Training drills

So we all know how crazy the ammo situation is which is making it tough for many people to train. On top of that, high temps in many areas or the country, fire danger in much of the west, and inclement weather can make it difficult to get outdoors and train. So where does that leave us. Well, training indoors. I have a membership to a local indoor 70 foot range. One of the nice things about this range is that the targets are rotating and can be programmed to adjust to multiple ranges for varying periods of time. Some ranges I have been to though, the targets do not rotate and the targets cannot be programmed. Another advantage of this range is you can draw from the holster. I know that many ranges will not allow that though. So how do you train with limitations and how do you train with limited ammo?

I like to run cadence drills on multiple sized targets and I also like to run accuracy drills.

The keyhole drill:
If you are struggling with trigger control or your groups are loose, this drill will help you hone in those grouping skills. Take an 8.5x11 blank piece of paper on target. Place the target at 3 yards. Load a magazine with 5 rounds and load the firearm. Chamber a round and start from compressed ready. Punch out, then slowly, get a good sight picture and fire a round. Now try and place the next four rounds through the same hole. If you have good trigger control, you should be able to punch a decent hole out of the paper. Fine tune your trigger control until your are plugging a nice little hole in the paper. Once you are good at 3 yards, move the target to 5, then 7, then 10, etc. You can easily do this with only 50 rounds.

3 round cadence drill
If you have good trigger control and are accurate with your firearm, start incorporating speed drills into your regimen to increase speed. Take an 8.5x11" piece of blank paper and trace a 3" circle in the center of the paper.Place the target at 3 yards. Load a magazine and chamber a round. Punch out and fire 3 rounds as fast as possible while maintaining accuracy. Start slow if needed and work up your speed. If a round ends up out of the circle, the round is a scratch and you start over. You cannot move to a further distance until you have 2 successful rounds in a row with no bullets landing outside of the circle. Then move to 5 yards, 7 yards, 10 yards, and 15 yards. The goal here is not only speed but also accuracy. As your target increases in distance, it is common for your groups to open up. Focus on grip, trigger control, accuracy and speed with this drill. If your groups are large at a specific distance, repeat at this distance by decreasing speed and then slowly increasing speed with each round of 3 until your groups tighten up. This drill can easily be done with 50 rounds as well.

Cadence Drill:
This drill is meant to manage your throttle control on the trigger. Take an 8.5x11" piece of paper vertically and trace a 4" circle in the top left and a 2" circle in the bottom right. Start out at 5 yards. Load 5 rounds into the magazine, insert the mag and chamber a round. Start at compressed ready and punch out and fire 3 rounds into the 4" target and 2 rounds into the 2" target. The reason for two rounds instead of 1 into the second target is to test your trigger control and grip. When transitioning to the smaller target, you will have to adjust the throttle on your trigger. This drill is meant to test your throttle control on multiple sized targets, transition speed and accuracy. Run 2 rounds at each increment of distance (5, 10, 15) and maintain your hits within the circles. If bullets land outside of the target zone, repeat the drill until you have 2 clean rounds before proceeding to the next target range.

When moving further out in distance, pay attention to your holds. Basically POA/POI and adjust as needed accordingly. You have to get used to where your holds are for your firearm whether you are using fixed sights or an optic. Adjust accordingly to maintain accuracy.

For me, I love to train with the AR15, but at indoor ranges, you don’t typically get out to range. Like I said, the indoor range I shoot at is only good for 70 feet. So for the indoor range, I like to focus on combat/cadence drills. This means I need to have a good idea of my holds for my optic and back up iron sights. If you are unfamiliar with your holds, make sure you test this before you start any of the drills.

Testing your hold over:
Depending on how you have your rifle sighted, you will need adjust your hold over accordingly. I like to start my holdover test at 3 yards. Take a 8.5x11" piece of papers draw a 1" on the paper. Place the target at 3 yards, load 5 rounds into a magazine, insert your mag and chamber a round. Place your sights/optic in the center of the circle and SLOWLY fire 5 rounds, maintaining good stance and trigger control. Evaluate your POA and POI in inches. For example, if you are shooting 2" low at 5 yards, hold your sights 2 inches above the center of the target at 3 yards. Load 5 more rounds and slowly fire into the target utilizing your hold over. You should be hitting in the center of the target now.

Cadence drill:
This is a good warm up drill or good 50 round training drill you can incorporate into your routine. Take an 8.5x11" piece of paper and in each corner draw a 2" circle. Place the target at 5 yards. Load 4 rounds into a magazine, insert your mage and chamber a round. Starting in either the low ready or high ready position, then punch out and fire 1 round into each circle. Start out slow and increase speed with each round of training. Try to get the rounds in the center mass of each circle. If you are competent at 5 rounds, increase in the following increments; 5, 10, 15, 20, then 25 yards. If you want, shoot 2 rounds into each circle. Just load 8 rounds into a magazine instead of 4.

Throttle Control
This is the same drill as the pistol drill with an 8.5x11" piece of paper with the 4" and 2" target. Same idea is to practice throttle control of the trigger on different sized targets. Place the target at 5 yards, load 5 rounds into your magazine, insert the mag, chamber a round and start in either high ready or low ready position. Punch out and fire 3 rounds into the 4" target and fire 2 rounds into the 2" target. Increase speed while maintaining accuracy. Attempt to keep all rounds in the center mass of each target while utilizing your holds. With a throttle control drill, you should naturally be slowing down throttle speed on the trigger when transitioning to the smaller target.

These are just some simple drills that I like to run as either a short range session or when warming up for other drills. If your range has rotating targets, you can utilize them with each one of these drills except the keyhole drill. Set your display time for anywhere between 3-6 seconds. Start out at 6 seconds and if you are able to run an entire round, decrease to 5 seconds, then 4, then 3, as long as you are maintaining accuracy. One you can complete two rounds at 3 seconds with no misses, move to the next distance. If you have any drills you like to run, I would love to hear about them. I am always looking for other drills to incorporate into my training, especially at indoor ranges since that is what I am limited to right now. It is still hot as heck in Arizona and we have fire restrictions in place meaning no shooting outdoors right now.

If you want to print of pre-made targets, you can find some great targets at the following websites. There are also some great drills on these sites as well.


Thank you, I will be using these this week. Targets are going to work well for my class next week.


Good to hear @Todd30. Have fun!


Wow…thank your for taking time to type, post, and links!!! Lots of good info!


You’re welcome!


Thank you so much! We had been working on improving accuracy. My wife and I will try these drills next week at our range. So appreciate your time to publish this article. I will check out the other links too! :+1:t5::us:

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No worries @Adamant! Glad you found them helpful :+1:


Good stuff! I am taking my instructor certification the end of Oct, this will be good info to use going forward.


me to.