Pistol Training Series: Wilson Combat 5×5 drill (VIDEO)

Responsible armed citizens must hold themselves to a high standard of proficiency with firearms. Testing skills and pushing for improvement should be a top priority when training. So an essential part of each practice session should include a drill that pushes abilities to the limit and help identify areas that need improvement.

One such drill is the Wilson Combat 5×5 Skills Test. Designed by Bill Wilson, founder of gun maker Wilson Combat, the drill tests the fundamentals of pistol shooting: trigger control, speed, accuracy, recoil management, strong hand shooting and reloads.

Using an IDPA target and a “service caliber” (9mm or larger) pistol, the drill involves three strings of five rounds each, one string of 10 rounds and is shot at a distance of 10 yards. All hits must be in the “-0” or center of the target and each miss incurs a 0.5 second penalty. The drill is shot as follows:

  • String 1: Draw and engage target with five rounds using two hands
  • String 2: Draw and engage target with five rounds, using only your strong hand
  • String 3: Draw and engage target with five rounds, reload from slide lock and re-engage target with five more rounds using two hands
  • String 4: Draw and engage target with four rounds to the body and one round to the head using two hands

To score, Wilson identified a ranking system for the 5×5 drill to help set a benchmark for performance. The ranks are as follow:

  • Grand master: 0 – 15 seconds
  • Master: 16 – 20 seconds
  • Expert: 21 – 25 seconds
  • Sharpshooter: 26 – 32 seconds
  • Marksman: 33 – 41 seconds
  • Novice: 42 – 50 seconds
  • Over 50 Seconds: Not proficient enough to carry a gun

The Wilson Combat 5×5 Skills test is a great way to gauge where you are as a defensive shooter. It incorporates most of the essential skills you need to hone to be proficient with a handgun and keeps the round count relatively low. It’s easy to set up easy to score and the strict accuracy standards force us to perform at our best. Definitely a worthwhile addition to any shooters training regimen.

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