target

Drills for the Indoor Range, 2:
Multi-Targets for Handgun or Carbine

Andy Rutledge Blog 0 Comments

Most indoor gun ranges, including Eagle Gun Range, have strict rules for shooting activity in your lane. These typically include limited firing rate, no drawing from a holster, and other restrictions that limit how you can train. There are, however, plenty of ways to get valuable training at an indoor gun range.

By Andy Rutledge

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Continuing our series on shooting drills for the strict confines and narrow lanes of an indoor gun range, we’ll pick up where Part 1, regarding warm-ups, left off. This time we’ll look at a couple of ways to challenge your sight and target acquisition with multiple targets.

Multi-Target Drill #1

This drill will allow you to test small transitions between targets located at close proximity. The transitions for this drill will be vertical in nature (top to bottom or bottom to top).

Required equipment:

  • Target paper (blank white – or the blank back of a range target) at least 24”x36” tall
  • Sharpie marker
  • Handgun or carbine
  • 2-5 magazines
  • 25 rounds of ammunition

Setup:

  • With a sharpie draw twenty five 3” circles on the target; 5 columns of 5 circles.
  • Place target at 5-7 yards for handgun or 20-25 yards for carbine.
  • Load 5 rounds each into five magazines. If you don’t have five magazines, just plan to reload between each string of shooting.
  • Start with one magazine in the gun and at least one in a mag pouch or pocket, where you’d normally carry a spare or two.
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Twenty-five 3″ circles drawn onto the back of a standard range target.

Note:
Before you start the drill, be sure that your shots on the highest target circles will not have you shooting holes in the ceiling of the shooting bay. If you think they might, lower your target or ask the range officer to help you.

The Drill

  • Load and make ready, start at high ready position (carbine) or compressed ready (handgun).
  • Press out and/or bring your sights up on target, starting with the top-left circle.
  • As soon as you’re on target (don’t dillydally!), fire one round into the center of the circle, then move to the circle below that one.
  • Repeat, firing one round into the center of each circle in the column of 5. Fire as fast as you can make accurate hits, up to your range’s maximum rate of fire (aim for 1 shot per second if your range allows it).
  • On the 5th shot you will run empty.
  • Perform a speed reload and address the next column of targets in the same manner; one shot per second (or slower if your range requires it). However, this time start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Alternate your sequences top-to-bottom and then bottom-to-top until you’re finished.
  • After the 5 sequences clear your weapon and set it on the bench with the action open.

The speed reloads are an important part of this drill and I recommend that you make reloads a part of every drill that you can. Since it is unlikely that you’ll be able to have 4 spare magazines in pouches on your belt or in your pockets, you might carry what you’d normally carry and when those are exhausted, stop, replenish your pouch or pocket and firearm and then resume the drill.

Evaluate and Adapt
After the drill, examine your results and, if your shots are not all in the center of the circles, look for patterns of deviation. It is likely there will be a consistency to the location of your misses. If so, work to correct the fault that is indicated (trigger discipline, recoil anticipation, etc…). If you are not sure what fault your miss pattern indicates, ask someone—maybe even the range officer—to watch you perform a string of the drill and offer insights. If your misses have no pattern and are randomly located, it likely means your transition from target to target simply needs more work. Repeat this drill in your training until you have consistently good hits or consistent misses and then work to correct the fault that has been revealed.

If you are consistently hitting the center of your targets, move your target further downrange by a yard or two and/or increase your firing rate (up to the range maximum) and/or draw smaller target circles until you begin to make less-than-perfect hits. Then work to correct the errors. Additionally, work on the multi-target drill #2 detailed below.

About Your Targets

Whether or not your range offers a free target with your range fee or not, I encourage you not to use the printed side of the target. Instead, turn the target over to the blank side and use a sharpie marker to create the target(s) that suit your specific training needs for that day. In this way, you can create rows of small targets for precision drills, irregularly spaced targets for multi-target transition drills, or whatever your desired drill requires.

