Pistol Shooting Drill

5 Basic Pistol Shooting Drills You Can Do


Mathew R Reed
April 7, 2022

Home invasions and robberies are among some of the most common crimes in the US and many other parts of the world. And the truth is that you can’t always rely on law enforcement to protect you, because, by the time the police can respond, the damage is usually done.

There are many ways to deter criminals from targeting your home, like installing security cameras and alarms. However, if that is not enough, you need to be able to defend yourself and your family.

Now, there are several options for weapons. And when it comes to home defense, many people choose shotguns, pistols or rifles. However, in most cases, a pistol is the best option. Pistols are easy to use, have decent stopping power, and have a lower risk of over-penetration. However, to use a pistol, or any other weapon for self-defense, it is important that you train with it.

Why are Shooting Drills Important?

In the US, and all over the world, many people keep firearms for home defense. In a threatening situation, when you have to protect your home from invaders, or people that might mean you harm, it is essential to be able to defend yourself. However, simply owning a gun is not enough.

You see, it is essential to understand that a firearm is only a tool, and the operator – in this case, you are the actual weapon. For instance, a simple pistol is much more dangerous and deadly in the hands of a trained US Marine, or Navy Seal, than an average citizen with no training. Therefore, more than owning a firearm, it is more important to train with it – have the proper skills to use it safely and effectively to protect yourself, your family, and your liberty.

There are many drills and exercises that you can practice to become more effective with your weapon and improve your chances of survival in a home defense situation. If you use a pistol for home defense, like many other civilians, here are some Pistol Drills for Home Defense that you should practice.

Read Also: Best Pistol Range Bags

Things to Practice Before Starting Shooting Drills

When it comes to home defense, the first order of business is actually getting to your handgun. When you are at home, you probably don’t carry your pistol in your holster all the time. Most people keep their handgun in a gun safe or a locked drawer. Either way, it is essential to keep your handgun in a state where not only is it easy to access and use but is also safe, and out of reach for children. So, make sure to practice reaching for your gun. Ideally, you should be able to get to your gun, from any point in the house, and have it loaded and ready to fire in less than a minute.

Next up, situation awareness is also very important. You should have a plan for how you will use your pistol to defend your home if the situation demands it. Home defense strategy is a whole other topic, which we can discuss right now. Still, whatever your strategy is, make sure to practice it with your family.

Now, onto the shooting drills. Here are 5 Pistol Shooting drills you can try at the range.

Pistol Shooting Drills

The Mozambique Drill

Once you have the pistol in your hand, you need to be able to shoot accurately and effectively with it to stop a target. Now, in some situations, even a warning shot may be enough to deter an intruder, but in some, it is not. Therefore, you need to be certain that you can place your shots on vital parts of the threat, and stop them effectively.

This is where the Mozambique Drill comes in, which is also known as the “Failure to Stop Drill”. Informally, some people also call it “two to the body and one to the head”, which perfectly describes the intention of this drill.

To practice this drill, you need to use silhouette shooting targets. You should start from a low ready position, present your pistol, and land two center mass shots and two to the head as quickly as you can. Use a timer to keep track of your performance, and practice with multiple targets as well.

Mozambique Pistol Shooting Drill

The Rangemaster Drill

Next up, we have the range master drill. This drill is designed to help you deal with worst-case scenarios, like if your pistol jams while shooting, or you have only one magazine, and you have to reload it while engaging a target.

Here are the steps to practice this drill at the range.

First of all, load your pistol with one dummy round between the actual rounds. Ideally, get someone else to load the magazine for you so that you don’t know where the dummy round is.

Now, hang your target and move away ten steps from it. Start from a low ready position and shoot at the target. You can also incorporate The Mozambique Drill here by shooting two at the chest and one at the head in succession.

Once the dummy round comes up, your firearm will not fire, clear the malfunction by racking the slide to load a fresh round into the chamber, and continue until the magazine runs out.

Then, take out the magazine, take three rounds out of your pocket and load them into the magazine, and fire again. You can also do this drill with a preloaded second magazine.

Also, use a shot timer to track your performance and get the drill done as quickly as possible. Once you have practiced with a single target, try the same drill with multiple targets as well.

Reloading a Gun

The Weak Hand Pickup and Shooting Drill

The weak hand pickup drill is also designed to help you deal with two worst-case scenarios. First, in case your pistol drops and you have to pick it up from the ground. And second, if your dominant shooting hand is compromised and you have to shoot with your weak hand.

Start the drill with your dominant hand behind your back, and your pistol on the ground in front of you, with the grip facing away from you.

When the buzzer goes off, kneel to pick up the pistol with your left hand, and put a center mass shot on two targets.

You should also consider doing some single-hand reload drills to make sure that you are prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Proper Use of Cover Drills

In a home defense situation, you have the great advantage of being familiar with the layout of your home, and knowing which parts you can use for cover if the intruders are also armed. Therefore, it is important to practice shooting from a cover, while exposing as little of yourself as possible.

This can be done in a couple of ways. First, practice taking cover and peeking with an unloaded firearm at home. Get familiar with the specific covers in your home. Second, go to the range and set up a couple of barricades and use them for cover while shooting at targets.

Here are the steps you should follow for this drill.

Set up three targets at the range, and mark them, then set up two barricades about 10 feet away from the targets, one on both sides. Now, start from the low ready position, or with your pistol in a holster, while standing in the middle.

Ask a training partner to randomly call out a target. You have to engage the target while taking cover as you present your firearm and shoot three shots at the designated target. This drill will help you make a decision on which cover is more suitable for the called-out target, and help you practice how to use covers to protect yourself while shooting.

CQC Handgun Retention Drills

If you have to engage a target in a home defense situation, there is a significant chance that the altercation may end up in close quarters. In such a situation, an unarmed assailant will always go for your firearm and try to take it away from you.

Hence, it is important to train CQC handgun retention, and some hand-to-hand combat skills as well. Now, this is a drill you can do on your own. You can practice handgun retention with a friend. However, for the best effect, you should take a self-defense class, which teaches close-quarters combat skills using firearms.

If you have the time, you should also consider joining a Jiu-Jitsu class. Jiu Jitsu is an excellent, grappling-based, self-defense martial art, which integrates perfectly with using guns. Also, remember to unload your firearm, and make it safe before training handgun retention with a friend.

Read Also: What to Pack in Your Range Bag

Final Thoughts:

Hopefully, you never have to use your firearm to defend your family and your home, however, it is essential to be prepared for such a situation. Ideally, you should take some home defense training classes, and take some time to practice some of the drills mentioned in this post when you are at the range.

Your pistol will be of no use to you in a home defense situation if you can’t effectively use it to deter or neutralize the threats you are facing. Therefore, handgun training is essential for home defense.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of ArmorHoldings.com and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.