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Shooting Drill: The X-Drill

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A variant of the Changing Gears Drill, the X-Drill is a great drill for shooting speed and transitions.

When shooting for effect in a combat situation, there needs to be a good balance of speed and accuracy. We need to aim small to miss small. Larger targets are easier to shoot fast because we have a smaller margin to miss, but the smaller the target gets, the harder it is to control our shots at faster speeds. We have to slow down to make sure we can make the smaller shots.

This is mostly evident when trying to transition from a body target to a head target. In the Mozambique Drill we see this the most. After two shots to the body, we transition to a smaller, harder-to-hit target (the head) for one shot. This smaller target is much harder to hit than the body shots we just took.

In competition, shooting headshots or shooting smaller steel plates is the same thing. We need to slow down after the transition and concentrate on the smaller, harder plates, especially at farther distances.

The X-Drill is a drill that allows us to practice this target transition, while slowing down our shots to make those headshots.

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The Drill

Setup: You will need to have two targets so that you have a body and a head target on each side. Two IDPA targets would work well for this. Or you can take a piece of cardboard and place two, 3×5-inch index cards on it to represent the heads and then two eight-inch paper plates to represent the bodies. These targets need to be placed seven yards from the shooter. Label them A and B.

Start with your pistol holstered and your arms at your side. If you are running this on a range where you can’t draw from a holster, start from a ready position or pick up the gun from the table. Then draw and fire two rounds into the target in an X pattern, aiming for each head and body. The drill should be run four times, starting in a different area each time.

The most important thing is to slow down when shooting for the smaller targets to make sure to hit those targets. As you transition from zone to zone, speed up on the body shots and slow down on the head shots.

If you would like to see how the drill is run, you can check out this video.

This is a great drill to run at any point, especially if you need to work on target transitions. I found this drill to be especially valuable when training and practicing for steel shoots when I am locked into a static indoor range. This drill allows me to engage with multiple targets and work on shot cadence and transition speed. I recommend trying this drill the next time you are at the range.

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Shooting Drill: The X-Drill