Tag Archives: Shooting Range

What Do You Do If Your Range Won’t Let You Do Train The Way You Want

IMG_9194 (2)Despite the proliferation of responsible newly-armed citizens and the advances and emphasis placed on personal defense training in recent years, there are still a number of ranges throughout the country that have extremely restrictive rules on conduct at their ranges.  These rules run the gamut from no movement (turning, advancing, etc.), to no drawing, and of course my favorite, the ever-nebulous “No Rapid Fire.”  Ranges’ rationale for these rules vary, but usually involve some combination of insurance issues, bad experiences with idiots, curmudgeonly owners, and occasionally a fundamental misunderstanding of what realistic defensive firearms training actually involves (because they shot bulls-eye pistol all their life and they know how you should train for defense).

So what should you do if your range falls into this category?  Well, I’ll fight my initial response of: “Find a new range.”  I realize that switching ranges isn’t always possible, because good ones are getting harder to find, and new ones aren’t exactly springing up on a regular basis in most parts of the country, so you’ll have to find a work-around.  You’ll end up having to work the skills you can’t do live, dry.  For example, if you can’t work movement, work everything up to movement.  Work your holster, work your reloads, work your rhythm.  Then work your turning dry at your home.

Shooting skills build – from the fundamentals of marksmanship to shooting and moving in buddy teams or in a house, you have to master the level below before you can move on.  And while practicing the skills live is the goal of every shooter, don’t underestimate the value of dry fire.  If you can master the skills of drawing, sight acquisition, trigger manipulation, and recoil management and practice those live, adding a turn prior to drawing isn’t really the leap it sounds like and doesn’t require the ability to live fire to practice (although it’s a huge plus, and I’d seek it out).

Restrictions on drawing aren’t the end of the world either, although they hamper training more than movement restrictions.  If your range prohibits drawing, work your presentation.  In your draw stroke, I would argue that the IMG_1257distance between your compressed ready and the shot breaking is the most important element.  That distance is where you pick up your sights, acquire your sight picture, and manipulate the trigger to get an accurate first shot on target.  The movements from ready to grip/pull and grip/pull to center/compressed ready can be easily practiced dry.  Start from the compressed ready and extend, with the goal of a shot breaking right as you reach full extension.  Once you have that smooth, extend and fire multiple shots to work recoil management and multiple target engagement.

If your range doesn’t allow rapid fire, work your fundamentals to get good shots as fast as possible within their time limit.  Also, built a rapport with the owner and range master/RSO.  If they see you there a lot and they see you acting responsibly, they may give you a little more leeway.  It’s amazing the walls a little demonstrated competence can break down.

Work within your restrictions, but seek out other opportunities to practice, whether open range days, matches, or visiting instructors.  Never underestimate the value of dry fire.  Above all, know your restrictions and develop a plan before you head to the range.  Turning money into noise is fun, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a better shooter.  Having a realistic plan will help keep you focused on your goals and make the most of your time in spite of restrictive rules.

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Do Not Conduct This Shooting Test If You Are A Beginner



The RE Factor Tactical Shooter Standard is tested using the Essentials Target.  This standard was created with the help of different types of shooters to include professional shooters, operators and shooting enthusiasts.  This standard covers a large majority of pistol shooting principles and is designed to test your overall pistol shooting capabilities.   The Shooter Standard covers 10 courses of fire and takes 47 rounds to complete.

Pistol Drill: The Howard Drill

Rifle Drill:  The Benavidez

The Test

Course of fire Yard Line Drill
1 15 Fire 10 well-aimed shots to the bulls-eye. There is no time standard for this drill.  Your score is the aggregate of your 10 shots.  If your shot breaks a ring it counts as the higher ring.
2 3 Draw and fire 2 rounds to target #7
3 3 Draw and fire 1 round to targets #1,3,5,6,4,2 in that order
4 5 Draw and fire 1 round to targets # 8, 11, 10, 9 in that order
5 5 Draw and fire 5 rounds to target #13
6 5 Draw and fire 1 round to target #15, 2 rounds to target #14, 3 rounds to target #12, 4 rounds to target #13
7 7 Draw and fire 1 round to target #7, reload and fire 2 rounds to target #7
8 10 Draw and fire 2 rounds to target #7
9 15 Draw and fire 1 round to target #13
10 25  Draw and fire 2 rounds to target #7
CoF 1 CoF 2 CoF 3 CoF 4 CoF 5 CoF 6 CoF 7 CoF 8 CoF 9 CoF 10
Basic 20 2.75 6.0 5.0 5.0 14.0 6.0 4 3 6.5
Intermediate 50 1.5 4.5 4.0 3.5 11.0 4.75 2.5 2.0 4.0
Advanced 75 1.15 3.5 3.30 2.0 6.0 3.50 1.50 1.30 2.25
Expert 95 1.0 2.75 2.5 1.75 5.0 2.25 1.25 1.0 1.75

