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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Practicing Rapid Fire Drills

Many of the students that take my Intermediate & Advanced Pistol class take it because they want to learn how to do rapid-fire shooting just like they see on TV and in the movies.  I present the prospective student with a number of questions to determine why they want to learn this skill.

One of the questions is whether or not they've attempted rapid fire shooting before.  Invariably, they have and the results were poor, to say the least.

Typically, either the first or second shot misses the entire target.  This makes no sense to them.

I always point out to them that they need to watch these TV and movie scenes more closely.  As their hero is gunning down the bad guys, I tell them to watch the muzzle rise.

There isn't any.

In TV and in movies, they obviously use blanks.  The actor does not need to account for the recoil from the shot, and the resulting muzzle rise.  They can just blast away and "mow down" the bad guys.

Not so much in real life!

My students will tell me that either their first or second shot is right on target, but the other shot sometimes misses the target entirely.  They're doing one of two things:  If the first shot hits, it means that they have presented the gun correctly, but haven't accounted for the resulting muzzle rise.  They either pull the trigger the second time too quickly and the shot misses high, or they over-grip - trying to offset the recoil - and the second shot is low.

In the other case - where the second shot is on target - they are generally over-gripping and the muzzle is initially aimed low.  The resulting muzzle rise puts the second shot close to the target.

We start off with them getting to know their gun.  A full-metal 1911 handgun is going to respond to the recoil much differently than a polymer-bodied pistol.  We do some drills where they watch the muzzle rise on a series of single shots.

It then comes down to grip and trigger pull.  Without giving away any secrets (!), I tell my students that with a proper grip and proper trigger pull, they can consistently place multiple, accurate shots on target.

"Soft hands" and a delicate, deliberate trigger squeeze are the keys.  Your grip is more with your palms than it is with your fingers.  It takes some practice, and is a skill that can rapidly deteriorate, but the mechanics are fairly basic.

Accept The Challenge

If you've got the basics down, give this drill a try:

Using a torso sillouette target at 5 yards, place an 8 inch target over the center of mass area of the sillouette.  Load 6 rounds.  From the high-compact position (both hands on gun, chest high, gun held close to chest with muzzle pointing down-range), present the gun and fire a single shot.  Re-set to the high-compact position and repeat 5 more times.

Reload with 9 rounds.  From the high-compact position, present the gun and fire a single shot.  With arms still extended, wait one second, then take two rapid shots.  Re-set to the high-compact position and repeat the drill two more times.

Reload with 8 rounds.  From the high-compact position, present the gun and fire two rapid shots.  With your arms still extended, wait one second and fire two more rapid shots.  Reset to the high-compact position and repeat.

Once you are able to put all of your shots on target, move it out to 7, then 10 yards.  Focus on a smooth, deliberate trigger pull.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Unknown said...

In my experience and observation it is about looking at 'rapid fire' correctly. You can shoot accurately as fast as you can re acquire the target and squeeze the trigger. With practice you can get better at the re acquiring part. This will let you shoot in a fairly rapid manner but still have reasonable accuracy.

Despite what TV and movies show you can not just shoot as fast as the cycle of the pistol will allow you to, at least if you are shooting at anything more than 5 meters away that isn't a barn.

Chief Instructor said...

Indeed. It's all about how quickly you can acquire the target, and not having your grip screw up your shots.