Enough is Enough…

From time to time, I shoot with Todd Green, of Pistol-Training.com fame.  So I’ve had the occasion to shoot the F.A.S.T. drill a time or two.  I normally turn in a pretty fair score on this drill, in fact I still hold the student record for the year 2009.

What I have never been able to do is shoot two consecutive sub-5-second F.A.S.T. drills.  The highly coveted F.A.S.T. Challenge Coin has so far eluded me.  Now to be fair, I have never really trained on the FAST drill skills.  It appears that if I’m going to get that coin, I’ll need to make a systematic effort at it.

To start, I broke down the FAST Drill by each shot:

Shot description Time Allotted Total Time
Draw, fire shot 1 1.50s 1.50s
Fire shot 2 0.50s 2.00s
Reload, fire shot 3 2.00s 4.00s
Fire shot 4 0.25s 4.25s
Fire shot 5 0.25s 4.50s
Fire shot 6 0.25s 4.75s

The first element of the FAST Drill is also the easiest to practice. Starting with a concealed, holstered pistol, draw and fire two rounds into a 3×5″ index card at 7 yards. This drill, or something like it, is already a staple of my practice routine (and the routines of many others, I’m sure.) I just need to work the time down and the accuracy up. My current time for two rounds on a 3×5″ card is about 2.4 seconds. I need to get it down to 2.0, with at least 90% accuracy.

Element I – Draw, 2 shots on 3×5″ card @ 7yds. Current time: 2.4s Goal time: 2.0s

The second important part of the FAST Drill is the reload, and this is the thing that has been eating my lunch lately. I like to practice the reload starting from high ready, press out to fire one shot on an 8″ circle, reload, then fire two more shots. I need to get my reload down to two seconds, which equates to a 1-R-2 of about 3.25 seconds. I’ll run this a few times with the shot timer and adjust it as necessary.

Element II – 1-R-2 from high ready. Current time: 4.0s Goal time: 3.25s

Last, of course, is recoil control on a fairly large target. This can be simulated with the Bill Drill, six shots from the holster at 7 yards. In order to win the coin, I need to get my splits down to about 0.25 seconds, which equates to about a 2.5 second Bill Drill. I can already do that most days, but I’ll spend some time on it anyway. I’d like to get my time down to 2 seconds flat.

Element III – Bill Drill @ 7yds. Current time: 2.5s Goal time: 2.0s

That’s about the whole thing. If I get those three elements down on demand, I should be able to hit a FAST Drill between 4.5 and 4.75 seconds, allowing for slippage.

I’ll be running the FAST drill as my cold drill for the next month at least, and practicing the three elements two or three times a week. By the end of Feburary, when the competition season has started up again, I’ll either have my coin or a good idea of why not.

-C

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3 thoughts on “Enough is Enough…

  1. Don’t worry bro. I’ve run FAST at 3.72sec before but I can’t run sub 4sec runs twice in a row.

    It’s a drill, don’t sweat it.

  2. Robb — The F.A.S.T. is the sole measure of a human being’s worth, and don’t you forget it!

    Chris — Your math is identical to mine. I tell students all the time that sub-2 for the first two shots and sub-2 for the reload are good training goals. One thing that has definitely helped me has been setting up a very unrealistic par time for the head shots (1.5sec). Like most things related to shooting at speed, once you have the fundamentals down it can be beneficial to work “too fast” and refine your technique at speed rather than simply hoping that you can chip away at the speed aspect a few hundredths at a time.

  3. I think you broke this drill down the way most people do, but I think there is a better way to do it. I think the first part is a draw to the 3×5 shot. The second part is the 3×5 shot, reload, then the shot on the 8″ plate. Finally it’s half a bill drill on the 8″ plate.

    I think breaking it down this way is better because it forces you to emphasize the follow through on the second 3×5 shot, which is where a lot of people miss. There is such a rush to get to the reload that many people either have a bad trigger pull (always a miss), or they don’t see the sights all the way through the shot (often a miss). So the lesson is to follow all the way through that shot, then reload and press out to a very easy shot. This is also important because you don’t want to give the first shot on the 8″ plate more respect than it deserves, which isn’t easy considering you just took two very difficult shots. The hits on the 8″ plate require you to switch gears from the press out until the end of the drill, and that change in tempo is difficult and worth practicing.

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