This pistol shooting drill is done in honor of  Sgt. Matthew Abbate, who was killed in action in Sangin Afghanistan while serving as a Marine Scout Sniper with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during his tour of duty.


The Abbate Drill can be found on page 60 of our Essential Shooting Guide in the Stress Drill section. To conduct this pistol drill, you will need one Essentials Target placed on a range that allows the shooter at least 25 yards with of vertical movement away from the target. The Abbate Drill is a moving drill and will require you to run from the 3-yard line to the 25-yard line and back to finish the drill. This drill is designed to work on the pistol draw, shot consistency, speed, accuracy, target transitions, split-times, and shooting with proper fundamentals with an accelerated heart rate. This pistol drill is for intermediate to advanced shooters and includes multiple target transitions, movement, and at least one magazine reload. We have also added a couple of alternate scoring variations to increase difficulty, emphasize accuracy, and challenge advanced shooters.

The Essentials Target 

The Essentials Target is designed to give you an essential set of drills that will maintain your current proficiency level. The drill takes 150 rounds to complete and covers multiple aspects of pistol marksmanship to include slow aimed fire, weak and off-hand shooting, target transition, trigger speed changes, drawing, magazine reloads, and controlled multiple shot groups.

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The Essential Shooting Guide

The Essentials Shooting Guide is used in conjunction with our Essentials and Kill Zone Targets. The book starts with our Essentials Drill which is a 150 round drill designed to work on different aspects of shooting to include: basic marksmanship, drawing from the holster, reloads, target transitions, differing trigger manipulations and combat focused shooting. Upon completion of the drill, you will diagnose areas that need improvement. The book then offers chapters of different drills that are used in conjunction with our Essentials Targets as well as areas to mark your improvement. We strongly recommend using this book in conjunction with our Essentials Targets as the two items will offer a solid iteration of marksmanship.

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Setup For This Pistol Drill

To conduct this drill, the shooter will begin on the 3-yard line facing downrange (facing the target) with their pistol holstered and a round chambered. This pistol shooting drill can require several reloads depending on the accuracy of the shooter so the shooter should have a few extra magazines on their person before beginning the drill. If the shooter completes the drill with zero misses the drill will require twenty-four (24) rounds. This drill requires a shot timer to be scored appropriately. The time begins with the sound of the buzzer and concludes when the number “6” target has been successfully shot four times.

The Pistol Drill

At the sound of the buzzer, the shooter will draw and fire two rounds into targets 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 in that order. The shooter must successfully hit each target with two rounds before transitioning to the next target. Once targets 1-6 have two rounds in them, the shooter will then turn in run to the 25-yard line and then return to the 3-yard line. The shooter will then repeat the same shot sequence by shooting the 1-6 targets with two rounds in order to move, and not moving to the next target until the prior target has been successfully shot twice. The shooter can either holster their pistol during the running portion of the drill or maintain muzzle awareness and keep the weapon pointing in a safe direction (shooter/range preference).

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The Purpose of this Shooting Drill

This shooting drill is designed to combine speed, pistol shooting accuracy and emphasizes precise fine motor skills by requiring a speed reload and multiple follow-on precision shots with an accelerated heart rate.

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How to score This Pistol Shooting Drill

The shooter’s score is the total time it takes to complete the drill successfully.

Variation(s) of This Shooting Drill

If desired, the shooter can ensure that they have a total of 24 rounds and fire the same shot sequence with only two chances to hit each target. Fire the initial twelve rounds into the 1-6 targets, then run to the 25-yard line then return to the 3-yard line and fire the remaining twelve. Each miss will now count as a 4-second penalty and will be added to the total time. This version of the drill emphasizes accuracy differently because the shooter has an allotted number of rounds to make all 24 hits and the misses add additional time to the shooters total.

Learn The Essentials Of Marksmanship