Courses of Fire (CoF) explanation


***ONLY CLEAN RUNS COUNT***  If you miss, you fail the course of fire.

CoF 1-  We included a bullseye test at the 15-yard line for a number of reasons.  The 15-yard line is hard enough that it can challenge even advanced shooters, yet is close enough that basic shooters can theoretically group on the paper.  This is a test of your basic pistol shooting skills and marksmanship.

CoF 2- This closely represents a quick reaction to a close target.  These times are meant to be fast and are aimed at hitting an object the size of an “A” zone of an IPSC target.  These sizes tend to correlate with the vital internal organs of a human being.

CoF 3- This course of fire tests small target transitions and forces the shooter to obtain a good shooting cadence.  You will find that your best times will most likely be obtained with an equal shot time between the targets.

CoF 4- This course of fire represents a larger target transition and forces you to make a large movement between targets.  This tests your ability to quickly find and engage a new target.

CoF 5- This course of fire tests your ability to quickly run the gun and keep the rounds within a kill zone.  Shooting at the #13 target at the 5-yard line is a distance and size that is close/large enough to let you run the gun quickly but far/small enough to require you to keep positive control of your weapon.

CoF 6- This course of fire tests your trigger manipulation.  The first target is arguably the most difficult shot you will take the entire test.  Even advanced shooters will have trouble hitting the #15 target.  As you progress to the larger targets your trigger speed should speed up.

CoF 7- This course of fire tests your reload speed.  We implement two shots at the end to force you to not attempt to simply throw the shot after the reload into the #7.  The two shots ensure you have good, positive control of your weapon and shot placement after the reload.

CoF 8- This course of fire tests your ability to engage a kill zone sized target at a slightly further distance than CoF #2.

CoF 9- This course of fire represents a more precision shot at a head sized target.  This is a good mix of distance, speed, and accuracy.

CoF 10- This course of fire will throw off a large majority of shooters.  This tests your ability to actively engage and stop a target at a distance that tests the maximum capabilities of most pistols and pistol shooters.

For more drills, check out our shooting drills page.

Shooting Levels

Basic- Basic shooters are not beginner shooters.  We see beginner shooters as shooters that must be monitored and constantly trained by a professional trainer.  BEGINNERS SHOULD NOT TRY THIS DRILL.  For this standard, basic shooters are shooters who are comfortable with draws, reloads and basic pistol manipulation.  They should be able to perform all of the drills to standard but with much slower times than intermediate, advanced or expert shooters.

Use This Drill To Get Better At Shooting

Intermediate- The intermediate shooter will fall in place with a majority of police officers and military personnel trained in basic combat pistol techniques.  If you carry a gun for a living you should be able to pass the intermediate standard.

Advanced-  The advanced shooter is most likely a shooting enthusiast and may engage in low-level competitions.  We consider the advanced shooter as a good standard to work towards.

Expert- This is your sponsored shooter or tier 1 operator that engages in regular competitions, training courses and has an unlimited amount of time and ammunition to train with.

Essentials Target

RE Factor Tactical Shooting Standard FAQs:

Is the test conducted with or without a cover shirt?

This test can be conducted either with a cover shirt or without a cover shirt.  The times/standards we gathered were taken without a cover shirt.

How did you set your scoring times?

We tested a large pool of shooters from basic to sponsored and took the aggregate score of each level.

Why is everything from the draw?

Because most real-life situations start with your pistol in a holster or some other location than just your hand.  If you can draw from your holster you can do all of the other movements within that draw such as a press.

Is this the end all be all of shooting standards?

No, not at all.  This test is not dynamic and does not test any aspects of shooting while moving, turning and shooting, alternate shooting positions, shooting from cover or other advanced shooting skills.  We want this to be something that most people can test themselves on at most ranges.

Where can I purchase the Essentials Target?

It is available at https://www.refactortactical.com/category/shooting/

Get The Best Bang For Your Buck With This Marksmanship Training