Modern Warrior Project: Pistol and Rifle Workout

There is a little company called the Modern Warrior Project doing some big things in the tactical industry. I first found them due to their T1 Target and have followed them for quite some time. The Modern Warrior Project has since released a second target, an awesome reference guide, and now a massive report on Use of Force around the country. They post a ton of useful information on their Facebook page and they recently posted two training sessions designed to be short and sweet. One for rifles and one for pistols.

These shoots need minimal ammunition and are designed to exercise the basics of combat shooting with a handgun or rifle. The Modern Warrior Project design the rifle workout to utilize only 30 rounds and the handgun workout utilizes 50 rounds. These are designed for the Modern Warrior Targets. The T1 human target is for the handgun, and the multiple target T2 is for the rifle.

The Rifle Workout

I went with my new, and much beloved, M16A4 clone from Aero Precision. You’ll need 30 rounds, at least two magazines, and one mag pouch. I went with a belt mounted Wilder Tactical Pouch. The drills are shot at 21 feet and the use of the Multi Target T2 keeps things challenging. These different shaped targets are smaller and more challenging to hit at the short 21-foot distance.

The Drill Is As Follows

You start in a relaxed casual defensive posture. Each step of the drill has you firing one round into each of the targets. The T2 has ten smaller targets printed on it and each target will get three shots before the Workout is over. You’ll start with:

10 Side Steps 5 to the left and 5 to the Right

I simply alternated between left and right steps and fired at the target in the opposite direction of where I was stepping. It was simple but effective. This drill is partially snapshot and partially moving. It surprised me just how difficult this was to do with speed. I stepped and drove the weapon to a firing position at the same time. I quickly learned to take my time and make accurate shots rather than fast ones. Speed will come with time, but accuracy is forever.

7 Emergency Reloads

Emergency reloads are done when you are completely empty and you need to fix that… now. You disregard magazine retention and allow it to fall and reload as quickly as possible. Practicing mag reloads is something I do all the time so I felt confident and quick here. Bolt locked back on an empty magazine, reload, fire an accurate shot and you’re done.

3 Tactical Reloads

A tactical reload is done when there is a ‘lull’ in the fight and you have time to reload. If you aren’t moving you should be shooting, if you aren’t shooting you should be reloading, so on and so forth. This reload has you retaining the magazine and loading with a ‘full’ magazine. I started the 3 reloads with a round in the chamber and each magazine has one round loaded into it. This is a valuable skill for police and military shooters. The retention of magazines is critical and they can provide a refreshed source of ammo.

8 Immediate Action Malfunctions

Tap, rack, bang baby. I started with an empty chamber and with a magazine with one round loaded. Quick and simple, and very effective. Modern Warrior Project designed these for new shooters so let’s explain what tap, rack, bang is. TAP: The act of firmly striking the bottom of the magazine to assure it is locked and seated correctly to feed rounds into the gun. RACK: Running the guns action manually via the charging handle or slide to cycle out possible malfunctioned ammunition and load a fresh round from the properly seated magazine. BANG: Reacquire sights, check for continued validity of the target, and then attempting to fire if necessary.

2 Remedial Action Malfunctions

When tap rack back doesn’t work you have to make things more complicated. Attempt to place the weapon on safe, remove the magazine, retain it. Now you want to pull the bolt back to the rear and observe the chamber. If necessary lock the bolt, clear the malfunction and then reload and start firing once more. This is an invaluable drill and should be done slowly and carefully.

Modern Warrior Rifle Workout

The Modern Warrior Rifle workout is designed to be simple and easy for most shooters. It’s perfect for beginners and exercises important skills necessary for effective rifle employment. The Modern Warrior rifle workout is quick and requires very little equipment. It’s perfect for shooters of all skill levels and reinforces important skills every shooter should have.

The Modern Warrior Pistol Workout

The Modern Warrior pistol workout is also a simple set of drills designed to exercise the basics of combat handgun skills. The drill needs a box of ammo, a magazine pouch, two magazines, a T1 Target and is shot at 15 feet.

The drill starts with:

10 Draws to Full Extension

I carry concealed so I ran the drill from concealment. Drawing and firing can be tricky and should be practiced dry first. Make sure your finger stays off the trigger until the gun is on target. Draw, fire a shot to the chest, but remember not to immediately reholster. Keep your gun on target to build good habits and not training scars.

10 Side-Step Into Draws 5 left and 5 right

This is much more challenging than a standard draw and fire. You want to be able to draw and sidestep at the same time. By the time you are done moving you want your gun to be on target. Start dry and start slow. Move with a purpose, and with confidence. Practice both drawing and moving at the same time. Take your time and be accurate, speed will come with time.

6 Emergency Reloads

Start with your slide locked to the rear and go into a full presentation. Simulate firing your last round and go into an emergency reload. Let your magazine drop and reload as fast as possible, fire one round into the target. This is simple, but a lot of fun. Especially once you start seeing speed.

4 Tactical Reloads

As we talked about above the Modern Warrior Project is big on tactical reloads and they are an important skill to have. I left a round in the chamber and reloaded with 1 round in each magazine. Tactical reloads are trickier with a handgun, but here is where having big hands helped me. I pocketed the magazine to retain it. I got to a full presentation and fired a round to end the drill.

8 Immediate Action Drills

Simple and easy. This is a tap rack bang drill with a handgun. I kept one round in the magazine and the chamber empty.

2 Remedial Action Drills

This is when Tap Rack Bang doesn’t work. It’s simple enough and all you need to do is eject the magazine, retain it, and clear the chamber. Reinsert the magazine, chamber a round, and get to shooting once more.

5 Headshots and 5 Pelvic Area shots.

This is a fun way to end the drill and is simple enough. Fire 5 rounds into the respective areas. I practiced being as accurate as possible, producing the smallest possible group.

The Modern Warrior Workout: Comments

The pistol is similar to the rifle in many respects. It exercises safety and the basics when it comes to gun handling. It’s challenging, but fun and exercises a variety of essentials. Both workouts are quick and easy to do. Their focus on fundamentals makes them accessible for shooters both new and experienced. They are a quick and simple plan that makes efficient use of your range time, especially when time and ammo are short. They also highlight what you can work on, which is critical for continued skill development.

It’s also something you can do on a budget. I keep a 300 Blackout upper around and ammo is pricey for it, but I can get a 30 round workout and learn something without breaking the bank.

That’s why workout is such a good name for them. It expresses what these drills are in an easy to digest manner most people can relate to activities outside of guns. They are also tiresome. Maybe it was just because it’s May in Florida and it’s already in the 90s temperature wise with 75% humidity.

Doing both drills left me drenched in sweat and in many ways whipped. Not so much that I was physically tired, but mentally I felt spent. Moving from vastly different drills with two platforms in a short period of time had my mind running. It’s an interesting dynamic if you can practice both workouts in the same day.

They are effective, simple, and efficient. At the end of the day that is a winning combination.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.