The 16x16x16 drill

The 16x16x16 drill: 16 rounds at 16 feet within 16 seconds, onto a KRT-1 Target.

To set up, divide 16 rounds between two magazines; it does not have to be 8 and 8, in fact it’s encouraged to have an unknown and varying round count between the two magazines. Load the gun with one of the magazines, and holster. Stand 16 feet from a KRT-1 target, gun concealed, hands relaxed at your side. Par time of 16 seconds.

KRT-1 target available from letargets.com

On the signal, shoot each numbered shape on the target. The shapes marked “1”, shoot with 1 round. Those marked “2”, shoot 2. Marked “3”, shoot 3. Shoot 3 rounds in the A triangle and 1 in the B triangle. Whenever the gun runs empty, reload and continue until you’ve shot at all the shapes with the required number of rounds.

Your score is your time plus 1 second for every miss, and 1 second for any procedural (such as failing to shoot the right number of rounds for the drill, or right number of rounds on each shape). Total score under 16 seconds is good. Times below 12 seconds are excellent. While I haven’t run it with my competition gear yet, I think times in the 10’s or maybe lower are possible.

Note: the KRT-1 is an 18″ wide target you can buy from LETargets.com. It’s intended to be put over a USPSA or IDPA cardboard backer. If you print the image on 8.5″x11″ or even 11″x17″ paper, the target will be the wrong size, and the drill will become MUCH harder. Scaling matters.

Development

During a brief moment of “down time” at the 2019 A Girl and A Gun national training conference, John Kochan and I started thinking about how we could use the KRT-1 target in a drill similar to the Rangemaster “Casino” Drill.

Tom explains the Casino Drill

Sample Run

I ran it with a Glock 48, from concealment, shooting at a comfortable pace, in this video. If you watch carefully you’ll see the gun fail to lock open (my support hand thumb was riding heavy on the slide lock lever), and I actually take one ‘dry’ shot, realize the gun was empty, do the reload, rack the slide and resume shooting. All that extra work probably added a full second to the run time, which was 13.65 with all hits.

Randomize it

In-the-moment decision making is a skill that’s not tested by most formats of competition shooting. To do well on match day, typically what is required is the ability to quickly put together a stage plan, memorize it, and execute it without conscious thought in an automatic sequence. If all you want from this drill is to discover the fastest possible time you are capable of, you can plan out a sequence to minimize target transitions, and carefully load your mags so you can reload between two large shapes. But taking that route doesn’t provide all the training you could get from the drill if you run it in a less structured way.

To get maximum value from this drill, randomize it. If you practice with a partner, have that person load your mags for you, so you don’t know how many are in each one. Have your partner call a color or a shape or a number right before starting the timer. Then you have to shoot all the 2’s, or all the triangles, or all the blue shapes first. Or they can give you a full sequence by calling these items in any order:

  • 1,2,3, triangles (or) 1,2,3,A,B
  • circle, square, diamond, triangle
  • red, yellow, blue, triangles (A, B)

Each of those lists calls out all 8 shapes on the target using a sequence of 4 or 5 items. I think only giving the shooter one item to start, and tasking them with the job of figuring out how to finish, is harder — and a more realistic decision-making task.

No partner? Make a pile of 16 rounds and don’t count when you load the two mags. Take some index cards, mark them with 1, 2, 3, circle, square, triangle, diamond, red, yellow, blue. Shuffle the deck. Draw a card and use the shape pair identified by what’s on the card as your first pair to shoot.

Your times will be slower. Decisions take time. Reacting to the surprise of the gun locking open takes time. The drill, in a small way, can be used to build decision making speed, making choices between a small number of options in between sequences of 1-3 shots per target.

Not hard enough for you?

Load your magazines with 16 rounds and one dummy round. Add reacting to a surprise malfunction to the tasks to be performed. Add elements of the 3M test to it. Move on the draw, move on the reload, move on the malfunction. Move the target farther back. Lower the par time.

Variations for all levels

If the full drill with all the tasks in the 16 second par time is more than you are ready for, here are things you can do to simplify the drill and still get value from it.

  1. If the range won’t allow drawing, or you have no training in how to draw, start the drill from the ready position. Any ready position that keeps your muzzle pointed at the backstop will do. Muzzle at your feet or the range floor is too low; muzzle pointed at the ceiling or over the backstop is too high. The safest ready position, particularly for shooters with less training or experience, is simply to point the gun just underneath the target with arms at full extension, with finger OFF trigger, laying against the slide. (Finger resting underneath the frame, against the trigger guard, is a bad technique that can easily deteriorate to finger on trigger. Finger on slide is just as fast and much safer for general gun handling.)
  2. Run the drill with no time limit and just work on hitting all the shapes with no misses. If you can’t shoot the drill “clean” with no misses and no time limit, keep working on that until you can.
  3. Once you can shoot the drill clean with no time limit, use the timer or a stopwatch to figure out how long it takes you. (No par time. Just look at the time recorded for the last shot when you are done.)
  4. Set your own par time by cutting your “clean” run time down by 10%. Work at that until you can shoot it clean. Then knock another 10% off and keep working.
  5. Skip the reload. If your magazine holds 16, use one magazine. If your magazine holds less, shoot one round per shape, or shoot fewer shapes.
  6. If you are close to making the par time and need a little help, move the target closer. Try it at 12 feet (4 yards) or 9 feet (3 yards).
  7. Pro tip: don’t aim at the middle of the shapes. Cover up the numbers or letters with your sights. The top edge of your front sight is usually 2-3 bullet diameters above the center of the barrel. Point of aim won’t be exactly the same as point of impact. There is holdover. That means at close range (16 feet) your bullets are likely striking 1-1.5″ below the top edge of the sight. On a 3″ dot, aiming at the center and doing everything right could result in a hole down at 6 o’clock on the shape itself. Covering up the numbers/letters will move your aiming point above the center and move your hits to the center of the shape.

As part of a longer practice session

I suggest running it cold, as the first drill in your practice, with as little pre-planning on sequence and magazine capacity as possible. Your “cold” performance is the best indicator of actual performance in an incident or a match. After you finish the drill, stop and assess. Write down your score, make notes about which shots you missed, or anything else that’s important about that run. Scroll back through the times for each shot. Look at splits, transitions, draw time, reload time. Identify 1-2 things you can do better. Use the shapes on the KRT-1 to work on those skills. When you get down to the last 16 rounds you plan to shoot in practice, run it again. Score it, analyze it. Use those 1-2 things you need to improve on as the “to do list” for your dry fire practice before your next live fire session. (Then actually DO the dry fire work before you spend time and money to go back to the range and shoot live fire again.)


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