Saturday, July 20, 2013

Training - Dot Torture


I did a post a while back on Marksmanship and its various meanings. One of the drills I mentioned in the post was Dot Torture. Originally developed by David Blinder of the drill sheet was modified as seen below by the folks at


This drill has a very specific purpose in testing your marksmanship ability – making very small groups of holes. It is NOT a speed drill. It allows you to focus on stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press and breath control. A good goal – make a single “hole” in each circle. The drill is simple:

  • Dot 1 – Draw, 5 rounds, slow fire
  • Dot 2 – Draw, 1 round, repeat 5 times
  • Dot 3 & 4 – Draw, 1 round on 3, 1 round on 4, repeat 4 times
  • Dot 5 – Draw, 5 rounds, dominant hand only
  • Dot 6 & 7 – Draw, 2 rounds on 6, 2 rounds on 7, repeat 4 times
  • Dot 8 – From the read position, support hand only, 5 rounds
  • Dot 9 & 10 2 magazines – 1 round each, Draw, 1 round on 9, speed reload, 1 round on 10, repeat 3 times

Your total round count will be 50 rounds. Begin shooting this drill from 3 yards. Once you reach 100%, set a time limit and decrease it as you improve. Or, move back to 7 yards, 10 yards – keep pushing your limits. Drills like this will give you the confidence you need to make the tough shot should the need ever arise.

As for scoring – two ways to look at it. First, clean is “clean” – meaning no round is outside the ring or “greases” the ring. Second way would be standard target scoring – if a round greases the ring it’s “inside” the ring. Which ever one you choose really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you can use this tool as a solid yardstick to measure your performance and measure your marksmanship.

And, as an aside – given the news lately regarding “Stand Your Ground” – if you ever are involved in a shooting and you keep these target results in your range good, they offer proof positive that you take your defensive skill set very seriously. If you don’t keep a range log – begin one. There is value in your seeing improvement in your shooting skills and there is value in having written documentation of each and every range trip.

Today I simply made time to hit the range (well, a little time anyway). I shot two Dot Torture drills, one with my .22/45 Ruger range gun and one with my carry Glock 17. Let me walk through each target.


Actually a pretty good run with the exception of Dot 5 – Dominant Hand only, 5 rounds, with a draw for each round. A caution on this dot is that you are shooting with your dominant hand and mentally your confidence is high you can make the shot. It allows things like grip, sight picture, sight alignment and trigger press to get a bit sloppy because your aren’t “working” at it. WORK AT EACH AND EVERY SHOT. As you can see, I DID NOT work at it as hard as I could have.

Note that on Dot 8 – from the ready, Support Hand only I had all rounds within the black. Why? Because I am NOT as confident with my support hand only so I was much more deliberate in my basics. It makes a difference.

As I have said many times, I begin my range trips with my .22/45 range gun. I like to “warm up”, settle down and focus on the basics. My best dot was Dot one with a nice, raggedy single hole. I’ll take it after a week camping and no trigger time.

Things were not as pretty with the Glock.


Here, if I want myself to feel better about my score, I can count a round that greases the ring as “inside” the ring with a score of 47. If I want to be hardnosed – I got a score of 42. Again, it really doesn’t matter – what does matter is that I obviously need to settle down, focus on the basics and tighten my groups up a bit more.

Notice that Dot 5 – dominant hand only - was better, with a great 3-round group, a grease spot and a miss.

Notice that Dot 8 – support hand only – was much better than my first round. Again, I am less confident with my support hand only . . . so I take more time and focus on the basics.

Shoot this drill once a month – see how your marksmanship is coming. Push yourself. YOU are the only one who can give you confidence in your ability to hit your target, be it a 2-inch “Dot” or that smallish spot just below a threat’s nose. Spend the time, do the work . . .

. . . and shoot the drill.


  1. I need to shoot that again, but I dread how badly I'm going to do... sigh...

  2. I really enjoy this drill. Typically, I won't count anything that is significantly more outside the black ring than in.

  3. Jim - I always find it a bit humbling. But it's a lot like golf - I just know I'll do better next time! :)

    Robert - yep, I hear ya. In is in. :)