One of the “AHA!” moments in my shooting journey was realizing that time isn’t lost as much when you’re shooting at a target but in the transitions from one target to the next. In competition shooting, the ability to swiftly transition between targets is crucial, as nearly all stages feature multiple targets. This drill focuses on one goal: improving how quickly you can transition from one target to the next.

Target Transitions Drill: Tools Needed

(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

The Drill

This drill requires two targets set up at about 2-3 yards apart. Using a shot timer, the goal is to transition from Target A to Target B as quickly as possible and fire one shot. You are not shooting at Target A. However, you are aiming and looking at that target at the start of the beep.

Target Transitions Drill: Set the targets 2 – 3 yards apart.
(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

This drill should be shot from left to right and right to left to work on moving in both directions. I highly recommend putting a white paster on both targets where you want your shot to impact.

If you’re working on this by yourself, set a delayed start on your timer to accurately track your times.

Eyes Lead, and the Gun Follows

Using a shot timer, the goal is to transition from Target A to Target B as quickly as possible and fire one shot.
(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

The point of this drill is to get your eyes moving and have your gun follow to your next target. The biggest mistake newer shooters make when shooting multiple targets is moving their gun to find the next target before their head or eyes move. This is slow and inefficient.

The white paster on Target B is where your eyes should immediately snap to when the timer beeps. Your gun will follow your eyes, and your sights should align on target, focusing on impacting on or near the white paster.

Assess Your Target

Target Transitions Drill: The white paster on Target B is where your eyes should immediately snap to when the timer beeps.
(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

You should aim for a mix of speed and accuracy. This drill is not meant to stop on Target B, perfectly align your sights, and then fire the shot. The goal is to move your gun as fast as possible. When you see your sights coming across or near the white paster, fire your shot.

If your target has a perfect grouping, you’re not doing this drill right. You should be pushing speed and either shooting too soon or overrunning your shot and shooting to the right of the white paster.

Time Tracking, Goal Setting, and Dry Fire

Practice the drill going from left to right and right to left.
(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

As with any shooting drill, you should always track your times. Run the drill a dozen times to find your most consistent/average transition time from Target A to B, and fire a shot. Once you have this average time, set a goal to reach a faster time while maintaining some sense of accuracy.

Dry firing this exact drill at home with an unloaded and empty firearm will improve your shooting tenfold. I know competitive shooters who rarely have time to get to a range to practice with live ammunition. So, they dry fire daily and consistently place high at matches.

For dry fire, I recommend setting a par time that pushes you to run this drill consistently but quickly and accurately.

Making Progress

As you get better with this drill, mix in harder target presentations. For example, no-shoot or non-threat targets, partial targets, or just more targets in general. If you’re more of an advanced-level shooter, you should work on prepping your trigger in between targets. This way, when your sights come across your intended target zone, you’re ready to fire the shot.

For competition shooters, dry fire is where most progress is made. Live fire is more of a confirmation of what you’ve been doing at home in dry fire practice. Keep working towards small goals, and you’ll notice how much it pays off when it comes time to compete.

Target Transitions Drill: Speed up Time Between Targets.
(Photo by Kelly Zachary)

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