How To Test Your Defensive Handgun Skills With Just NINE Bullets (The 3M Test)

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    Recently, I completed the Rangemaster Firearm Instructor Development Course out in Texas and I picked up a really neat drill that I want to share with you today.

    It only takes 9 rounds of ammo and it tests just about every defensive handgun skill that you might possibly need.

    To quote Tom Givens, the designer of the drill, it tests “… movement off the line of force, rapid presentation from concealment, accurate placement of multiple fast shots, a malfunction remedy, and an empty gun reload, all under time pressure. It only requires nine rounds, one target, and a timer or stopwatch to test/measure all of these skills.”

    I was really impressed with it when I was introduced to the drill, but then forgot to record the details (there was not a lot of downtime in that class). Luckily, I ran into it again online so I wanna share it with you now.

    Try this one out the next time you go shooting and post your times to the comments!

    Tom Givens recently posted an entire description of the drill to his (excellent)Rangemaster newsletter. I’m re-posting it here for you

    THE 3M TEST (Marksmanship, Movement, Manipulations)

    SETUP:

    Distance: 5 Yards

    Target:  RM-Q (scored 5/3), or a VSRT (scored 5/4/3), or an IDPA target (scored 5/3/0) for the Comstock Count version. If pass/fail scoring, only the highest value hit zone counts

    SCORING:

    Pass/Fail Scoring:

    The shooter fails if he/she:

    ** Does not move on the draw, the malfunction, and the reload
    ** Does not tap the magazine before running the slide on the malfunction
    ** Places a single hit outside the highest scoring zone on the target.

    Time limit is 15 seconds for a Combative Pistol student and 12 seconds for instructors.

    Comstock Count Scoring:

    Total Points Possible = 45 points
    Points Divided by Time = Index
    Index Multiplied by 30 = Score

    Example:

    42 points, fired in 12.15 seconds
    ———
    42 ÷ 12.15 = 3.46 (Index)
    3.46 x 30 = 103.8 (Score)
    Par Score = 100

    Any score over 100 (par) is very good work. Anything over 125 is extremely high skill.

    DESCRIPTION:

    For many years, Larry Nichols was the Rangemaster of the Burbank, California, police department. He devised the original, simpler version of this drill. He showed it to John Farnam probably 30 years ago, and John modified it to fit his curriculum. John showed his version to me 20 years ago, and I made changes to fit my curriculum. This is the version we currently use.

    One silhouette target, at 5 yards. For our purposes, we will use an RM-Q (scored 5/3), or a VSRT (scored 5/4/3), or an IDPA target (scored 5/3/0) for the Comstock Count version. If pass/fail scoring, only the highest value hit zone counts.

    Shooter starts with handgun loaded with six live rounds (one in chamber, five in magazine) and one dummy round in the magazine. Dummy is not the top round nor the bottom round in the magazine.

    Someone else should load the magazine so the shooter does not know where in the magazine the dummy round lies.

    Shooter starts holstered, hands in interview stance. On signal, side step, draw, and fire until a malfunction occurs. On the malfunction, side step, fix it, and continue to fire. When the gun runs empty, side step, perform an emergency reload, and fire 3 additional shots.

    The shooter must move on the draw, move on the malfunction, and move on the reload. There is a ten-point penalty for any shot that misses the target on Comstock scoring. For pass/fail scoring, any round outside the highest value zone is a failure.

    This drill tests movement off the line of force, rapid presentation from concealment, accurate placement of multiple fast shots, a malfunction remedy, and an empty gun reload, all under time pressure. It only requires nine rounds, one target, and a timer or stopwatch to test/measure all of these skills.

    This drill is not intended to be shot over and over, trying to get an impressive score. I use this drill as a skill check, shot totally cold, at the beginning of a practice session. If you can pass this, or score above 125 on Comstock, on demand, you are probably an adequate defensive shooter.

    Give This Drill A Shot And Post Your Times To The Comments!

    If I recall correctly, we ran this drill using the PASS/FAIL scoring.

    I have to look at my notes to see if I recorded my time. I want to say that Tom ran it around 8 seconds or so …

    You do it and send me your score and I’ll try and do it again the next time I’m at the range.

     

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    Caleb
    Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.

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