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Mastering precision and speed: The clock drill challenge for unmatched shooting skills

Think you have what it takes? Even seasoned shooters will find this drill tests their limits

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In the world of shooting drills, the clock drill stands out as a unique test of precision, speed and mental agility.

Designed to simulate the pressure of making quick decisions under stress, this drill challenges shooters to identify and hit targets represented by the minutes and hours on a clock face. With each command, participants must draw their weapon and fire at the specific time announced, all while a shot timer adds the illusion of urgency without setting a strict time limit.

This begins with competitors facing away from their targets, forcing them to turn and quickly ascertain the correct “time” before taking their shots. After firing, they have the option to manage their ammunition, perform a scanning procedure and holster their weapon with caution — mirroring real-world tactical scenarios.

The clock drill is adaptable, starting at 3 yards to accommodate beginners, but it can be scaled up to challenge even the most proficient shooters, with 5 yards presenting a significant test of skill. This scalability ensures that the drill remains relevant and challenging as shooters improve. The practice concludes with a scoring session, where participants mark their hits as indicated by the instructor, reinforcing the importance of accuracy and adherence to commands.

A notable aspect of this drill is the absence of numbered targets, compelling shooters to differentiate their intended “time” from a cluster of similar-looking options. This critical detail emphasizes the importance of target identification, a vital skill in both competitive shooting and tactical situations. Instructors are advised to pre-determine the sequence of times called out for each round, enabling a structured approach that allows both shooters and trainers to precisely measure performance and progress.

This innovative approach not only hones a shooter’s ability to hit a target accurately but also improves their cognitive processing speed, decision-making under duress and overall situational awareness.

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Training should include strong and support hand practice of skills including drawing from the holster, shooting, reloading and malfunction clearance

Todd Fletcher is the owner and lead instructor for Combative Firearms Training, LLC providing training for law enforcement firearms instructors from coast to coast. He has over 25 years of training experience as a firearms and defensive tactics instructor. He retired after more than 25 years as a full-time police officer and over 31 years of law enforcement experience.

Todd is a member of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). He is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and was selected as the 2022 ILEETA Trainer-of-the-Year. He is also a member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) and won the 2023 IALEFI Top Gun Award. He can be reached at