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Shooting Drill: Bill Wilson’s 5×5 Drill for Proficiency with Concealed Carry


Quick and easy to run, this drill can help determine your proficiency with a handgun.

Most shooters will recognize the name Bill Wilson right off the bat. They associate his name immediately with custom-built 1911 pistols, and as the founder of Wilson Combat. Many don’t realize that he is the creator of the original and updated Bill Drill and Bill Drill II, respectively. He also created this articles drill, the 5×5 Drill.

The 5×5 Drill is a great way to practice and benchmark basic gun handling skills, accuracy, strong-hand shooting, slide lock or emergency reload, and transitions from fast to slow while maintaining a low round count. Everyone should be practicing shooting both strong hand only and weak hand only. This drill allows us to practice strong hand shooting at the very least. You never know if you would lose the use of an arm in a gunfight, so practice shooting with both hands.

Mr. Wilson created this drill as a way to determine if a person was proficient enough to carry a concealed handgun and this drill has been used as a benchmark for many concealed carry instructors since.

This drill is quite easy to set up and run. Even if you use an old IDPA target from a match where they were throwing them away, you can still get the same effect of the drill.


The Drill

The drill is called the 5×5 Drill because you are shooting five strings of five rounds each for a total of 25 rounds fired. You are shooting against a timer for this drill, so this may not be a drill you can run on an indoor range. You may be able to at least practice it at a slower speed, but to really get good results, this may have to be run outside.

Start with an IDPA cardboard silhouette target at 10 yards. Your starting position is with the gun loaded, holstered and your arms at your side. Each string is fired separately and then the time totaled up.

The course of fire is:

String 1: Draw and engage target with five rounds

String 2: Draw and engage target with five rounds, using only your strong hand

String 3: Draw and engage target with five rounds, reload from slide lock and reengage target with five more rounds.

String 4: Draw and engage target with four rounds to the body and one round to the head.

Scoring is (this is total score at the end of the drill):

Grand master: 0 – 15 Seconds

Master: 16 – 20 Seconds

Expert: 21 – 25 Seconds

Sharpshooter: 26 – 32 Seconds

Marksman: 33 – 41 seconds

Novice: 42 – 50 seconds

Over 50 Seconds: Not proficient enough to carry a gun.

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

This drill is a great tool for self-evaluation as long as you are honest with yourself about the results of the drill. With prices on ammunition still a little tight, you can run this drill twice with only one box of ammo.

This drill can be used in combination with other drills on the range or as a game, if you want. As long as you train hard and practice often, you will improve with any drill you try.


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Shooting Drill: Bill Wilson’s 5×5 Drill for Proficiency with Concealed Carry