Getting a FAST coin with a revolver

Caleb Indoor Nats

An idea I’ve toyed around with for a while has been getting a FAST coin with a revolver. Now that someone is going to be preserving the test and the coin in Todd’s absence, it’s once again something that’s on the table. The FAST test/drill is a relatively simple drill – draw from concealment, fire two shots at a 3×5 head box, reload from slidelock/empty, fire four shots at the 8 inch body. To get a coin you’ve got to get 2 out of 3 runs under 5 seconds, clean. Hits outside of the head and body carry enormous penalties, so for the sake of this post “clean” is the only real option.

You’re probably thinking “why should I care?” Well, uh…if you’re interested in shooting a revolver better than you currently do and winning a coin that not a lot of people have an no one has ever won with a wheelgun? I think it’s interesting, and this is my website. Anyway, let’s break this down. The first thing that matters is gun selection. You want something that’s going to be easy to reload relatively quickly, has minimal recoil, and most importantly can be concealed using standard IDPA concealment gear. Here are the options I’d look at:

  • S&W 625
  • Some kind of K-frame
  • Ruger GP100

Of those, I’d probably pick the 625, because it’s going to be the fastest on the reload. Having the moonclip means all the rounds kick out at the same time, and there’s no speedloader to mess with. Just drop another six in a clip down in the gun and you’re good to go. The issue with a 625 is that it’s a hard recoiling gun in .45 ACP, and you’re going to likely have slower splits than you would with a .38 or a 9mm gun. But the reason I’d stick with the 625 in this case is because of that reload. Getting a coin with a wheelgun is won and lost on the reload. Let’s break down how to get there, assuming we want to give ourselves some margin for error, our target time will be 4.80 seconds for all six shots.

  • Draw: 1.35
  • Split: 0.35
  • Reload: 2.25
  • Split: 0.25
  • Split: 0.25
  • Split: 0.25

That would give us a total time of 4.7 seconds. You can even stretch out those splits at the end to 0.30s each and still be under 5.00 pretty easily. The problem is that reload. In match conditions, I’ve never pulled off anything under a 2.00 with a speedloader gun, and I’ve never spent enough to clocking my moonclip loads. I know that under 2.5 is possible, because I’ve done plenty of 2.5s in practice, both live and dry fire. But that’s practice we’re talking about, and it only really counts if you can pull it when the chips are down.

The easiest place to “buy time” on the drill are the head shots. Two shots at a 3×5 card from concealment at 7 yards on the clock, under 1.7 seconds is our goal here. Back when I was training hard, I was getting right around that with an autoloader, and this part of drill is equipment neutral, so again I know it’s doable. What’s the best way to practice for this? Uh…just do it? Do a ton of reps drawing to a 3×5 card and getting two good clicks in dry fire and then replicating in live fire. Your dry fire goal par should be about 0.5 faster than your live fire par time.

That gets us to the reload. You have to drill this like crazy, because even if you’re killing the headshots like a poisonous mushroom, you will absolutely win or lose the coin right here. Screw up the load and it doesn’t matter how fast your follow up shots to the body are. It just doesn’t. To work on this, you’ll need a ton of dry fire. Get your gear perfect, eliminate all wasted movement. Do 1-reload-1 in dry fire a bunch. Like, all the time. Confirm it in live fire.

The last part of the drill is the four body shots. This is the easiest, but don’t get carried away and spank rounds out of the body and lose here. A 0.25 split is a perfectly reasonable pace to run a wheelgun at, so focus on getting your hits. I’d probably run 2-3 bill drills each practice session to work on this. Also remember, with a round gun you can simulate the entire drill in dry fire. Do it two ways – slowly, working on no wasted movement, and then do put yourself on a timer. In dry fire, you should be CRUSHING your live fire par time.

And now that the chance to win a coin is back, I think I might just start working on this. I mean, not until late this year/2016, because I’ve got a pretty full schedule right now.


