Worlds Collide: Chasing the Timer

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What happens when the timer comes out while shooting drills? Increased pressure for the shooter. In this video, competition shooter Rob Leatham holds the timer while defensive shooting instructor Rob Pincus does the shooting. Their goal is to examine what that added time pressure results in.

The Bill Drill

One of the best-known handgun shooting drills, the Bill Drill is named for Bill Wilson. The goal of the Bill Drill is for the shooter to draw the handgun and shoot six shots in the A zone of a man-shaped target at seven yards in two seconds. It’s a challenging drill.

First Two Strings of Fire

On the first run-through, Rob Pincus gets all six hits in the A zone, so he has met the accuracy requirement of the drill. But his time is 3.10 seconds, meaning he has room for improvement by reducing his time by 1.10 seconds.

Rob immediately shoots the drill again, improving his time to 2.63 seconds. But the shots are all over the place, definitely not all in the A zone. This illustrates the conundrum competition shooters face: The timer creates stress, and the shooter must work to keep the shots in the A zone while trying to meet the arbitrary two-second time limit.

What was Rob’s mistake? He can identify it as rushing the first shot, which missed and led to other bad shots. He resolves to slow down and get that first A zone hit on the next string, while Rob Leatham stresses that the goal is for Rob to be as accurate as he has to be as quickly as he can.

Trying To Find the Middle Ground

On the third string, Rob is at 2.75 seconds with a couple shots out of the A zone. In other words, his first string was his best, because all shots were in the A zone. Both Robs conclude that the second and third strings were not as good because Rob was chasing the timer, and this resulted in less accurate shots.

When you start chasing the timer, you start making mistakes. Whether in competition or during handgun training and practice, Rob Pincus believes in shooters pushing themselves with the timer, but not chasing it. And that’s the difference between setting an objective standard such as two seconds and saying how fast can you perform the drill accurately?

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