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Defensive Drills for Intermediate Shooters

Now that you’re intimately familiar with your handgun, and you can confidently draw, fire and reload it without looking, it’s time to ramp up your range training.

During the following intermediate drills, we’ll introduce moving while simultaneously firing and reloading, all while under a stopwatch to add mental pressure. Practice these drills until they become second nature, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient defensive hand-gunner. Defensive Drills for Intermediate Shooters

As with all personal defense situations, avoiding a confrontation should be the priority, but if you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself then these are great drills to assure you’re prepared.

*For the following drills, you may want to invest in a shot timer or download a shot timer app onto your smartphone.

Drill #1:

Stand 7 paces from a standard B-27 type of silhouette target. With your pistol fully loaded and holstered, start with your hands by your side. When ready, quickly and smoothly draw your pistol and place 2 shots to the center body area then to the head of the target. When first trying the drill, try to beat a time of 5 seconds. Once it’s learned and you become smooth and fluid, cut your time to under 3 seconds and keep practicing. Remember, begin slowly and focus on safety while striving to be smooth and accurate.

Defensive Drills


Drill #2 & Move

After Drill #1 is etched into your muscle memory, try it again, but with a twist. Stand 7 yards from the target with your loaded gun holstered, but have a spare magazine in your pocket or spare mag pouch on your belt. When ready, draw and fire 2 shots into the target. As soon as you fire the second shot, take 2 steps to your left or right while dropping the magazine in your gun and replacing with a fresh one. Then fire 2 more shots to the target. Strive for a time under 10 seconds to start. With practice, try to perform the drill in under 5 seconds.

Defensive Drills

In this drill, the moving portion is critical, as it’s always extremely important to be able to move to cover or away from danger. But to move while simultaneously reloading is more difficult than it sounds and requires much practice. Again, begin by being purposefully slow and calculated until the drill is learned. If you find you are missing the target with your shots, you’re likely going too fast.


Drill #3, One-Handed Drill

By now you can likely nail the target every time with your handgun of choice from a comfortable two-handed, aimed fire shooting position. But the trouble is, the real world is not the range where a target simply stays stationary in front of you while you fire at your leisure. Often in a real defensive emergency, you’ll be faced with obstacles, uneven terrain and/or an attacker who’s up close and personal trying to fight you. So you need to be able to make space between you and your attacker, even if that means fighting him off with one hand while drawing and firing your gun with the other.

Defensive Drills

For this drill, begin 2 feet away from the target, with your loaded handgun holstered. When ready, shove the target/attacker back with one hand as you take a step back to create space between it and you. Concentrate not so much on forcing your attacker back but rather taking a step back with your hand held out for protection. Begin very, very slowly, focus on your form. As you do so, draw your handgun and punch it toward the target while withdrawing your fighting arm back to your body. When the pistol in your shooting hand is past your now-retracted fighting hand, fire a shot at center mass. As soon as you do, take another step back, join both hands together for a full grip and fire two more rounds at center mass. Be careful that your fighting hand never gets directly in front of your gun’s barrel. Build speed with copious practice and repetition.

Winchester Ammunition
Winchester Ammunition
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