The important thing is not to let a printed target relegate you to less-than-optimal training during your short time at the range. Have a specific plan for the day’s training and deliberately create your targets to specifically suit those drills.

[examples of various drawn targets for drills]

Multi-Target Drill #2

Like the first drill above, this one will allow you to work on transitions between targets. The difference is that rather than small transitions in a consistent direction, this drill will have you making larger transitions up and down and from side to side.

Required equipment:

  • Target paper (blank white – or the blank back of a range target) about 24”x36” tall
  • Sharpie marker
  • Handgun or carbine
  • 2-5 magazines
  • 25 – 50 rounds of ammunition

Setup:

  • With a sharpie draw five 3” circles on the target in a disparate, random pattern. Take up as much of the target space as possible.
  • Place target at 7+ yards for handgun or 20+ yards for carbine.
  • Load 5 rounds each into five (or fewer) magazines. If you don’t have five magazines, just plan to reload between each string of shooting.
  • Start with one magazine in the gun and at least one in a mag pouch or pocket, where you’d normally carry a spare or two.
Five 3" targets drawn onto the back of a range target.

Five 3″ targets drawn onto the back of a range target.

Note:
Before you start the drill, be sure that your shots on the highest target circles will not have you shooting holes in the ceiling of the shooting bay. If you think they might, lower your target or ask the range officer to help you.

The Drill

Be sure to perform this drill at a minimum of 7 yards so that your leftmost and rightmost targets will not have you shooting your neighbors’ more distant targets in the other lanes.

  • Load and make ready, start at high ready position (carbine) or compressed ready (handgun).
  • Press out and/or bring your sights up on target, starting with the topmost circle.
  • As soon as you’re on target (don’t dillydally!), fire one round into the center of the circle, then move to the next-lower circle to the right or left.
  • Repeat, firing one round into the center of each of the five circles. Fire as quickly as you can, up to your range’s maximum rate of fire (aim for 1 shot per second if your range allows it).
  • On the last circle you will run empty.
  • Perform a speed reload and repeat the sequence, BUT this time start with the lowermost circle and work your way up the target, left and right. Alternate your sequences top-to-bottom and then bottom-to-top until you’re finished.
  • After 5 or 10 sequences (25 or 50 rounds) clear your weapon and set it on the bench with the action open.

As in the previous drill, speed reloads are an important part of this drill. Be sure to work smoothly, efficiently, and accurately in your reloading performance.

Evaluate and Adapt
After the drill, examine your shot patterns for each circle and for the group of circles as a whole. Examine your misses and note any patterns that are revealed by the groupings. In future training, work 1) to bring your groups in tighter and 2) to correct any problems indicated by your missed-shot patterns. If you perform both drill #1 and drill #2 in a training session, note any differences in miss tendencies between the small transitions of #1 and the larger target transitions of #2, and then work to correct these in further training.

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A note about magazine exchanges:
When you’re training, pay attention to the speed, smoothness, and overall competence with which you execute the magazine exchanges. While not necessarily the point of these drills, magazine-exchange competence is something you should work to continually improve. They’re useful for basic gun-handling competence, competition (if you decide to try that), and might even save your life one day. Treat them as seriously as every other aspect of your training and find ways to incorporate mag exchanges into your training drills.

In Closing

No matter your plan for the day, warm-up with proper fundamentals. Training makes permanent, and should always begin with a refresher of technical fundamentals. Even if your purpose this day is to otherwise explore the limits of your skill, you should visit the fundamentals of firearms handling and marksmanship before moving onto more substantial challenges.

Thanks for reading! I hope you use these drills in your training and find them useful. More are on the way so stay tuned.

About The Author
Andy Rutledge is a design professional, competitive shooter and avid road cyclist. He trains at Eagle Gun Range and elsewhere a few days a week to hone his shooting and defensive skills.

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