I am always looking for new drills to use on the range. I recently tried a “Walk Back Drill” and found it to be challenging and valuable (as any good drill should be). Too often, we tend to choose drills that we are good at instead of drills that humble and challenge us. Walk Back Drills can definitely humble and challenge a shooter. I have found that a walk back drill can be a great way to wind down a day on the range.
Walk Back Drills come in all shapes and sizes but the basic premise is that the shooter starts close to the target and then moves incrementally further from the target with each subsequent part of the drill. The goal is to reach your failure point, which is the point at which you can no longer hit your target. The shooting is generally done off hand. For instance, a shooter might staple an index card to a target backer and shoot with the goal of hitting the index card from 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, and so on (this is well suited for indoor ranges). The shooter might shoot at a 12″ steel gong at 50 yards with a rifle and move back 25 yards with each shot.
One of my favorite ways to wind down a long handgun training session is to do a Walk Back Drill with a pepper popper or reduced size steel silhouette. I start at 25 yards and walk back 5 or 10 yards after each hit. This is similar to a “dot torture/death by dot drill” in that it will force you to really work on the fundamentals of sight alignment and trigger control. It also has the added benefit of teaching you a lot about your ability to use a handgun at extended distances, the relationship of your sights and point of impact at extended distances, and just how well your sights are regulated. Eventually, the target will appear to be far smaller than your front sight but you will find that hits are still attainable. You might be surprised at your ability to hit with handgun at ranges of 100 yards and further.
Walk Back Drills can also be adapted a number of ways to add pressure. You can shoot for speed against another shooter – the first hit wins (it helps to have a “judge” who isn’t shooting or use pepper poppers). You can use par times so that you are shooting against the clock. The drill can also be adapted to large groups by having everyone start at the initial yard line. Anyone who gets a hit moves on and anyone who misses is out of the competition. The group keeps moving back until only one shooter remains.
So next time you are at the range, consider winding up your day with a Walk Back Drill. You will get a chance to work on the fundamentals and you will learn a lot about your skills and gear.