If you’ve ever trained with me, you’ll know that one of my biggest concentrations is getting the shooter “off” the gun. What I mean by this is creating a skill level that allows for outside thinking (especially under stress). It’s odd, but in order to develop this level of skill, you have to spend some time deeply entrenched “in the gun.”


You must develop and perfect your process. To do these things… you have to concentrate. There are a few “go-to” drills I do to get and keep my head present while I’m training. These all require focus and endurance which pays a steep return. Let’s get started – and remember, always follow the gun safety rules when handling firearms.

  1. The 1 Box Drill

    The 1 Box Drill is as simple as they come. I load 4 pistol magazines (1 if I’m shooting a rifle) with the entire contents of a single box of ammunition. Standing at 7 yards (15 for a rifle) from the holster or low ready, I shoot into a 3” circle until I exhaust the ammunition. I try to make this as close to a continuous string as I can. 50 rounds will show you a lot. Importantly for me, it shows where my concentration is weakest in the process.


  2. The Slow-Motion Drill

    This Slow-Motion Drill is interesting and a wider benefit than it would first seem. Pick something that is fairly complex, say… a magazine change. At a range you’re comfortable with, fire the gun until empty at your normal pace. When you move to conduct the magazine change, pick a place to dramatically slow down inside the process. This is harder than it seems. I like to choose moments that are not natural “breaks,” such as releasing the magazine. Try something like midway to the gun with the fresh mag. This will require your concentration, fully.


  3. The Dummy Drill

    For the Dummy Drill, get yourself some inert rounds and load them randomly into your magazines. For any shooter, this is humbling. What you will attempt to do is shoot a drill without a dramatic muzzle dip. To say this is difficult is to understate it by a fair amount. Concentrate on the discipline of maintaining the aiming solution. It gets easier, but not much. The upshot is that you’ll also get pretty good at immediate action.


These three drills are a good start but there are an infinite number of exercises out there that you can adapt to this purpose. Just make sure you don’t get lured away. Concentration is the goal.

Good luck and great shooting. Until next time, train smart.


Author Bio

Duane “Buck” Buckner

After spending 25 years in the USCG, Duane “Buck” Buckner is now the U.S. Director of Training for Aimpoint. The Aimpoint Training Division conducts training courses for military and law enforcement agencies up to the Federal level as well as for the prepared civilian. Buck is widely known for his emphasis on brain psychology as it relates to combat and survival.


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