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3 Basic Drills for the Indoor Range

Easy drills to run at an indoor range to keep your skills sharp.

When the weather is icky, be it cold, wet or too hot, we don’t want to be outside. So we choose to go to our local indoor range. Being indoors, you don’t have all the bugs, the heat, the wind, the dirt and many other things to distract us, but we do have something else to worry about. The Safety Rules of the range.

Many indoor ranges limit what kind of shooting you can do. Most of the time, it’s standing in one place, controlling your rate of fire and no drawing from a holster. That limits you on what kind of drills and training you can do. Sometimes, if you approach management and show them what you are trying to accomplish, they may be more accommodating to your needs and might bend the rules a little for you. But don’t count on that being the case. You need to plan your range sessions accordingly.

As much as you would like to try to beat the fastest time on the Bill Drill or move from lane to lane shooting around barricades to practice cover shots, that just can’t happen. However, there are still plenty of drills available that you can run on an indoor range and still keep your skills sharp.

Let’s take a look at some easy ones you can do to measure your performance.


The Ball and Dummy Drill

This is a pretty simple drill to run and works well for new shooters and shooters who flinch on trigger pull. This will teach the shooter how not to anticipate the shot for better trigger control. This drill works best with two shooters, but can be accomplished with one.

Have your partner load your magazine with an unknown number of live rounds and dummy rounds, randomly, and then load the magazine into the gun and step back. Begin shooting slowly, focusing on sight alignment and proper trigger control. Your partner should be watching the gun. When the dummy round comes up, the shooter should continue to have proper alignment and trigger control. If the gun dips or moves when the trigger is pulled on the dummy round, the shooter is anticipating the shot. You and your partner should see this. If you do move the gun, take 10 shots, dry fire, concentrating on trigger control and sight alignment. Then reload the gun and try again. If the gun doesn’t move, continue shooting to slide lock or until another Dummy round comes up.

As a side note, this drill is a great one to run with a Tap, Rack and Reassess Malfunction Drill, but only if you succeed in not anticipating the shot.

via Wikimedia Commons
via Wikimedia Commons

3×5 Card Drill

This drill focuses on accuracy over speed and this is a drill you can run by yourself.

Start with a 3×5 index card taped to a target at three yards. Shoot six rounds at your own pace for maximum accuracy. At this range the goal is to get all six bullet holes touching. Once that is accomplished, replace the card and move it out to five yards. From here out, the goal is to just get hits on the card. Once you have all six hits on the card, move it out to seven yards followed by 10 and lastly 15 yards, all trying just to hit the card.

Shooting 3×5 index cards is challenging and should be something to work up too and added to your training. It helps you to focus on aiming small to hit small.

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1+1 Reload Drill

This drill allows you to do a number of different things. You can practice draw, presentation to the target, slide lock reload and a second presentation with a followup shot. All for the small price of just two rounds per repetition.

Load two magazines with one round each and then load one magazine into your gun. If you can draw, do so. Otherwise start from low ready with the muzzle on the bench in front of you. On your go signal, present the gun to the target and fire one round, reload from slide lock, present again and fire one round.

For a challenge, use a timer for this one and try to push yourself even faster while maintaining control. You are still looking for accurate shots, but also fast shots.

As you can see, these are pretty easy to run on the indoor range and also conform with any rules that a range may have for safety reasons. Plus these are all fundamental skills that need to be practiced and refreshed over time. These are great, fun drills that anyone can run and offer a bit of challenge to push yourself with.

Remember when planning out your range drills to make every round and every second count.

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3 Basic Drills for the Indoor Range