50 Simple Shooting Drills For New Shooters

If you’re a new shooter, you’ve definitely heard that you need to train, train and train some more. But what does that even mean?

A lot of people come with the best intentions and end up firing 100 rounds at the range. I mean it’s better than nothing, but there’s a reason the military doesn’t put soldiers in front of a paper target every day and then send them into battle.

There’s a lot you need to learn. Ask at your local ranges about classes with professional instructors, but you also need to start somewhere. With this in mind here are 50 very basic drills that can help take you from new gun owner through to seasoned self-defense specialist. In time, of course…

We’ll break each of these down into thorough guides, but this is the crucial overview that might just give you the kick in the ass you need to get started.

Why you need firearms training

Basic Skills Development (1-10)

You don’t even need to leave the house to get stared here. Start with dryfire caps, laser sights or just an empty gun. Then move on to the range.

  1. Dry Fire Practice: Focus on trigger control and sight alignment without live ammunition.
  2. Single Shot Accuracy: Fire one accurate shot at a time to focus on form and sight picture.
  3. Controlled Pairs: Two shots per target to practice recoil management and follow-up shots.
  4. Reload Drills: Practice reloading your firearm efficiently with dummy rounds.
  5. Shooting Stance Practice: Work on establishing a stable and comfortable shooting stance.
  6. Trigger Reset Drill: Learn to feel the trigger reset for more controlled shooting.
  7. Drawing from a Holster: Practice drawing your firearm safely and efficiently.
  8. Sight Picture Drills: Focus on quickly acquiring a proper sight picture after drawing.
  9. Shooting from High Compressed Ready: Fire from a high compressed ready position to target. Dry fire caps and laser sights are fine
  10. Basic Malfunction Clearances: Learn how to safely clear common firearm malfunctions.

Movement and Handling (11-20)

Shooting from a stationary position after taking a minnute to set yourself is all well and good. But life doesn’t happen like that. So it’s important to get the basics of shooting on the move. For simple target acquisition, drawing your gun and changing position, again you don’t need to leave your house.

I mean it’s best to get live fire training too, just to get the feel of the recoil, the noise and the whiff of gunpowder in the air. But something is always better than nothing.

As you work through this list, though, you’ll see where you can benefit from some instruction.

  1. Shooting While Stepping: Practice firing while taking controlled steps to simulate movement.
  2. Turn and Shoot: Begin with your back to the target, turn and engage.
  3. Kneeling Position Shooting: Practice shooting from a kneeling position for stability.
  4. Use of Cover: Learn to shoot from behind cover safely and effectively.
  5. Shooting from Seated Position: Practice drawing and shooting while seated.
  6. Walk and Shoot: Slowly walk towards or away from the target while engaging.
  7. Multiple Target Engagement: Engage two or more targets in succession to practice target transition.
  8. Shooting Around Barricades: Learn to lean and shoot around barricades without exposing too much.
  9. Shoot, Move, and Communicate: Practice moving between cover, shooting, and mimicking communication.
  10. Low-Light Shooting Basics: Introduction to the challenges of shooting in reduced light conditions.

Accuracy and Precision (21-30)

  1. Dot Drills: Shoot at small dot targets to improve precision. Forget the bullseye, aim at a point.
  2. Varying Distance Shots: Practice shooting targets at different distances.
  3. Timed Precision Shots: Shoot targets with precision within a set time limit. Then lower the limit, but focus on accuracy.
  4. Shooting with a Focus on Breath Control: Learn to time your shots with your breathing for improved accuracy.
  5. Grouping Drills: Consistently place shots within a tight group.
  6. Weak Hand Shooting: Practice shooting accurately with your non-dominant hand. If you’re injured, this can be invaluable.
  7. Shooting Under Stress: Perform drills with added physical stress, like after sprinting.
  8. Precision Slow Fire: Focus on perfect form and accuracy with no time pressure.
  9. Call Your Shot: Practice predicting where your shot will hit based on your sight picture.
  10. Rapid Fire Accuracy: Engage targets with rapid fire while maintaining accuracy.

Advanced Skills Development (31-40)

  1. Shooting from Unconventional Positions: Practice shooting while lying down, sitting, or in awkward positions.
  2. One-Handed Reloading Drills: Reload your firearm using only one hand.
  3. Shooting on the Move: Practice engaging targets while moving laterally or in various directions.
  4. Hostage Target Drills: Engage targets while avoiding no-shoot targets placed nearby.
  5. Transition Drills: Switch between firearms efficiently. Froma rifle to a pistol to a shotgun, you need to just pick up and shoot.
  6. Engaging Moving Targets: Practice hitting targets that are moving.
  7. Shooting at Moving While Moving: Engage a moving target while you are also moving.
  8. Long-Distance Shooting: For rifles, practice engaging targets at longer ranges.
  9. Rapid Decision Making: Identify shoot/no-shoot targets quickly under time pressure.
  10. Advanced Malfunction Drills: Practice clearing more complex malfunctions quickly.

Specialized and Scenario-Based (41-50)

  1. Shooting from a Vehicle: Learn the basics of engaging targets from inside or around a vehicle.
  2. Home Defense Scenarios: Practice scenarios that mimic potential home defense situations.
  3. Shoot-No-Shoot Decision Making: Engage with targets that require quick threat assessment.
  4. Multiple Threat Engagement: Prioritize and engage multiple threats efficiently.
  5. Use of Force Judgment: Simulated exercises focusing on when to shoot and when to hold fire.
  6. Night Shooting with Flashlights: Practice using a flashlight while engaging targets.
  7. Close Quarters Battle (CQB) Basics: Introduction to room clearing and close-quarters engagements.
  8. Stress Shoot: Complete a complex shooting drill designed to induce high levels of stress.
  9. Force on Force Training: Utilize non-lethal training ammunition for scenario-based training against live opponents (advanced and with professional supervision).
  10. Competition Shooting Basics: Introduction to the world of competitive shooting, focusing on speed, accuracy, and rules.

Each drill is designed to build upon the last, gradually increasing a new shooter’s confidence and skill level. Safety should always be the top priority, and it’s recommended that these drills be practiced under the guidance of a qualified instructor, especially as you progress into the more advanced and specialized drills.


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

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