I prefer 2 part drills. Even if it’s one string of fire, I try to find a way to part it out. Like how I did on the Bill Drill. This one is two part in a different way. The Hold Drill teaches and tests at the same time. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this drill but I haven’t seen it elsewhere yet, so here it is.

The Teaching Part

The par time here needs to be long for you. It needs to be a time you can comfortably draw your weapon with good form. The time is comfortable so that each rep is a good rep. This is where you build muscle memory you can test at speed later. Comfortable isn’t slow, comfortable is taking your time with a sense of urgency.

The specific neuron pathways you need to myelinate are few, but important. First, you need to grasp your weapon and deactivate any retention devices on your holster the same way every rep. Everytime you grip the weapon it should be centered in your hand with respect to your forearm. Every time you grip the weapon it should be as high on the back strap as possible. If it’s not, stop the run and try again. Don’t myelinate bad runs.

Second, your draw path and grip need to be consistent and solid. If you’re fumbling with your grip after full extension, you’re wrong. Reset and try again. Your grip should be solid at the point of extension. Take the time to feel the grip out on the extension of the weapon. This is the time to learn, use it.

Third, you need to be finishing your extension on target. There should be a slight pause between extension and the firing signal. Use this pause to correct your aim and feel where you should have brought your arms and hands to for a good shot.

Like I said, take your time but have a sense of urgency. If you have no time to feel out the draw, add par time. If you’re waiting on the second buzzer too long, subtract par time. Find a time that works for you and practice until its efficient and consistent. Then lower time and go faster.

The Testing Part

This drill tests reaction time and a compressed surprise trigger break as Jeff Cooper called it.

You’re gonna be holding your trigger at the wall when the second buzzer goes off. Average human reaction to an auditory stimulus is .17 seconds. Add in a few tenths to actually pull trigger correctly and were roughly at .2 seconds. This is your time to beat. As fast as you can possibly break that shot and get a hit on your chosen target, do it. Start big/close and work your way up to further distance/smaller target. Just make sure it’s a hit and it’s coming in less than .25 seconds after the second buzzer. Eventually, you should work up to getting deliberate hits on demand on a decently small target.

Go out and give the Hold Drill a try. Comment below and let me know what you thought. Feedback is always appreciated. Iron sharpens iron. Until next time, check your ego at the door and keep training.

Author – Seth joined the Army in 2006 and went to Iraq a couple times doing LRRP work for the 82nd Airborne. After that, he played the Private Military Contractor game for a while until he decided to pursue a degree in economics. He now works as a data analyst and firearms instructor.