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Jedi Master Hackathorn Explains Colt Target in Issue 25

Thanks to Colt and its new Colt Combat Unit 1911, RECOIL Issue 25 includes another valuable target poster. This one was specially designed by the legendary Ken Hackathorn for use with drills that will both hone and test your defensive shooting skills.

For many, Ken Hackathorn needs no introduction — his accomplishments and service to this country span decades. And his relevance and stature as a top-tier firearms instructor has never wavered. If you want to learn more about Ken, check out our in-depth story and interview with him from Issue 17.

The Colt Combat Unit Rail Gun was developed in conjunction with Ken and former Unit member Daryl Holland. These guys know their way around a 1911, and specced out a formidable weapon. Colt is finally releasing a 9mm version of the CCU, and our own HMFIC Iain Harrison got the first one to come out of the factory and put it through the wringer. Check it out in our latest issue, #25.

You can download the Colt target as a PDF — print it out in full-size to use it properly with the following drills.

Going to the NRA Show in Louisville? Check out Colt in Booth #3413 — they'll be handing out copies of this target, while supplies last. And Ken Hackathorn will be at the show on Friday and Saturday, maybe you can catch him there and ask him to sign your target!

Jedi Master Hackathorn Explains Colt Target in Issue 25


At 10 yards, the shooter must fire 10 shots within 10 seconds at the black bullseye target.

Made famous by Ken's long-time friend Larry Vickers, this drill focuses on trigger control — your ability to cleanly and repeatedly press the trigger straight to the rear without jerking or snatching it (thus sending rounds off target). As one might expect from Ken, accuracy standards are exacting and the need to send multiple shots down range within a specified period of time requires the shooter to be accurate while under time pressure.

Colt-Hackathorn-Test Colt-Hackathorn-Check-target

The course of fire is as follows:

  • Stand 10 yards from the RECOIL Colt target. Face the target and hold your pistol in a ready position, either high or low. The pistol should be loaded with 10 rounds in total, with a round in the chamber and safety engaged.
  • Set a shot timer to a 10 second par time; in other words, after the start buzzer, it should sound another signal after 10 seconds have elapsed. If you're by yourself, set the timer to a delayed start. Initiate the timer. On the start buzzer, come up on target and fire 10 rounds at the bullseye target. If the 10 second signal sounds before you're done, stop shooting — you won't receive any score for shots not taken or inadvertently fired after 10 seconds.

Check the target and score your hits as follows: Inside or touching the 10 ring, 10 points; the 9 ring, 9 points; the 8 ring, 8 points; the 7 ring, 7 points. You get nothing for any hits that are outside the 7 ring. Add up your points. You need to score at least 90 points to pass The Test.

If your pistol doesn't hold 10 rounds total, then modify the course of fire and the passing grade as follows. First, keep the par time at 10 seconds, but draw from the holster rather than starting from a ready position. Second, if your gun holds 9 rounds total (so 9 shots on target), your passing grade is 80 points. If it holds 8 rounds total, it's 70 points.

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The “Wizard Drill” requires just 5 rounds, drawing from the holster at 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards.

Ken designed the “Wizard Drill” to focus on practical employment of your self-defense firearm. You should perform this drill with the gun you regularly carry, the way you carry it, and with the ammunition that you carry. If you're a civilian and carry a compact handgun in an appendix holster, usually concealed with business casual attire and loaded with premium self-defense ammo, then run this drill that that same setup. If you're law enforcement and utilize a full-size gun in a duty rig with retention features, use that. For each component of this drill, you must draw your weapon and place accurate shots within 2.5 seconds. As Ken likes to say, many people trade competence for concealment and comfort — so try this drill to see if your choice of weapon and method of concealment will serve you well in a self-defense scenario.

Colt-Hackathorn-Strong-Side Colt-Hackathorn-Double

The course of fire is as follows:

  • Stand 3 yards from the RECOIL Colt target. Load your pistol with 5 rounds total and place it in your holster as you would normally carry it. Set your shot timer to a 2.5 second par time with a delayed start.
  • Face the target and initiate the timer. On the start buzzer, draw your weapon and shoot once at the circle in the head, using only your strong hand.
  • Move back to 5 yards. On the buzzer, draw and shoot once at the circle in the head. You may use both hands.
  • Move back to 7 yards and repeat.
  • Move back to 10 yards. On the buzzer, draw and fire two rounds at the bullseye target in the body. Both hands are allowed.

Colt-Hackathorn-Concealment Colt-Hackathorn-Target

Check your target and score your performance as follows:

  • For the three head shots, any hits inside or touching the circle are considered clean. For any hits outside the circle but still in the head box, subtract 1 point. For any impacts that completely miss the head box, subtract 5 points (resulting in failure).
  • For the two body shots, any hits inside or touching the 7 ring are clean. For any impacts outside the 7 ring but still in the body, subtract 1 point. For complete misses, subtract 5 points (i.e. failure).
  • If any point you took longer than 2.5 seconds to break your shot (or shots), you fail the test.

Add up your penalties; if you got -2 points or less, you pass. If you have 3 or more penalties, you fail.

The “Wizard Drill” isn't intended to be overly difficult; well-practiced shooters should be able to perform well. The key is that you must use your carry setup — try it and test your skills.

Click here for more information on the Colt Combat Unit Rail Gun.

Sign up for classes with Ken Hackathorn via Alias Training.


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For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

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