Best Rifle Drills For The Shooting Range

Best Rifle Drills For The Shooting Range
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Tyler J. Urchuck, front, a rifleman with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and a native of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, performs a speed reload on his M4 carbine during weapon manipulation drills aboard the USS San Diego (LPD 22), Sept. 30, 2014. The 11th MEU is embarked with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman/Released)

Rifle drills at the range are paramount for shooters aiming to refine their skills and elevate their performance. The effectiveness of a training session largely depends on the selection of drills that not only challenge the shooter but also reinforce and expand upon basic shooting principles. 

The best approach to range training eschews the idea of merely meeting set standards, which often leads to a plateau in skill development. Instead, a dynamic regimen that emphasizes continuous improvement and adaptation to new challenges ensures steady progress. A comprehensive drill regimen includes exercises that cover a wide spectrum of skills, from accuracy and precision to speed and tactical awareness. 

By engaging in a variety of drills, shooters can effectively monitor their advancement, fine-tune their techniques, and consistently push the boundaries of their capabilities. This methodical approach to training ensures that every session at the range is a step towards becoming a more proficient and adaptable marksman.

6 of the Best Rifle Drills

  1. D.O.P.E. Drill
  2. 50M Carbine Marksmanship
  3. 200M Carbine Marksmanship
  4. Man Card Drill
  5. 1-Reload-1 Drill
  6. Throttle Control Rifle Drill

Before you can run these drills, you need to have your AR-15 zeroed properly, otherwise, you’re wasting your time and ammo. 

For combat-effective accuracy, the two best types of zero are the 25/300 zero and the 50/200 zero.

Let’s start with the 25/300. This is a great option if you’re going to be shooting at distance more often than not. If you’re going to be engaging targets out to 300 or even 500 yards, then this is the zero you want. If you’re using an optic with a BDC reticle, this is the better option for that too.

If you’re more concerned with closer engagements and want a quick point-and-shoot from the muzzle to 200 yards, then the 50/200 zero is your best bet. With this option, you’re impacting point of aim/point of impact from the muzzle out to 200 yards. The spread across those distances is roughly 2 inches. Because the spread is so minimal, there is no need to use a BDC reticle; all you need is a good red dot paired with a magnifier (a magnifier helps with target ID out past 100 yards).

Best Rifle Drills For The Range and Tactical Training

D.O.P.E. Drill

The D.O.P.E. (Data on Previous Engagement) Drill is a 25-round course of fire designed to enhance shooting accuracy and consistency. This drill is especially useful for law enforcement and military personnel aiming to perfect their carbine fundamentals. It involves firing at a target, the AHT Diagnostics Target, from various distances to receive immediate feedback through shot splits relative to distance.

This feedback helps operators self-diagnose weaknesses and adjust accordingly. Essential elements for the drill include an AHT Diagnostics Target, distance markings, a suitable weapon (rifle or pistol), a 25-round magazine, and a par or shot timer. The main objective is to achieve 100% A-zone accountability from different distances, emphasizing rapid, accurate shots to improve cold performance on demand.

50M Carbine Marksmanship

This drill focuses on enhancing the shooter’s accuracy and precision with a carbine at a distance of 50 meters. It involves engaging targets to achieve tight groupings. The 50 Meter Marksmanship drill is beneficial for solidifying the fundamentals of marksmanship, including sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control, providing a strong foundation for more advanced shooting skills.

200M Carbine Marksmanship

Aimed at challenging the shooter’s precision and control, this drill involves engaging targets at a longer range of 200 meters. It tests the shooter’s ability to accurately estimate distances, adjust for environmental factors, and maintain control over their weapon system. This drill is ideal for developing long-range shooting skills and enhancing overall accuracy with a carbine.

Man Card Drill

The “Man Card” Drill earns its place among the best rifle drills to practice at the range due to its rigorous standards that challenge shooters to perform under pressure, simulating a high-stress environment. This drill, encompassing both rifle and pistol components, demands precision and speed, with a series of tasks including shooting from various positions and transitioning between firearms within tight time constraints.

Designed for cold shooters to demonstrate first-round accountability, the drill emphasizes the importance of sound fundamentals and proficiency. At a distance of 25 yards, participants target the C-zone of a steel or IPSC target, with success hinging on strict adherence to par times and accuracy requirements. This drill not only tests shooters’ capabilities but also highlights areas for improvement, offering a realistic benchmark for those aiming to enhance their shooting under stress, akin to real-life scenarios.

1-Reload-1 Drill

The 1-Reload-1 drill is centered around enhancing the shooter’s reloading efficiency under time pressure. The sequence involves firing one shot, performing a speedy magazine change, and then firing another shot.

This drill is crucial for improving weapon handling skills, particularly the ability to perform fast and efficient reloads. It also incorporates accuracy elements, as the shooter must ensure that both shots are on target, making it an excellent exercise for combining speed, precision, and weapon manipulation skills.

Throttle Control Rifle Drill

This drill is designed to teach shooters how to adjust their firing speed based on the size of the target, thereby improving the relationship between shooting speed, accuracy, and target size. Starting from either a high or low-ready position, shooters engage three vertically aligned targets at varying distances (typically between 7 to 15 yards).

The targets vary in size, usually a small (3-inch), medium (6-inch), and large (9-inch) circle, requiring the shooter to modulate the speed of their shots according to each target’s size. The drill emphasizes the ability to quickly transition between targets of different sizes, making precise shots on smaller targets while maintaining the capability to speed up for larger ones. It’s an excellent practice for mastering throttle control—knowing when to speed up or slow down shooting based on target acquisition and accuracy demands.

Head over to the Tac-Skills store now to find all the range gear you need to tackle these drills and qualifications