Range Trip – May 25, 2023
There are a number of reasons to go to the range. Here are the common ones.
Training: This is participating is a structured set of
course work. Typical examples would be
various NRA courses, Rob Pincus courses, Tom Givens, Gun Site, various local
instructors, our coursework developed by NAPSI – to name just a few. These can run from a 4-hour safety course to
a 3-day+ in-depth course on an AR, a shotgun or a pistol. Round counts can vary from a hundred or so to
In these courses you are typically learning a new skillset
or perhaps just doing a refresher from a new instructor. Bottom line – you’re learning something new.
Shooting skills – be it with rifles, pistols or shotguns –
are perishable. Left unused your ability
to perform with the firearm diminishes.
Rapidly. My typical rule-of-thumb
is that for every firearm you wish to maintain a proficient level of skill –
you need to send 1,000 rounds downrange.
Have a carry gun you carry every day?
1,000 rounds to maintain proficiency.
Have a defensive AR you rely on for home defense? 1,000 rounds to maintain proficiency. Have a home defense shotgun? 1,000 rounds to maintain proficiency. If you set up a schedule for 100 rounds per
month for each platform, it becomes much more manageable to think about and to
accomplish. With a half day at the range
each month, you can easily work your way through a maintenance set of drills.
Zeroing my Rifle: Man, I hear this one a lot. “Why you here today?” “Gonna zero my rifle!” Ah.
Honestly the last time I zeroed my AR – both optic and iron sights – was
probably over 5 years ago. If your AR or
rifle is not holding it’s zero – something is wrong with the scope. Or, most likely, the way you mounted it. Once it’s zeroed, short of being dropped, you’re
zero should hold. That’s not to say you
shouldn’t check your zero – I do that every range trip. But adjusting it – nope, should not need to.
There are exceptions to this. Should you be shooting precision rifle and
you move to a new ammunition lot number – yeah, some tweaking may be
needed. But TWEAKING . . . not major changes.
Checking my Proficiency:
Am I maintaining my skill set?
That was the purpose of my range trip on 5/25/2023 and I worked with two
firearms. The first was my “Patrol Rifle”. I carry this in a vault in my Jeep with two
28 round magazines. I also grabbed a
couple extra boxes as well. MY second
was my carry Glock 17 and I had a box of 50 rounds. To declare myself “proficient” a minimum score
of 80% is required.
Let cover the rifle first, they I’ll do the same with the
The target I shot was LATargets SEB target. This is THE TARGET I use for all my
coursework and Practice. In this case I
added two “splash” targets in the lower left and lower right target. I bagged my rifle at 50 yards and shot 5
rounds on the left splash target to check the zero on my Vortex Strikefire II
and I shot 5 rounds on the right Splash target to check the zero on my Magpul
pop-up backup sights. At 50 yards the
Dot in the Strikefire completely covered the target. It is co-witnessed with my iron sights with
the dot resting just on top of the front blade with I look through the irons. The results were acceptable in both cases so
I continued on. Note, the engagement
distance of the AR Rifle is 10 yards or 30 feet. This is a typical engagement distance
equivalent to the width of your home, the length of a hallway, twice the length
of your car – just to get some idea of the distance I was working with. Another thing to keep in mind is that for a
standard 55gr bullet, at that distance the POI is just under 2-inches low. I have my rifle zeroed for 50 yards.
Drill 1 – Mount-touch-press (5
rounds) This is shot on the “1”
circle. The process is that on the
beeper you “Mount” the rifle from low ready and establish your aim point, you “Touch”
the trigger and the “Press” the trigger smoothly to the rear then perform your
follow through and return to the low ready.
You repeat this a total of 5 times.
Drill 2 – Single Round Engagement on
the “2” circle (5 rounds). The process
is that on the beeper you execute a single round engagement on the “2” circle
with follow through and then return to the low ready. You repeat this 5 times. You do this and all follow-on drills “at
speed” with a goal of less that 3 seconds for the first round.
Drill 3 – Single Round Engagement in the “Head” (5
rounds). The process is that on the
beeper you execute a single round engagement on the “Head” with follow through
and then return to the low ready. You
repeat this 5 times. You do this and all
follow-on drills “at speed” with a goal of less that 3 seconds for the first
Drill 4 – “Hammer” on the
“4” box (10 rounds). This is a 2-round
engagement on the “4” box. You do this 5
times with follow through.
Drill 5 – “Hammer” on
the High-Center-Mass box (10 rounds).
This is a 2-round engagement on the “4” box. You do this 5 times with follow through.
Drill 6 – “Failure Drill” on
the High-Center-Mass box and “Head” (15 rounds). Two rounds HCM and One round on the “Head”. You do this 5 times with follow through.
The total round count for zeroing and shooting the drills
is 60 rounds or 3 boxes of ammunition. That’s
a fairly efficient use of your ammo while gaining solid information on how your
proficiency is. I shot my two 28-round
magazines so I actually sent an extra 6 rounds down range. I had 7 misses for a 49 out of 56 or a 87.5%m
well within my desired goal of 80%.
The IDPA target for the G17 came about because I did not
have a 2nd SEB target in the Jeep.
So, I slapped a Splash target in the upper left and made due with what I
had. All rounds are shot from 7 yards.
DTP Target – Drive Touch Press on the Splash target – 10 rounds. These were unscored and just used to check
out the pistol and the sights. You start
at High-Compressed-Ready. You Drive the
front blade to the target, get the sight alignment and sight picture you want,
touch the trigger and then smoothly press the trigger to the rear. This is a warmup for the rest of the target.
Drill 1 – Single Round Engagement on the
center circle. 10 Rounds. On the beep you draw from concealment and
send a single round with follow through and scan. The goal is 2 seconds to the round, for the
entire drill set I average just under 2.5 seconds for the first-round
Drill 2 – “Hammer” 5 ea
on the beep (10 rounds). On the beep you
draw from concealment and engage the center circle with two rounds as quickly
as you can.
Drill 3 – Single Round Engagement on the Head
(5 rounds). On the beep you draw from
concealment and engage the Head Box with a single round.
Drill 4 – Failure Drill
(15 rounds). On the beep you draw from
concealment and send 2 rounds to the center circle and a single round to the Head
That is a total round count for all 4 drills of 40
rounds. I dropped 3 for a 37/40 or a
92%. More than happy with that.
Counting the DTP target’s 10 rounds and the 40 rounds for
the 4 Drills, this is a single box of ammunition and provides a good indication
of where you are as a shooter.
The raw reality of Training is that it’s pricey – yet you
need to learn a solid set of skills from a trained shooter. Please, pick a course and go. You will be surprised at how much you learn regardless of your current skill
You also need to practice.
If you took a basic course a few years ago and have not been to the
range since, please – get to the range.
If you can’t reliable use you defensive firearm – should a bad guy show
up, it will not end the way you expect it to.
Remember, 1,000 rounds per year or around 100 per month.
Finally, use these drills to evaluate yourself. Be honest with yourself. Find your week spots and fix them. We do not get to pick the time or place. Please, do the work and be ready.