Pistol Shooting Drills for Making the Most of Your Range Time

Now that the weather is starting to get a little warmer, that means it’s time for you to start heading back out to the range and improving your pistol shooting skills. A common mistake shooters make is going to the range without a plan or training objective in mind. Going without a plan tends to lead to loading full magazines and firing them at a high rate of fire. While this may provide entertainment, there is often limited training value in “mag dumps.” Furthermore, ammo is expensive, so you want to get the most out of your hard-earned money. I love going to the range. Pistol shooting drills help work on specific areas where you may be lacking and need improvement. They often also give you data that you can analyze and document. This documentation will help you monitor improvement and set goals.

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Pistol Shooting Drills for Getting Back on the Range

Pistol Shooting Drills

Bill Drill

Range: 7 yards

Target: IPSC or any silhouette style target

Start Position: Compressed high ready or holstered

Rounds: 6 

This drill was design by Bill Wilson and is designed to increase speed while maintaining accuracy. Six shots are fired as quickly as possible while maintaining hits on target. The goal here should be all A-zone hits. The Bill Drill teaches rapid sight acquisition, trigger control and recoil management. I like this drill because in defensive scenarios, it’s imperative to get rounds on target fast and accurately and this reinforces those principles. 

Ball & Dummy Drill

Range: 3 yards

Target: 3 inches 

Start Position: Any

Rounds: Varies 

This Ball & Dummy drill is a core diagnostic tool used to identify and overcome recoil anticipation which is one of the most common problems. You will need dummy rounds or snap caps for this drill. Have a partner load your magazines with the ball and dummy rounds randomly staggered. If you don’t have a partner you can load multiple magazines with different ratios and then mix then up so you won’t predict the pattern. While aiming at the small target, begin to fire slowly and monitor the front sight post. You should have no idea if a live round or dummy is in the chamber. Once you get to a dummy round the pistol should stay perfectly still during the trigger press and maintained during follow-through. If your pistol was still, congratulations you are doing exactly what you need to do. If not, you are anticipating the recoil; which will be displayed by you pistol dipping or moving off target. Remember – press the trigger slow and steady to the rear and don’t anticipate the bang. Continue to cycle the ammo through the magazine until all rounds are expended.

Pistol Shooting Drills for Getting Back on the Range

These are just a couple pistol shooting drills to get you started. You can search the Internet for ideas, or make some of your own. Have fun with it and continue to challenge yourself.

  • About Avery Skipalis

    Avery Skipalis is the owner of Skip’s Tactical Solutions, an organization that focuses on empowering women, men and children to make sure that no one else becomes a victim. She gained her firearms experience from the military where she’s been a military firearms instructor for 10.5 years. She’s also a certified NRA rifle and pistol instructor and Glock Advanced Armorer since 2015. She’s attended Sig Sauer Academy, FNH, Special Operations Command Armorers courses as well as multiple Advanced Shooting Schools across the United States. She resides in Florida with her husband and 2 kids. She’s currently serving in the United States Air Force and loves sharing her passion with others. She thinks it’s important that women also feel like they’re in control of their own safety.