I mentioned that one of my goals for 2011 was to shoot the Pistol-Training.Com FAST Drill in less than 5 seconds with a revolver.  At SHOT, I had the chance to sit down with Todd (and others) to talk about the FAST and where to pick up speed to make it possible.  So for each practice session, I’m going to shoot FAST three times (the max allowed in a day) and then break it down into chunks to practice.  Here are my three runs from yesterday:

8.25 (total) – 1.71/.52/3.20/.28/.25/.29 1 head miss (which adds 2 seconds to the raw time of 6.25)

6.81 – 1.58/.40/4.08/.26/.25/.24 – I totally barfed the reload here.  A 4 second reload is just terrible.

5.61 – 1.46/.40/2.99/.25/.26/.26 – the last run was my best run of the day.  I really focused on my press out and keeping the trigger in constant motion.

What I learned from practice is that the reload is where this thing is going to be won and lost.  I can get both 3×5 card shots pretty consistently in around 2.00 seconds, and I can keep my splits pretty consistently around 0.25, which is where they need to be.  To practice for this, I’m going to split the FAST drill in two parts; the first is the draw from concealment to two hits on a 3×5 card.  I have to be able to do this on command in 2 seconds or less every time.  The hard part is going to be the reload.  I actually emailed Craig Buckland of Team S&W to ask if he thought it was even possible to trim a speedloader reload down to 2 seconds.  I know have some wasted motion in my reload, which is why part two of my practice will be the reload to a bill drill.  With the gun indexed on target and full of empty rounds, on the buzzer I’ll reload the gun and fire six shots at an 8 inch target at 7 or 10 yards.  The total time for the drill should be right around 3.25 IF I’m getting a 2 second reload, which is the obvious goal.

The last run made me feel pretty good though; 5.61 clean is actually very close to my goal.  It is worth noting that just like the IDPA classifier, my goal here isn’t to be able to do it once, but rather to do it on command.  I want to be able to pick up my 686, gas it up and go.  I do think that it’s theoretically possible to shoot a sub 5 second FAST with a revo, but since I’m not Jerry Miculek, it’s going to take a lot of practice to get there.


  1. I’ve been shooting SSR for a few months now and, even coming from a 1911, have been getting my trigger time to a reasonable speed.

    It’s those reloads that are eating my lunch! Short stages, I can hang with the auto chuckers. Longer COFs and by the second reload, it’s a re-enactment of the train wreck from “The Fugitive”.

    Low light stages with reloads are a source of much hilarity to the other shooters. Nice long periods of quiet so you can hear the catcalls. Then the additional embarrassment of entering the scores: “Warning, string time is over 100 seconds. Is this correct? Y/N”

    I’m in the process of switching from Comp2 speedloaders in the snap holders to Comp3 in open top kydex. We’ll see if that helps any.

    1. I’m sure it will. I shoot revolver in USPSA and the switch from comp 2’s to comp 3’s was a great help. That little “push” from the spring to force the rounds in the chambers and the longer handle helps noticeably. I’m now using a different gun with moon clips, but may try ICORE classic with the comp 3’s.

    1. Yes, but I get less muzzle flip and faster splits with my .38 Special 686 than I do with my .45 ACP 625 that loads from moonclips. I could work up a minor PF load for the .45 that would give me “best of both worlds” performance, but that would also sort of defeat the purpose of the test in my mind if I gamed it like that.

  2. Moon clips are, in addition to being one of the few times you can say “clip” without being laughed at, are much faster than speed loaders or speed strips.

    Unfortunately, in IDPA you can’t use moon clips in Stock Service Revolver. You can in Enhanced Service Revolver, but that’s typically a .45ACP playing field.

    Other disciplines may allow them. If so, they’re definitely the way to go.

  3. I can usually keep my speed loader reloads between 2.5 and 3.0 coming back to a 10 yard target. I have had a few 2.3’s. I’m not as good as Craig, but I keep him nervous. 😉


    1. Thanks Todd, I figure I’m just going to wear a concealment garment over a Ghost holster or something to shave another couple of 10ths off the draw. Just kidding. Mostly.

  4. Consider doing it in three drills, which are different from how most people do it, but I think better:

    Drill one: Draw and press out to head shot.
    Drill two: Tight shot, reload, press out to wider shot.
    Drill three: The last half of a Bill drill.

    I found myself dropping the second headshot a lot, and I figured out it was because I was “cheating” the reload a bit and not following through enough on that shot. I found that practicing taking the shot, flowing into the reload, and pressing out to the wide open body shot made my reload faster and I stopped dropping the 2nd headshot. I doubt you’re dropping the 2nd headshot, but if you start cheating the reload to save time you will, and this is a great way to practice your reload while keeping yourself honest on the follow through for the previous shot. Just a suggestion!

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