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Skills n’ Drills: Line Break

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There are a few common reasons why your marksmanship might suffer, especially if you’re shooting several shots in a row. Things like your grip, trigger control, and sight picture can all negatively impact your shot placement and consistency. As with anything else, most of this can be overcome with dedicated and focused practice. The problem is that focusing on those specific areas of concern can become tedious. The solution? Line Break.


Inspired by carnival games of an era when the chances of suffering death or great bodily harm on the tilt-o-whirl were much higher, aka the ’80s, Line Break is an incredibly simple exercise. Place the included target, which features a 1.5-inch-wide vertical negative space, at 3 yards.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need a handgun and 50 rounds. Pretty simple so far, right? Here’s where things get a bit spicy.

The point of the exercise is very straightforward. Using 50 rounds or less, cut your target in half vertically along the centerline. There’s no time standard, so you can take as much or as little time as necessary to complete the task. However, there’s one caveat: if any of your shots break the left or right edge of the negative space in the included target, you fail the exercise. If you fire all 50 rounds and you haven’t cut the target in half vertically, you fail the exercise.


If you’re using one of the common service calibers and fire every shot perfectly, you can complete this exercise with anywhere between 25 and 32 rounds. But that’s if you deliver every single round perfectly. It’s much more likely that at first you might not be able to complete the exercise in the allotted round count. That’s OK; take as many rounds as you need the first time you shoot this and note the total number of rounds fired. Measure your progress over time, by using less rounds to complete the task.


Distance: 3 yards Condition: Loaded to capacity, with 50 total rounds available to you

Start Position: Gun in hand Directions: When you’re ready to begin and using as much care as necessary, begin firing rounds into the indicated targeting zone. Reload as necessary. If you find your visual or mental focus wandering, keep your muzzle in a safe direction, set your firearm down, and close your eyes for a few seconds. Once you’re able to refocus, continue the exercise.

Scoring: The fewer rounds you use to cut the target in half vertically along the centerline, the better your score. Anything that breaks the left or right edge of the targeting area invalidates your score.

Successfully complete Line Break and want bragging rights? Take a photo of the two halves of your target lying flat next to an ammo tray containing the rounds you have left over and post it online with the hashtag #RecoilsLineBreakChallenge.

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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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