Not to be too tortuous, the Dot Torture Drill can really test your trigger skills.
I spend a lot of time on the local ranges, either in competition or just at practice on a local indoor range. I can’t help but take a step back and look around, watching the other shooters enjoying the hobby. I find it surprising the number of shooters, both new and experienced, who struggle with their fundamentals. They have a hard time grasping the basics of the mechanics. While it is fun to reach out and plink a target with a handgun at 15 to 20 yards, what are you learning by doing this?
Taking some time to step back and work on the basics, no matter what your experience level, is never a bad thing. Going back to our roots of marksmanship helps to remind us of where we started as shooters and helps to hone the fundamentals that our advanced high speed skills are based on. Without the fundamentals, we have no foundation to build from.
The Dot Torture drill is a great way to take a step back and work on those fundamentals. Developed by Dave Blinder, it can be some of the best 50 rounds of practice we can have. This drill will help any level shooter gain and hone their basic skills. Anyone can hit the target, but even at three yards, the circles are small enough that even an advanced shooter can find it very difficult.
There have been many versions of the targets, but the target I like is one that Todd Green developed (pictured below). On his, the instructions are printed right on the page below each dot so there is no confusion. And the target is printed on a single sheet of 8.5 by 11 piece of paper.
So, how does it work? The idea behind the drill is it will allow you to work on all your fundamentals. Trigger control, sight alignment, speed, draw, holstering, reloading. Each string is scored independently and the whole drill is done without time constraint or concealment. According to the instructions, here is how each dot should be shot.
- Dot #1– Draw and fire one string of 5 rounds for best group. One hole if possible, total 5 rounds.
- Dot #2– Draw and fire 1 shot, holster and repeat X4, total 5 rounds.
- Dot #3 and 4– Draw and fire 1 shot on #3, then 1 shot on 4, holster and repeat X4, total 8 rounds.
- Dot #5– Draw and fire string of 5 rounds, strong hand only, total 5 rounds.
- Dot #6 and 7– Draw and fire 2 shots on #6, then 2 on #7, holster, repeat X4, total 16 rounds.
- Dot #8– From ready or retention, fire five shots, weak hand only, total 5 rounds.
- Dot #9 and 10– Draw and fire 1 shots on #9, speed reload, fire 1 shots on #10, holster and repeat X3, total 6 rounds.
When you can do this clean on demand, extend the length or start timing and work on speed but maintaining accuracy. If a single shot is missed, you flunk. Only hits count.
This is a great drill to run on an indoor range since it does not involve rapid fire like some other drills do. If you aren’t allowed to draw from a holster, start from the low ready position and work from there.
I have used this drill a number of times and I still find it challenging. I sometimes use it as a warm up for my practice session that day and then shoot it last thing before I leave to see how I do after being warm.
Take your time, concentrate on the fundamentals and you will excel at this drill every time.