Why You Need to Practice a “Cold Bore” Shot

When you hear the term “cold bore” shot, it’s usually associated with a sniper rifle, and in simple terms it means the first shot to come out of a clean barrel of a rifle. After the first shot, the barrel has residue in it, which can affect the flight path of a bullet.

As someone who carries a gun every day, I often practice another type of “cold bore” shot and recommend that other gun owners do the same. The fact is, nobody likes to miss shots on target or to shoot poorly.

That’s why when many people go to the shooting range they do several warm-ups before challenging themselves to more difficult drills. However, in a gunfight there are no warm ups, which is why I encourage you to do the following the next time you go to your local shooting range.

As soon as you get to the range, your first shot should be to draw from concealment and fire a center mass hit in two seconds or less from the 7-yard line. If you’re a brand new shooter you’ll probably want to adjust the time, but it should be very challenging.

Why You Need to Practice a “Cold Bore” Shot

Why You Need to Practice a “Cold Bore” Shot

The Pocket Pro Timer I use to ensure I hit my target in two seconds or less.

If you do this simple drill and you’re nowhere close to hitting the target then that should be a lesson that you need to spend more time dry firing, working on your draw stroke, and trigger control.

After all, if you’re in the Walmart parking lot and some deranged maniac comes at you with a knife it’s going to be a “cold bore” shot and you need to be confident that you’ve trained enough to hit your target.

If you happen to be a more experienced shooter and you have no problem hitting the target from 7-yards in two seconds or less then reduce the time. Also challenge yourself by going for headshots in two seconds or less and then add movement where you’re going left or right or forwards or backwards.

Like I mentioned earlier, I hate shooting poorly just as much as anyone. But if all your shots are perfect hits in the “A” zone then you’re not pushing yourself enough and you’ll never know where your failure point is.

So get out to the shooting range this week, resist the temptation to warm up, and see how you’d fare from 7-yards in two seconds or less.


  • bigbob101240

    As a long time varmit hunter I agree . We call it a clean barrel shot. If you are shooting .500 at 100 yards a clean barrel can make that first shot be off by 1 inch. When sighting a rifle clean it aqt the range then fire one shot to dirty the barrel then put it away. This doesn’t apply for long term storage.

  • Dan Kidder

    And do it with the ammo you carry. The recoil will be different than practice ammo.

  • skeezix

    Back in my muzzleloading days, before the match, at the first station, everyone was allowed to take a ‘fouling shot’ to condition the bore and to burn out any remaining lube/preservative. These days I will often take my pistol to the range (after thorough cleaning and before a match) and shoot a few rounds through it to ‘season’ the bore.

  • Tbalestrini

    I’m sure some of us might not be able to practice this due to range rules.

  • Tim G

    I thought cold bore shot was just that. The first bullet fired from cold bore, fouled or not.
    A clean bore shot is either that or better know as a clean cold bore shot. This is not the same as a cold bore shot relative to the fouling. At least in the precision rifle world these are the current terminologies.
    I know it may be considered splitting hairs and not applicable to sidearms differentiating the two.

  • ilhunter

    “Head shots”? I say go for center mass and keep shooting until the threat is eliminated. Yes, the first will be “clean bore” but the rest won’t.

  • Remedy

    You Stated: “f you happen to be a more experienced shooter and you have no problem hitting the target from 7-yards in two seconds or less then reduce the time. Also challenge yourself by going for headshots ”

    Are you trying to get people killed with this bad dangerous information ?

    During a crisis such as the subject at hand, a person is only half as good as their last time at the range.

    Furthermore the reason we practice is to build “mussel memory” for crisis situations so we “react” without

    thinking about how to to do it.

    You now have brought in a whole new part of the brain to train, “Head Shots” remember, half as good

    as the last time at the range ? CENTER MASS SHOTS is how it;s done not HEAD SHOTS .

    • G50AE

      “Are you trying to get people killed with this bad dangerous information ?”

      I don’t think so. Jason Hanson is definitely a lightweight writer along the lines of Duane Thomas or Gary Campbell*. But I don’t think he has any real malicious intent, it’s more of an ego thing.

      *Gary Campbell wrote a review article of a Springfield Armory long slide 1911 style pistol in .45 Super which featured to rows of eight ports to reduce recoil. Nowhere in the article did he mention the length of the barrel of a firearm that the most distinguishing feature is it’s long slide configuration with an extended barrel. He did say that an extended barrel was a nice feature, but failed to mention how long, long slide is.

  • Ted A Sames II

    I believe I understand what you are trying to convey to your readership but the phrase “cold bore shot” has no place with pistols unless the shooter is in world class bullseye competition–and even then I do not think it is a concern. You might be conveying the concept of “cold shooter” meaning to combat shoot he first drill before warming up. As with rifles, the majority of shooters would not now the difference anyhow. My thin bbl’ed Rem Model 7 shoots same point of impact until the bbl gets heated-around round 5 and then the groups widen considerably. With my 700 sniper prepped rifle the cold bore bout 1/2″ off at 100 yards. Some rifles are more temperamental. With a pistol at close range…the question is what will you do “being cold” and firing a rapid string of shots. That makes more sense. I can agree but don’t use the term “Cold Bore” because it has a completely different meaning.