First Shot Pistol Drill

This is a simple drill that builds on what’s crucial to carrying a defense gun: making the first shot. In a gunfight the most important shot is the first one. If you can fire faster than your opponent and hit on target, your odds of winning increase substantially.

Start in a standing position 10 yards (30 feet) from the target, with arms at your side (another variation is with your hands raised in the “surrender” position). Any man-sized target will work but silhouette targets will give you a human form so you can see your shot placement.

Your gun should be in your holster. Remember that speed comes less from snatching the gun from its holster and more from quickly lining up the sights and focusing on the front sight as your arms reach full extension—this enables you to shoot as soon as your gun is in position.

At the buzzer, draw your gun and fire one shot at the target for a center-of-mass hit. You may be surprised at the amount of time it takes to draw from a carry holster, shoot, and actually hit. On their first few attempts, many experienced shooters are shocked to see 3 or more seconds on the timer. Do this several times to determine what your average draw time is.

Once you have your average time, use the following to calculate what is your personal safety circle: # of seconds + 2 then multiply that by 15. This will be the number of feet an average assailant can be away from you and STILL get to you at a dead run. The reason for adding 2 to your draw and shoot time is for the surprise delay (OODA loop) that your body may experience.

Now move the target to your safety circle distance (for example: 3 second draw and shoot plus 2 second surprise delay is 5 seconds; 5 seconds times 15 is 75 feet). Now, at this distance see what your target looks like. This isn't the distance you have to be accurate at, this is the distance to show what an assailant will look like.

Also be sure to practice this drill with your carry gun, wearing your normal concealment garment, like a jacket or vest. Start with having the gun exposed, then practice with it concealed.

Training with firearms is an inherently dangerous activity. Be sure to follow all safety protocols when using firearms or practicing these drills. These drills are provided for information purposes only. Use at your own risk.

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