Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Carbine Drill

Every other month or so the Shootrite instructors gather for practice sessions. Each instructor brings a couple of drills to run, with every drill focusing heavily on the fundamentals. During one of our sessions Chase Jenkins, a SWAT officer who teaches with us, introduced what has become one of my favorite carbine drills. You start with three mags, each loaded with five rounds. From standing you fire five, and reload while dropping down into a kneeling position. From kneeling you fire five more, reload while going to prone, and fire the final five. Time limits apply, and only hits count.

This drill focuses on several fundamental skills. First, you have to “git the hit.” One bad shot wipes out all your good hits, so focusing on firing at the speed that guarantees accurate hits is mandatory. It teaches you to reload. Time is important, and the reload must be performed efficiently, without fumbling or making mistakes.

While reloading you’re dropping into the next position. You don’t reload and then get into position; you don’t drop down and then reload. You multitask, reloading and moving at the same time. Fighting is about applying the fundamentals, but the key is being able to apply several fundamental skills all at the same time.

You need a stable position to insure good hits. After numerous repetitions you should be able to drop into a kneeling or prone position and hit your mark. In other words, once you drop down your body is naturally indexed onto the target, supported by bone structure as opposed to muscles, and you’re immediately ready to press off shots.

To make things more exciting you can mix in dummy rounds with live ammo, forcing shooters to perform malfunction clearances, or load the mags with anywhere from three to seven rounds so the empty reload isn’t predictable. Extending the distance requires more focus on the fundamentals of marksmanship. Varying the target zones – body shots from standing, pelvic hits from kneeling, and head shots from prone – teaches shooters to define “accuracy” according to the shot they’re attempting.

There are a lot of ways to make practice fun, and still be learning and refining your fighting skills. Anytime you can combine multiple skills together into one drill you’re gaining repetitions on a variety of techniques while firing the same amount of ammo.

Keep the drills realistic with the focus on fighting as opposed to gaming. Ultimately you’re competing with yourself, working on proper technique as opposed to ‘fast,’ and improving with each repetition. Speed is the absence of excess, efficient movements without wasted motion or fumbling. If all you do is go as fast as possible you never learn correct technique, and without good technique you’ll never be as quick as you should be. Focus on the fundamentals, so when the time comes you are applying your skills at a subconscious level. This frees your mind to focus on the strategy need to defeat your threat.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15

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