Top 5 Combat Drills-feature

Tactical Video | Top 5 Combat Drills for New Shooters

There are lots of great shooting drills out there. Some are great for slow-fire marksmanship. Some are great for competitive sports, such as IDPA or IPSIC. If you browse across the internet, you’ll find literally thousands of different shooting drills. Many are good, while a few are really great. Others, not so much. I prefer teaching and practicing combat shooting. While some of these skills do cross pollinate, as “the basics” remain the same; there are others that have no place in combat shooting. Again, I practice for combat shooting, and I practice mastery of “the Basics.”

So, when I get asked “Karl, can you show us your favorite Combat Shooting Drills?”, it often surprises them that my favorite drills are literally the same basic drills that are taught at most CQB schools. 

First, the basic “Up Drill.” It is the core movement on getting the rifle onto the target quickly and getting off an accurate shot before the bad guy gets one off on you. At 5 meters, he is not going to miss you. You have got to be the first one to the trigger. Speed is everything. This drill can be varied from the “Low Ready” or “High Ready.” 

Second, is the “Double Tap” or “Hammered Pair;” depending on which name you prefer. Building off of the “Up Drill;” anyone worth shooting once is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap; share the love.  

Third, is the “Failure Drill.” This drill builds off of the “Double Tap by adding a follow-up shot to the brain stem. While originally taught to deal with people wearing concealed body armor; I teach it to quickly incapacity a threat, so I can deal with other threats or non-combantants in the room. Take out the brain stem and he is not going to shoot you in the back.

combat drills with guns

Fourth drill is the “Zipper Drill.” We have gotten away from only shooting a bad guy twice. Reality is that the 5.56mm round does not always incapacitate a bad guy as quickly as we would like. Again, ammo is cheap, so share the love. Start center mass and hammer your way up to the melon. Some instructors teach to work “chest to head, then head to torso.” I understand the thought process; however, I just stick with zipping them “Up” to the head.  

The fifth drill is called a “Box Drill” and deals with multiple targets in width. We again build off of the “Double Tap” and “Failure Drill,” but have added an additional buddy. Remember, you must get that round on the bag guy, before he gets a round on you. Except now you have two bad guys to deal with; so you have to get a round on BOTH of them BEFORE they get even one round on you. So, the drill is ran with double-taps on each target quickly; followed up with a single well placed shot to the brain box of each target.  

You’ll notice that these drills are really nothing more than mastering the basics. For new shooters and seasoned assaulters, first and foremost, they need to develop and maintain “muscle memory.” That takes thousands (7-9k) of repetitions of the same CORRECT movements and actions. 

You’ll see that each of these drills builds on the drill(s) before it; so that you are continuing to push those said movements and actions into your subconscious mind. It’s like driving… the first few months, you had to think about brakes and turn signals. Now, you just drive subconsciously. That frees up the conscious mind to focus on signs, signals, and other drivers. Likewise, you need to push all these basic shooting skills into your subconscious mind. That frees up the conscious mind to focus on “Is it a Threat” and “Is it a Threat that warrants Deadly Force?” 

Once, you have mastered these basic drills, then you can add all your critical skills to add spice: 

  • Add Transition to Pistol Drills, every time your rifle runs dry or malfunctions 
  • Add Tactical & Speed Reloads 
  • Add Turning & Moving Drills, to these drills 
  • Use Dummy Rounds, to induce Malfunctions during these drills. 

Once you have mastered these five drills, it is time to put you against the Protimer. Use the timed Critical Task Evaluations (CTEs) to see if you make the standard. If you don’t know them, you can check them out in our Video Archive at our Tactical Rifleman YouTube Channel.  

Again, I know there are thousands of other great rifle drills out there. I know all the Internet Ninjas are gonna start screaming how “Their Drill is Better” or how we “Obviously don’t know how to Shoot.” Yep, you guys are awesome. However, these are still my Top 5 Combat Drills for New Shooters.

I hope you enjoyed the video. We put out a new Tactical Rifleman video every Friday. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Strength & Honor, TR.

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