2019 Practical Pistol Reunion – The Speed Course

On Sept 21-22, 2019, many of the key figures in the early days of Practical Shooting reunited for a weekend of shooting and socializing. The event was hosted by Bill and Joyce Wilson at the Circle WC Ranch. Part one of this blog post series has more details about the event and who attended.

As part of the event we shot a four stage match built from courses of fire from the pre-1985 days of practical shooting. One of them was called the “Speed Course”. The match was shot from open carry, with everyone shooting 1911 pistols from holsters in common use prior to 1985.

Type: PAR time standard exercise

Targets: 3 standard IDPA silhouettes spaced 1 yard apart edge to edge. T1 at 5 yards, T2 at 7 yards and T3 at 10 yards

From left to right: T1 (5 yards), T3 (10 yards), T2 (7 yards)

Scoring: 5 points, 4 points and 3 points. Complete misses and/or overtime shots are -5 points each

Possible score: 120 points (24 rounds)


Stage 1: Draw and fire 1 round to the head on T1 (left target), 1 round to the head on T2 (right target) and 1 round to the head on T3 (center target). Repeat for a total of 6 rounds. 4 second time limit per string. Paste any hits below the head box.

Stage 2: Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), 2 rounds on T2 (right target) and 2 rounds on T3 (center target). 4 second time limit

Stage 3: Begin with a total of 6 rounds in the pistol. Draw and fire 2 rounds on T1 (left target), 2 rounds on T2 (right target) and 2 rounds on T3 (center target), emergency reload from slide-lock, re-engage T1, T2 and T3 with 2 rounds each for a total of 12 rounds. 10 second time limit

Calculating Drill Difficulty

Using the data from our book Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training, I calculated the skill level necessary to shoot a perfect score on the Speed Course.

Stage 1: Draw and fire 1 shot to the head, 5 yards = 1.00 sec. Fire one round each at T2 and T3. The goal was to hit the 4″ circle in the head, which was the same difficulty as hitting the 8″ circle in the body at twice the distance. So an estimate for each transition is 0.50 second. That means a 100% GM time for this stage would be 2.00 sec, and the 4.00 sec par time is roughly 50% of that.

Stage 2: Draw and fire 2 in the body on each target. Again this drill’s par of 4 seconds is roughly 50% of a modern GM standard (using open carry match gear).

Stage 3: This drill (2-2-2, slide lock reload, 2-2-2) is essentially an El Presidente drill without the turn. The old 100% standard for El Presidente in USPSA was 60 points in 6 seconds, but the 100% standard was recently increased. The 10 second par is roughly 50% of GM standard.

Given the high level of skill among those that attended, this course, like the other 3 events, became a contest of who could drop the least points.