Pistol Drill: The Howard Drill

COL Robert L. Howard was a Medal of Honor winner during Vietnam.  Before his death, he was the most decorated living Medal of Honor Recipient.  You can read more about COL Howard below.

The Howard Drill is a great mixture of speed vs accuracy.  You can make this pistol drill harder with magazine changes, increasing your distance and speeding up your cadence.


For this pistol drill, the shooter stands at the 3-yard line with the pistol holstered, facing down-range.


At the buzzer, the shooter draws and fires 1 round to the #1 target, 2 rounds to the #2 target, 3 rounds to the #3 target, 4 rounds to the #4 target, 5 rounds to the #5 target, 6 rounds to the #6 target.   Change magazines as necessary.

For more drills, check out our shooting drills page.


Your score for this drill is your time.  For this drill only hits count.  You should do your best to maintain good accuracy while trying to speed up your cadence.

Colonel Robert L. Howard

COL Howard is nothing short of amazing.  COL Howard spent 36 years in the Army, serving in MACVSOG, Special Forces and Special Operations Command Korea.

COL Howard earned the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, eight Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and four Bronze Starts.  He spent 54 months in combat overall.


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for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then SFC .), distinguished himself while serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon which was on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in an enemy-controlled territory in the Republic of Vietnam.

The platoon had left its helicopter landing zone and was moving out on its mission when it was attacked by an estimated 2-company force. During the initial engagement, 1st Lt. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer’s equipment, an enemy bullet struck 1 of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant’s belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition.

1st Lt. Howard momentarily sought cover and then realizing that he must rejoin the platoon, which had been disorganized by the enemy attack, he again began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, 1st Lt. Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fire on the encircling enemy.

For 3 12 hours 1st Lt. Howard’s small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howard’s gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 16 (March 24, 1971)
Action Date: December 30, 1968
Service: Army
Regiment: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Division: 1st Special Forces
Distinguished Service Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant First Class Robert Lewis Howard (ASN: RA-14628152), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Command and Control (Central), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Sergeant First Class Howard distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 21 November 1967, as Special Forces Advisor to a joint American and Vietnamese reconnaissance patrol conducting a search mission near the Laotian border. His patrol discovered a huge rice and ammunition cache surrounded by an enemy bunker complex.
Sergeant Howard led a small team to provide security while the remainder of the unit began to destroy the stored supplies. His team encountered four North Vietnamese Army soldiers, and Sergeant Howard killed them with a fierce burst of rifle fire. He and his men were immediately pinned down by a murderous curtain of fire which erupted from a nearby enemy machine gun position. With complete disregard for his safety, Sergeant Howard crawled toward the emplacement and killed a North Vietnamese sniper who was firing at him as he maneuvered. He then charged the bunker, eliminating its occupants with rifle fire.
A second machine gun position unleashed a savage barrage. Sergeant Howard moved his troops to a covered location and directed an airstrike against the fortified bunker. While assessing the bomb damage, Sergeant Howard was fired upon by North Vietnamese soldiers in the bunker who had survived the blasts. Pinned down directly outside the strongpoint with a blazing machine gun barrel only six inches above his head, he threw a hand grenade into the aperture of the emplacement, killing the gunners and temporarily silencing the weapon.
He then dashed to his team’s location and secured a light anti-tank weapon. As the enemy machine gun resumed firing, Sergeant Howard stood up amid a withering hail of bullets, fired his weapon, and completely demolished the position. His fearless and determined actions in close combat enabled the remainder of the patrol to destroy the enemy cache. Sergeant First Class Howard’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2018 (May 2, 1968)

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