By Larry Vickers

We face a unique time in history; the demand for ammo is unprecedented. And no one knows when this situation will stabilize. So, the best approach is to structure your self-defense training drills where you get the most out of every round you fire.

For instance, try dry firing certain skill drills like reloads, or malfunction drills, or weak hand / strong hand weapon manipulation skills where the shot you fire is of secondary importance to the skill you are trying to master at that time. In many ways eliminating the fired shot helps you concentrate on the task at hand vs occasionally firing a bad shot which puts you in the wrong frame of mind after, for instance, you have just executed a very smooth reload.

Here’s a drill I use in my classes that is very challenging and is the best kind of drill; it puts a priority on every round fired (just like in the real world) and it tests different critical skills within the course of firing the prescribed rounds. I call it the ‘3 by 4’ drill. Anyone reading this that has been in a class I taught where we shot this drill is now breaking out into a cold sweat as this drill is exceptionally difficult. But here is the best part - it can be tailored to your skill level and still be very beneficial.

The target is a B8 replacement center bullseye placed on the chest area of a cardboard IPSC or IDPA target.

The par time is 3 seconds. With your self-defense firearm, in your duty or carry holster you will conduct a 2-shot draw and fire at 3 yards in 3 seconds. Next you will do a one-shot draw and fire strong hand only in 3 seconds. Last you will do a low ready presentation weak hand only one shot in 3 seconds.

Here’s the kicker; you repeat this process at 6,9,12,15, and 18 yards. With a par time of 3 seconds throughout. Total round count is 24 rounds. The Scoring I use on a B8 replacement center bullseye is minus 0 for a shot in the black, minus 1 for a shot on the white paper, and minus 3 for a shot on the brown cardboard target. A miss or shot not fired is minus 5. An excellent score is minus 5 or less. A good score is minus 10 or less. Up to this point, it has never been ‘cleaned’ - all shots in the black. I have shot a minus 1 recently and was stoked as it is one of the most difficult drills I have ever dreamed up.

How do you make it easier and still get a lot out of it?

Easy; make the target, instead of the bullseye, the A zone of an IPSC or IDPA target and change the distances to 2,4,6,8,12,14 yards. This version is still very challenging but tailors it to a wider variety of skill levels.

I hope this helps. File it away and try it the next time you hit the range. And I hope to see you in a class in the future.

Stay safe.


LAV out
Larry Vickers
Master Sergeant (Retired)
US Army SOF Combat Veteran