These drills will help you master critical skills when learning to shoot an AR-15
Getting proficient with any firearm requires devoting some time and effort to the task.
However, it’s not always easy to come up with relevant drills that teach critical tasks, especially for someone who might be new to an AR-15.
Here are three drills that train critical tasks anyone shooting an AR needs to develop.
Put Down the Bullet Hose
One of the biggest mistakes new AR shooters make is to spend all of their time on the rifle shooting as fast as possible at targets 25 yards and closer.
There are endless YouTube videos glamorizing use of the AR-15 like a bullet hose where the goal is to shoot fast and look cool.
The problem is that almost all of these shooting drills are part of close quarters battle (CQB) training done by the military and law enforcement.
Those organizations fight as teams and have specific missions.
We civilians have different needs and should focus our time and money on more relevant tasks.
Master Shooting Offhand
The single best AR-15 drill is to staple a large paper plate to the target board and move to a shooting position 100 yards away.
Load ten rounds in a magazine and stick it in the rifle. The time standard is ten minutes to fire ten rounds. Shoot as small of a group as possible.
From a relaxed standing position, bring the rifle to the shoulder, aim, and fire one round offhand.
Lower the rifle, relax, and repeat until firing all ten rounds.
This drill doesn’t require a lot of rounds, but it does an excellent job of showing whether the shooter has mastered the most important basic shooting skills like trigger control and follow-through.
It should also take close to the full ten minutes because it requires concentration and fine motor skill.
This drill also measures performance at more realistic rifle ranges.
Whether it’s hunting, pest control, or combat, most rifle shooting takes place at distances closer to 100 yards than 25 yards.
Single Shot and Reload
This drill requires two magazines loaded with one round each.
One magazine is in the loaded rifle, the other can be carried however the shooter prefers. The target distance is up to the shooter.
Shoot offhand from the standing position.
Bring the rifle up, shoot one round, drop the magazine, load the fresh magazine, depress the bolt release, and fire the second round.
This drill requires manipulation of the safety, magazine release, and bolt release while only firing two rounds.
The goal is to hit the target with both rounds in as short a time period as possible. A target board at 25 yards is easy to hit and preferred to keep the drill simple.
A target board at 100 yards is more advanced because the shooter has to learn to start slow, work fast, and then slow down again to hit at that distance.
Fast and Furious
Load five rounds in the magazine and move 10 yards from a paper plate stapled to the target board.
Shoot offhand as fast as possible while still hitting the plate. It should be fairly easy to keep all the rounds on the plate.
There is a chance the rounds will start to impact high if the shooter’s position isn’t set up right. The recoil from the burst of rounds can push the shooter back on his heels and send rounds impacting high.
This drill is a great way to check if the standing offhand position is done correctly enough to control the recoil from fast firing.
Each of these drills is designed to test or teach basic skills, as every drill should. Be careful about repeating what’s seen on the internet.
If there is no good explanation of what the drill teaches or if the explanation isn’t a good fit for the shooter’s needs, look for a different drill.
The three outlined here offer enough general purpose to be good for just about every AR-15 shooter.