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Drills: Out of Order

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Hitting Your Rhythm

When someone is introduced to shooting, invariably trigger time will mostly consist of single, aimed shots. And then when someone learns just a little bit more, dipping a toe into defensive shooting, the so-called “double tap” will undoubtedly come next. While there are many names for this with slight variations, they all add up to two quick shots in rapid succession.

But when there’s a longer string required, like three or four, the problem becomes a matter of rhythm: BAM-BAM—BAM-BAM instead of BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM.

This extra gap between pairs of shots is unnecessary, and importantly, wastes time. This drill helps interrupt that pattern while pushing your speed.


“Double Tap” has come to be a general term, but most often refers to a “Hammer Pair.” A hammer pair is when the shooter takes a single sight picture followed by two shots. There’s also the “Controlled Pair,” which means a sight picture then a shot, performed twice. While the hammer pair sounds more impressive on camera (which is why it’s used in movies), that second shot can go wildly off-course, especially if the shooter hasn’t focused enough on recoil management.

Because we’re not hosing targets and we’re accountable for each and every shot we take, here we’ll be taking a sight picture for every shot.


This drill can be run from the holster, but it’s by no means a requirement. If you aren’t allowed to run from a holster, start with your pistol in your dominant hand at a high index, close to the body (also called “the two”). As this drill involves reloading, carry your spare magazine as you normally would.

If you have several spare magazines, they can be set up before heading to the range — the more the merrier. Each magazine should have at least six rounds but no more than 10. Change up the count in order to surprise yourself.

There are four numbered circles on the target along with a single star in the middle. Each circle is to be engaged with the number of rounds listed, remembering to take a good sight picture for each and every shot. There is no particular order to the circles but do try to change it up, so you aren’t simply counting up or counting down with each string of fire. Pay attention to your firing pattern, ensuring equal time between each shot.


Target Distance: 3 yards

  • Upon the start signal, engage each circle target with the number of rounds indicated.
  • At slide lock or when empty, reload and fire a single round in the center star to end the string.
  • Reset and re-shoot until all 50 rounds are spent.


Scoring is simple: Inside the circle or breaking the line is one point. Outside is zero.

There’s no time requirement, but one can be imposed if you’d like some more pressure. If you score below 45 points, ensure you’re taking a good sight picture and trigger press with every shot. If your score approaches 50 points, increase your speed or your target distance until the wheels come off.

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