The rangemaster bullseye course

I have not shot this exercise, but it sounds like an interesting and useful application of 30 rounds — especially for folks facing restrictive range rules and/or who believe that accuracy is a key element in defensive proficiency.

This is from the January 2022 Rangemaster monthly newsletter, which addresses several other valuable topics.

by Tom Givens

Over my several decades long shooting career I have been privileged to shoot with many of the finest shots in the country. Whether the discipline involved was small bore rifle, PPC, IPSC, or IDPA all of the very top shots in that field shared one thing in common. To a man (or woman) they all relentlessly practiced the fundamental elements of marksmanship, and worked very hard to perfect the most basic skills. Then, no matter what challenge a match presented to them, they could focus on solving the problem, rather than on how to shoot. The same thing applied to several very experienced gunmen I have known, including the late, great Jim Cirillo. Cirillo spent thousands of rounds working on very basic skills, which he told me allowed him to concentrate and get hits even under fire in his many on the job shootings.

The second purpose of this course is to help those who have a lot of restrictions placed on their live fire practice by the range rules where they shoot. Many ranges don’t allow work from the holster, or even silhouette targets. Fortunately, if you are stuck with such a training venue, you can perfect your presentation from the holster during dry practice at home. You can use a silhouette target at home with your dry practice, to ingrain getting a proper sight picture on a humanoid figure. You use this course of fire at the range to perfect your actual shooting skill— the ability to hit what you wish to, on demand.

For this course, we use the NRA B-8 bullseye target. It has been a standard NRA bullseye pistol competition target for decades. It is scored as printed. The course is divided into five stages, fired at 25, 15, 10, 7 and 5 yards, in five round strings. Since all strings are five rounds each, you can even use this with a five- shot revolver. All strings begin with the pistol loaded, in both hands, at the low ready. Use a shot timer, or have a shooting partner time you with a stop-watch.

The first string is fired at 25 yards, and it is designed to test your maximum precision with the gun and ammunition you are using. On signal, fire 5 rounds in one minute. It is best to fire these one at a time, coming back down to ready to take a couple of breaths and get ready to go again. Think of these as five individual, precisely aimed shots.

Next, move the target to 15 yards. On signal fire 5 rounds in 15 seconds. This is adequate time per shot to allow you to concentrate on getting a good sight picture and a smooth trigger press.

For the next string, move to the 10 yard line, and on signal fire 5 rounds in 10 seconds. Cutting the time limit forces you to work on immediate follow through and an appropriate cadence.

Now, move the target to 7 yards. Start with only 5 rounds in the pistol, and have a spare magazine, speedloader, speed strip or whatever you use for fast reloading on your person. On signal, fire 5 rounds, reload, and fire 5 more rounds, all in 15 seconds. This drill works on trigger control, follow through, proper cadence, and reloading skill, all in one string.

For the last string, move to 5 yards. On signal, fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds.

That’s it. You have fired 30 rounds total, for a maximum possible score of 300 points. If you can consistently shoot 285 or better on this, under the time limits, you are a pretty darn good shot. You have also had a good work-out that covered sight alignment/sight picture, trigger control, follow through, recoil control/recovery, reloading under time pressure and appropriate cadences for different distances, all in less than one box of ammunition. If you wish to compare the “shootability” of a couple of handguns, this will make it readily apparent if one shoots better for you than the other. Work on this drill periodically, even if your range does allow drawing from the holster, silhouette targets and so forth. Regardless of your current skill level this will make you a better all-around shooter.


He has some exceptional drills/courses of fire that are very relevant to the skills needed to successfully carry a pistol on a daily basis. Can’t recommend anything Rangemaster enough. If you have a chance to train with Mr. Givens do so before it’s too late. Well worth it.


Don’t tell me his first name is “Raylen”!


:rofl::joy::rofl::rofl: nope but he’s darn near as fast!

Would the B8 target with the red center give you an advantage? Or would it be a distraction?

Depends… :grin:

With iron sights:
If your sight picture uses a bullseye (or “lollipop” or 6 o’clock) hold on your target, the bright center probably allows a more precise aim — especially at longer distances.

If your sight picture uses a combat (or “cover” or center mass) hold on your target, the bright center may be more distraction than help. Some people who shoot with both eyes open may find that the weak eye superimposes the bright point perfectly when it is blocked to the strong eye by the front sight. My brain is confused when strong and weak eyes try to assemble different images quickly, so it just messes me up.

I just block my precise point of aim with the front sight, using a “combat” hold to the center of paper (or other target, adjusted for distance as needed). The bullets will need to find the precise bullseye on their own. When I’m doing my part, they do.

With red dot sights or projected laser sighting, laying the gun’s dot onto the target’s dot should allow considerable precision and little distraction.

One point to note is that in actual defensive shooting your assailant will not have a bright aiming point to focus your sight picture, so getting accustomed to that aid might not be an advantage. But if you are using live fire (vs. dry fire practices) to work on the isolated mechanics of improving grip, trigger, etc having a very tight aiming point might make it easier to measure progress.


I tried this today with the red center target since I had plenty of those on hand.
I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. Balancing time and accuracy Increased the fun factor for me.
My wife didn’t complete the magazine change portion within the time constraints. So now we are looking for ways to practice and improve there.

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Assuming that you can make the 5 hits in 5 seconds, that leaves five seconds to get the reload done.

To make a box of ammo go farther — or just to get more reps — you might try working on the reload in isolation. From a hold on target, at the beep, shoot-reload-shoot. Figure out the most efficient motions, and work the fumbley parts smooth. Depending how you release the slide, reloads might be practiced effectively without ammo — click-reload-rack-click.

If you can already reload in 3-4 sec, then maybe it’s the 7-yard cadence which needs work. Or if you have both in time, maybe there is a pause at transitions to be eliminated. Use the shot timer to figure out where things are slow, where they are fast, and where there’s a reasonable opportunity to pick up some time.

Good luck! I need to run this one more often.

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Meant to add earlier, there is also an advanced version that cuts the time and adds dominant/non-dominat hand strings.