Training email

From time to time, people will take leave of their senses and send me emails asking for shooting/training advice.  Which is cool and everything, but I’m not exactly what you’d call an expert – but hey, I do what I can.  Here’s an email I got just this morning about an all around “training drill”.

Hey Caleb
I’m a new shooter to IDPA and I’m looking for a good drill to practice my fundamentals.  I want something that’s simple but that will help me shoot better.

I was sitting around thinking about this, and I realized that there’s a great drill out there that will allow you to practice the three most important fundamentals of IDPA shooting: 1) the draw, 2) reloads, and 3) rapid, accurate shooting. It’s called The F.A.S.T. Drill, and it’s one of ToddG’s drills from Pistol-Training.Com.

To modify the drill for IDPA shooters, it would work like this.  Start at 7 yards, gun loaded with 2 rounds and holstered.  At the buzzer, draw and fire two rounds in the head box of a standard IDPA target, reload from slide lock and fire 4 rounds in the Down Zero (A zone) center mass of an IDPA target.  On the “real” FAST drill, the target is a 3×5 index card and an 8 inch plate, but for the purposes of practicing for IDPA, just use a standard IDPA target.

Start slow on the drill – only A-zone hits count, so it doesn’t do you any good to run the drill in 5.34 seconds with a bunch of bullets in the -1 or -3 parts of the target.  Here’s a sample “FAST Drill Practice Session”, assuming that you’ve got the time and inclination to burn about 300 rounds in a single practice session.  Why 300? Because 300 rounds of practice if you shoot nothing but the FAST Drill means you’ll do 50 reps, and repetition is what builds skill.

  1. 10 Reps @ 7 yards: This is your warm-up.  Take as long as you need on each of these reps to make sure that everything is perfect, smooth presentation, clean sight pictures, smooth reloads, etc.  Keep yourself on the buzzer, but don’t worry about speed.
  2. 10 Reps @ 7 yards: Speed things up here.  Don’t push yourself, but make a concerted effort to go faster here.  Get all A zone hits.
  3. 5 Reps @ 7 yards:  hang it all out.  On the first rep, go as fast as you can.  If you don’t get all A-zone hits, back off the speed until you do.
  4. 10 Reps @ 10 yards: move back three yards, and go back to smooth presentations.  Maintain a sense of urgency on speed – but again, don’t go so fast that accuracy suffers.
  5. 10 Reps @ 20 yards: Accuracy is the key point of this drill, so go as fast as you feel comfortable to get your A-zone hits.
  6. 5 Reps @ 7 yards: to close out the session after shooting at 10 and 20 yards, go back to 7 and run your last few drills as fast as you can.  You’ll be surprised how fast you can get A-zone hits at 7 yards after spending 60 rounds at the 10 and 20 yard parts.

If you want to increase the difficulty, do the entire session from the 10 and 20 yard lines.  If you don’t have the time for the whole drill, cut the round count in half and do it to the tune of 150 rounds at a session.  I’m a big believer in accuracy first, speed second, because if you’re smooth and accurate on every shot, speed will naturally follow.  If you can get fast, accurate hits at 20 yards, you will be able to get faster hits at 7 yards.  The FAST Drill adapted for IDPA shooters is a great way to get practice in almost every skill set you need to be a successful IDPA shooter.  If you’re limited on practice time, this is a great way to bring your skills up.

Oh yeah, one more thing.  The record for the F.A.S.T. Drill is held by Dave Sevigny, and it’s 3.56 seconds.  The link goes to a Youtube video of him crushing the record.  If you beat that and document it on video, I’ll buy you dinner (my choice).


  1. Yes, Ben Stoeger is money. There’s a video of him shooting the entire IDPA classifier in 53 seconds or something ridiculous.

  2. While you may not be at the level of Todd Jarret, the above post clearly demonstrates that you are an ‘expert’ in relation to a large percentage of shooters.

    It’s all in perspective.

  3. Exactamundo. Compared to some of the gun bloggers, I am just some guy that owns a few guns.

  4. When I was shooting IDPA, about 10 years ago, I got a small booklet covering the standard drills. I’m not sure where I got it now. I’m thinking it was sent out from Berryville, but I’m not totally sure. It had COFs for revolver and semi-autos, some round limited, some not.

    It certainly helped during practice.

Comments are closed.