Drill of the Week – Wide Transitions
This week we’re starting a new training cycle focused on improving the Steel Challenge stage, Pendulum. Since the stage has 10″ and 12″ plates 18 yards away you have to be able to shoot accurately very quickly to be competitive. You will also have to be able to make wide transitions. There are two main approaches at shooting this stage. Most people shoot 1, 2, 4, 5, stop or 1, 2, 5, 4, stop. The first method minimizes the wide swings you will have to make between targets. The longest transition will be 4 yards from plate 2 to plate 4. The second method has a wider transition going from plate 2 to 5, but it allows you to maintain momentum coming into the stop plate. Experiment and see what works best for you. You can also invert the order if you feel more comfortable. I personally like shooting it from right to left. If you don’t have steel plates use paper plates instead. In some ways I actually prefer using paper since it forces me to call the shot instead of listening for the steel. If you don’t already have a time for this stage I recommend setting it up and shooting 5 strings to get your baseline. Throw out the worst time and add up the remaining 4 strings for your total score.
The first thing we will focus on to improve the stage time is improving the wide transitions. I often miss the first shot on a wide transition because I can’t quite get the brakes on fast enough to not hit the target. When I miss it’s usually because I swing past the target during the transition. We’re going to isolate just that movement so we can get rid of the bad habits. As you are shooting this drill don’t forget to shift your eyes to the next target and follow with the gun.
- 2 Target stands
- 2 USPSA Metric Targets (B-29 or similar targets can be used as substitutions)
- Target Pasters
- Shot Timer (phone applications are available if you don’t already have a timer)
- tape measure (for setting up the drill)
- Holster, Magazine Pouches etc.
Warm up with a few practice dry fire draws. Then shoot a few groups at 15, 20 and 25 yards. Don’t spend more than 25 rounds on the warm up.
Wide Transitions – Part 1
Targets: 2 metric targets placed 9 yards apart and 10 yards from the shooters box.
Start Position: Standing in Box A, Wrists above shoulders. Handgun is loaded and holstered as per ready condition in rule 8.1.1 and 8.1.2. On start signal draw and engage each target with 1 round.
This is a great drill to practice in dry fire before you come to the range. Use reduced scale targets if you don’t have the room to set up at scale. Using the par timer on your shot timer start at a slow pace. You want to be able to deliberately shift your eyes to the next target and then follow with the gun. Once it starts to feel natural increase your par time by .1 to .2 seconds until you get to a speed that feels consistent and comfortable. Log that speed. Then run 10 times .1 and then .2 faster than your logged speed. You should not be consistent at this speed, but it will force you to go faster. You’re skill level will catch up quickly to the new speed.
At the range in live fire shoot this drill the same way you practiced in dry fire. Use your par timer to pace yourself. Start at a slow deliberate pace and ten build your way up until you find your comfort zone. Write that time down as it will probably be a little slower than your dry fire. Then just like before increase the par time until you are .1 and .2 seconds faster than your comfort zone.
Wide Transitions – Part 2
The only change in Part 2 is you will now only make head shots. This will bring the accuracy portion needed for Pendulum in alignment with the speed. For the previous drill you were probably able to get away with not having a sharp focus on the front sight and still be successful. For the head shots you will more than likely need a very clear defined sight picture. Practice shifting your focus back and forth from the target to your front sight.