The Shirt Target from 1929

Another find from my historical handgun research team. This is an article from 1929 about a “shirt” target designed to look like a buttoned uniform shirt. It’s still a basic bullseye design but with scoring zones having more anatomical relevance than a classic circular style. The 6 point zone in the middle is almost like an X ring – a bonus beyond the “acceptable hit” 5 ring.

The article didn’t provide a clean copy of the target, which is supposed to be 12″ x 8″, but I used Photoshop to make a usable clean version of the basic design. I didn’t do the same with the variant with the narrower 6 point zone. I think the original design is more appropriate for defensive pistol training.

This version is cropped so that it fits on 8.5×11 standard paper with correct dimensions.

Shooting the Shirt Target

Back in 1929, everything was one handed, slow fire bullseye shooting done at longer ranges, with 12 yards considered “close range” and 20 seconds considered “rapid fire”. The double action drill mentioned in the article was 5 shots in 5-7 seconds. Being a fan of the 5-5-5-5 drill (5 shots, 5 seconds, 5 inches, 5 yards), I shot a simple 6 shots, 6 seconds, 6 yards drill on the shirt target, in honor of it having a 6 point center scoring zone. This was done starting from the ready, but two handed using my Glock 48 w/ Holosun 507 optic. For the full vintage experience, shoot it one handed with a .38 revolver with fixed sights.

I also shot this month’s Rangemaster “drill of the month” using the shirt target, mixing 2024 drills and gear with a 1929 target. Tom’s 7 yard standards is shot at 7 yards using a B8 target, where hits outside the 7 ring count as zero (misses).

Rangemaster 7 yard standards

  1. Draw and fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds
  2. Start at ready, gun in dominant hand. Dominant hand only, fire 4 rounds in 5 seconds
  3. Start with gun in non-dominant hand. Non dominant hand only, fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds
  4. Start with one round in the gun, at the ready. On signal, fire 1 round, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 2 more rounds, all in 7 seconds.

The drill is 15 rounds total, 150 points possible. 135 pts or better to pass (90%).

I actually started my range session with a cold run on this drill before I shot the shirt target. That run is here

Score on that is either a 146/150 or 144/150 depending on how you score the line-breaking shots.

After shooting the 6x6x6 on the shirt target, I re-shot the 7 yard standards using another shirt target.

Out of 180 points possible, I shot 175/180, with the 3 and 4 point shots happening on the non dominant hand string. The low shot in the 4 point zone by the bottom button might have fallen outside the B8 7 ring and been counted a miss. Target design matters and can influence the way you train and the effort you put into correcting errors.

The Interesting 20’s

In my ongoing dive into the history of handgun training I’ve found that the era between WW I and WW 2 (basically the 1920’s to mid 1930’s) to be full of interesting treasures and good ideas that somehow got lost or forgotten after WW2 in the 1945-1965 era of hip shooting fast draw and bullseye target shooting. The shirt target target is yet another example of shooters of that early era thinking about defensive shooting and trying to come up with new targets and drills that were more relevant.