch circle… drawing from concealment. If you ever find yourself getting too cocky and you want a humbling experience, I highly recommend you try this drill.

Just this past weekend I found myself at the NRA shooting range doing just that. It’s a great drill because your draw and your trigger control have to be almost perfect. There is very little room for error in this drill.

And if you do try this drill and don’t succeed the first few times, keep trying. As Louis stated, a huge part of shooting is psychological. Far too many people give up too easily and don’t have enough confidence in themselves.

In fact…

I’m very fortunate to see just how psychological shooting is every time I teach a defensive pistol course. I’ll have a brand new shooter who’s only picked up a gun once or twice in their lives. When they arrive at the course I can see their nervousness and their face is basically saying, “please don’t let this class be scary and intimidating.”

But by the time the day is over they’re often shooting amazingly well and it’s great to see the grin on their face and the huge boost of confidence they have, knowing that they’re better prepared to protect themselves and their loved ones.

So, if you have a free moment this weekend, head down to the shooting range, wreck your self-confidence for a bit, and become a better shooter in the process.

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  • Capt A

    Jason, this is a one-handed drill correct?

  • John

    Jason, I am a certified NRA instructor and from what I know, 90 percent of defence shooting happen with in 20 feet and of that 90 percent, 50 percent of them happen with in 5 feet of your target.What I would tell a student if they asked about shooting someone 25 yards away I would tell them that if someone is 25 yards away, that they need to seek cover because that is too far away.

    • Cobrawing

      John you are 100% correct. As a retired law enforcement officer I would also like to add my voice in saying if you ever find yourself shooting at someone 25 yards (75 feet) away, you are going to be facing one hell of a nightmare in court. It is absolutely true that the overwhelming majority of defensive uses of pistol shooting take place within a matter of 5-6 feet. It will be a tough job justifying the shooting of an individual 75 feet away from you in most instances.

      I only say this because Jason mentioned the 75 foot range and then mentioned he was teaching an actual defensive pistol course. If I were teaching mere paper target shooting then 75 feet is valid, but if I’m teaching a defensive shooting course I would NEVER teach or even recommend such distances for the aforementioned reason.

      • BlueCorsair

        The point of the drill is that it improves your accuracy by teaching you to shoot a more difficult shot quickly. After you get good at that, the closer shots suddenly become easier.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Coleman/100003712654322 John Coleman

          I appreciate your thought here but I’m afraid your theory isn’t exactly the case. You should train for the action you are going to encounter. By your theory, practicing shots at a hundred yards should make you an expert at rapid fire instinctive up close shooting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Up close shooting itself needs to be practiced as it requires specific instinctive target acquisition skill sets. Just because you can hit a long range target doesn’t insure close up skills. In the defensive pistol course Jason is teaching, it is the up close and dirty shooting skills that should be perfected.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.lesperance Nathan Skinner Lesperance

            I think you’re over thinking what Jason is saying. Though all you’re statements are correct, the point of the 25 yd exercise is to keep you humble (as mentioned), also he mentioned it would help you focus on the fundamentals. Also, for me I like to extend the range of my target when I start to get bored with the usual drills. It gives me a break while continuing to put lead down range and the extra distance exaggerates my errors in form so I know what areas I need to concentrate more on.

          • http://www.downrangedefense.com/ Matt Kaufmann

            This is partly correct. Like you, I advocate practicing at all distances, in particular the ones that will be most common for a defensive scenario (inside 5 yards and less frequently out to 7 yards). However, by sending the target downrange to 25 yards the shooter is effectively making the target smaller (I realize slight bullet drop may come into play) which forces the shooter to focus more intensely on fundamentals.

            This is akin to drawing and shooting at a 1 inch dot at 7 yards. Pushing ones accuracy and finding a point of failure is finding a point for improvement. A 25 yard defensive shoot may be unrealistic in most real-world cases but practicing in weak areas while focusing on fundamentals will help accuracy across the board.

      • http://www.downrangedefense.com/ Matt Kaufmann

        You have a great point in regard to the legal position that this could create for somebody in a defensive scenario. Only under some rare circumstances would a person who is 75 feet away be a grave threat.

        That said, look at this drill as a way to push the skills of a shooter to the breaking point rather than a drill to train for a possibly unrealistic defensive situation. This is akin to drawing and shooting at a one-inch dot at seven yards.

        It’s all about finding the point of failure and “fixing” it. :D

  • Paul H.

    A killer drill seems a waste of time. My routine is simple. Being ambidexterous, I divide my ammo into 4 equal piles. One pile will be right handed using both hands, the second will be right handed single handed, the other two being the same but using the left hand. I use an IPSC silouette at a range of 7 feet to 20 feet. With my .45’s I aim at the chest cavity and my backups, .22’s and .25’s, I use the facial part of the target. I only shoot the small guns at 7 to 10 feet.
    This routine not only keeps me in pratice but it boosts my confidence. Yeah, when I learned to shoot at 25 yards with a single action Ruger .22 and with that gun or one of my full size .45’s I can hit good shots most every time. But these are not practical carry pieces. I have compact .45’s and super tiny pocket pistols. At the range I am likely to need them at I know where the bullets will go most of the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tal-Pence/553046571 Tal Pence

    Seems like an Interesting Drill. Personally having not been shooting very long I am just focusing on the basic’s and it is humbling enough. I just set up a four in wide post and see if I can hit from 25 to 50 feet away between the groin and neck region. I figure if I can consistently hit that narrow a target from that distance from draw or stance I should be able to eventually work my way to more common drills and targets.

  • JJ_Swiontek

    I, also, love that look on a new shooter’s face when they finish one of my lessons.

  • my911

    Who is a top notch instructor in/near Charleston SC

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Ess/100000666571492 Dan Ess

    Certainly sounds like a challenging proposition. I am glad if I can do that in 5 or 10 seconds. Actually don’t do much shooting beyond 15 yards (with handguns) and mostly in the 10, 7.5 and 5 yard increments. I think I’d be pleased if I could come near center mass chest area in the suggested time frame. That gives me about 18 inches to work with on average. As for it being a one handed drill (I doubt it), I imagine there are those who can
    achieve a feat as that. One handed shooting is certainly worth practicing in the event you might need to do so. It also helps you to determine which caliber and weapon you are capable of controlling well enough and to select as a daily carry choice. I would hate to be carrying a 44 Magnum (for example) only to be hit in one arm and not be able to function my weapon with one hand competently. Practice with both hands, left and right, two handed and single. You might be surprised at what you discover regarding your shooting hand of choice.

  • cjs

    Reminds me of a class I was shooting with a guy who claimed he was mostly self-taught. He got to the line and was easily the most precise shooter in the class. Turns out his home range had a minimum target distance of 25 yards, so that’s what he’d always practiced at. Getting close to the more ‘social’ distances in our class was like setting the game to ‘easy’ for him.

    So all the naysayers about 25 yards being a waste of time, think about how much more poorly you perform under stress. Even shooting at contact distances, I’d prefer to have a guy who can do this drill at my side.