I thought it would be interesting to share a few of the drills that I consistently run during my classes. We’ll do several Training Tips like this explaining the drill and the “why” behind them. If nothing else, it will give you something to consider on your next trip to the range. Enjoy, and be safe.

*Disclaimer: As always, use caution when handling firearms and remember to follow the gun safety rules.*

Training Tip Range Drill 2 for 3

Training Drill: 2 For 3

This drill is set up exactly like “El Pres.” The number of targets, distance, starting position… all exactly like Jeff Cooper set forth back in the 1970’s. Where it differs is in the round count and load out.

The shooter will load three magazines of two rounds each. Place two of those magazines in mag pouches on their belt, and load one directly to the gun. 

The targets (I use whatever silhouettes are handy) are placed 1 meter apart at 10 yards.

The starting position is facing away from the targets (up range), in a casual posture. Some people start “El Pres” with their hands up in a surrender position. I don’t. On the timer, the shooter turns, draws their weapon (safely down range) and delivers two rounds to the first target, conducts a slide lock reload, transitions to the center target and delivers two rounds, conducts another slide lock reload, and transitions finally to the third target for the last two rounds of the drill.

The ”Why” This Drill Works

So, let’s discuss “the why” to this quick and fun little drill.

When I do this drill (and many others) I invite the other students in the class near the shooter to observe their performance. At the end of the drill, I ask for feedback from the crowd. In spite of what many think, it isn’t to induce stress. It’s a deep learning moment… for the crowd. I’m always amazed by what they see and the quality of their suggestions. After we’ve all shot it, I often remark that we should be as present in our own running of it as we are when someone else does.

Improvements and Tactics

When shooting “2 for 3,” here are some things to look for:

Manipulations make misses.
Look for an opportunity to slow down during those mag changes. Shooting is an easier task than getting a mag in that gun at speed. Don’t let the less dexterous requirement set your velocity. We’ve all seen mag changes go bad, it isn’t pretty. Slow down, get it right.

Magwell focus.
I prefer to shift my eyes to the gun when I’m working on it. I’ll figure the target out once I have something in the gun to shoot at it.

Look for a controlled presentation rather than a panicked one. This is pretty easy to pick out. Control doesn’t look like it has electricity flowing through it, it’s (forgive me) …smooth.

The little things.
Pay close attention to the way (and when) you get to your new mag or if you inexplicably “flip” the old one out of the pistol. A huge number of shooters “shake” the empty mag out and oddly look at it while they are doing it. As soon as the mag is clear they go back to the target, abandoning the reload to (literally) blind hope. Consider whether you turn the gun out of your grip to get to the mag release. Do you have to? Some do, some don’t… either way; you should know.

Find your own things to look for in this drill. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require anything elaborate. Invite friends to watch you and then you watch them. You’ll get better, and so will they.

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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Posted by Duane Buckner, Aimpoint US Director of Training on Mar 14th 2023