The Monthly Challenge
Improving your shooting skills

Here's a fun drill to try out this month (or perhaps I should say this quarter...). It combines rifle skills, pistol skills, and requires a bit of thought about slings. What is it? The rifle-to-pistol transition. The scenario is like this: you're shooting away with your rifle, when oh no! It malfs, or you empty your last magazine! There are still threats present, so you have to do something - time to draw the pistol and engage with it.

At the range, put on your pistol however you would normally carry it (if that isn't your standard practice already), and load a random number of rounds into a rifle mag without paying attention, so you don't know how many you have. Set up a target at a fairly close range (whereever you can make hits with your pistol), and shoot it with the rifle until it's empty. Then draw the pistol and continue with it.

The tricky part of this exercise is what you do with the rifle when you go for your pistol. You don't want to drop it on the ground, because then you won't be able to clear it or get another mag later on. So you have to sling it, or, in the worst case, just hold it with your non-dominant hand while firing the pistol with the other hand. Tactical slings make this part easy, as they allow you to basically let go of the rifle and not worry about it, though you have to be careful that your tac sling doesn't get in the way of your pistol draw. With a plain carry strap, you can sling it over a shoulder (quick, but not very secure) or across your back (much more secure, but slower).

Can you make a transition like this smoothly? If not, practice until you can. If you can, then work on doing it faster. If you can do it pretty fast, compete with a friend - you start with an empty rifle shouldered, and they go straight to a pistol. That should be enough to keep us all busy for a while...

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