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Timing Drill Back
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Drill Name Timing Drill Posted On/By 7/3/2010 by RangeLog Admin
Author/Credit Matt Burkett Scoring Shooting Time
Focus Areas Accuracy, Speed, Efficiency Public or Private PUBLIC
Course of Fire/ Description

Visit Matt Burkett's web site at

Timing of the gun

I am not referring to the actual time the mechanism takes to return to battery. I am referring to learning the timing of the gun by the shooter. Since most guns return to battery in about 5 hundredths of a second, we cannot return the gun fast enough with our conscious mind. The subconscious will return the gun to point of aim by using the appropriate amount of muscle force during recoil. You will see top shooters push down on the gun if it does something it’s not supposed to do, such as hitting a bad primer and not firing. This is not a flinch. A flinch occurs before and also during the firing of the gun.
You must shoot a full magazine on every string in this drill and you must not stop and restart in the middle of a magazine. Unless there is a safety issue, shoot the entire magazine at the required splits. You must have a relaxed positive stance and grip on the gun for this to work.
The major areas this drill assists are the return of the gun under recoil, calling your shots, grip control, and solidifying the stance. If you are not using a solid forward shooting stance, you will see the gun start going out of control and the sights moving differently after about 3-5 rounds. Please refer to my previous articles for more stance information or check my website at
You will need three targets, tape, and about 250 rounds of ammo.
The drill:
Start out with three targets 15 yards away. Load all of your magazines. First three strings are two seconds per shot. Like a metronome, have the splits be as close to two seconds as possible. Check your split times on a timer or have another shooter help you with the drill. Two seconds per shot gives you plenty of time to shoot an extremely small group.
  • First string, use as light of a grip as possible on first target.
  • Second string; use a medium grip on second target.
  • Third string, use a heavy grip on the third target.
  • Now unload and review your shooting.
You shouldn’t have more than about a 2” group on each target. Compare where they are impacting on the target. Is there more vertical stringing or horizontal on the different groups? Which one did you feel more comfortable with? How did the gun feel with each grip? What exactly did the sights do? Did they rise straight up under recoil? Could you even see the sights under recoil? This will show you if you have a flinch. If you can’t see the sights going up and down, there is a good chance you’re blinking.
Figure out what grip worked best for you and use that for the rest of the drill.
  • Tape the targets.
  • String four, two seconds per shot on target 1 with your new favorite grip.
  • String five, one second per shot on target 2.
  • String six, .5 seconds per shot on target 3. 
Now unload and review your shooting.
Once again we go back and look to see where our problems are showing up. What is the group dispersion on the targets? Is there a significant difference between the groups at two seconds and at .5 seconds? How much vertical error is there with the groups? What did the sights do at the different speeds? Diagnose what is happening. If you’re getting a significantly upper right lift to the sights, grip a little more with your left hand and slightly less with your right hand (assuming you’re right handed).
  • Tape the targets.
  • String seven, one second per shot on target one.
  • String eight, .5 per shot on target two.
  • String nine, .25 per shot on target three.
  • Unload and review.
How did your shooting go at this speed? Are the sights coming back naturally to the aiming point?
Critical things to remember:
The timing of the gun that you have learned is specific to that firearm and load. If you change any part or your load, rerun the timing drills because the gun itself has changed.
Instructional Video NOT SPECIFIED
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