  1. Am I correct in assuming the only way to get the coin is taking Langdon’s 2-day class?

      1. Gotcha. I guess the barrel length is what’s keeping it from being able to be used, because it’s got to conceal pretty similarly to the 625.

        1. Yeah, the 6.5 inch tube is pretty long. I’ve thought about the 986 as well, which would probably work, although I’d have to work a little harder to conceal the 5 inch barrel.

    1. Those would be great, except for the loading. They don’t take moonclips, so you’d be forced to load with some weird speedloader. A 9mm Speed Six would be the tits if I could find one that wasn’t a billion dollars.

  2. That’s a great drill with a revolver, based as it is on 6 shots, you can load up a few speedloaders and make it part of a day’s practice. I do a couple runs once a month or so and always run right around 7 with a best of 6.86 (Security Six with Comp IIIs). I hope you can get the sub 5 coin!

    1. I’ve run both 357/38 and 45acp in moonclips. The shorter fatter rounds are much easier/faster to reload than the longer thinner rounds of the 38 or 357.

      In fact the 625 rounds I just throw in the general direction of the holes and with RN bullets and chamfering of the cylinder they just wiggle their own way in there. I guess the weight of the ammo also helps.

      For the same reason that the 9mm might be lighter recoiling you’ll be faced with that problem of getting smaller rounds into small holes under speed.

      Same reason double stack mags seat easier than single stack mags in their respective platforms. Yes, both the items (double stack mag or 45 cartridge) you are trying to insert is also bigger but somehow it just works easier than its thinner counterpart.

    2. Down thread, Lin says something I agree with .38 in moonclips doesn’t load as quick as .45 ACP. I think 9mm or Thutty-Hate Sooper is the best for a natural minor load.

      1. I note that in support of both of you with regard to .45 ACP and moon clips, that little known revolver hand, Jerry M., set some sort of piddling record with such a rig and the video of it does make it seem like he just threw the rounds into the cylinder. Just hope he does not soon take an interest in adding a FAST coin to his collection.

  3. 160grain RNFP cowboy action bullets/5.4grains RedDot powder in .45ACP case=LOW recoil load in a 625.

  4. A great dry fire progression I learned from Steve Anderson’s “Refinement and Repetition” could be useful to adapt to your practice here. Determine your reps by the number of drills you are running and how long you have for the session. Basically it goes like this:
    1) Super slow working on perfecting movement and relaxation and making everything as efficient and smooth as possible.
    2) No par time
    3) .2 above par time
    4) .1 above par time
    5) Par time (twice as many reps as the other rounds)
    6) .1 under par time (sometimes I get OCD and spend more time here than he recommends, chasing the numbers. Not sure if that is actually helpful though 🙂 )

    Once you can nail the faster time consistently, make that your new par time and adjust accordingly. I have found better results with the same amount of training time broken into a couple shorter sessions than one long marathon session myself when my schedule permits. It sounds like you are already doing something like this, but I figured it may give you an idea or two and you can modify it to fit our goals / needs.

    One other thing you can do to prepare for the day is to conduct your dry fire and live fire training occasionally with some additional stress. Sian Beilock (psychologist, author of Choke) talks about this in her book. It may help to have friends watch and include some small stakes wager or similar stress inducing component attached to your performance. Have them film you (even if you don’t use the footage for anything) and maybe bet them dinner or something in relation to an appropriately challenging performance goal. That will help you get you the stress inoculation you need to perform these skills when you are going for the coin. It doesn’t need to be a 1:1 correlation of conditions to be useful. For example, In basketball, they found a dramatic increase in free throw success when a team began to institute the practice of randomly pausing a scrimmage for free throw work with the penalty for a sprinted lap for those who missed. The addition of practicing under these conditions (though different from the stress found in making a critical shot during a playoff game) dramatically increased the teams free throw success percentage during real games, including those high stress shots.

    This seems like a fun goal and you have a solid strategy to achieve it. I look forward to hearing about your success sir!

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