The Modern Samurai Project Standards

T​he Modern Samurai Project Standards are a straightforward test of your shooting ability. High performance on these standards shows a high level of shooting skill, and a fast draw. Today we’re going to take a look at the standards, and the different levels of skill required.

T​o understand the Modern Samurai Project Standards, we have to understand where they came from, and that’s the mind of Scott Jedlinski, the owner of Modern Samurai Project (MSP). Scott is a lifelong martial artist, USPSA Master Class shooter, FAST Coin holder, and all around good dude. He created the MSP Standards as a way to benchmark students in his classes against certain baseline measurements.

T​he Modern Samurai Project Standards are composed of four tests of shooting skill. The rules are simple: four drills must be shot in order, with certain par times in an MSP class to earn a Black Belt patch. As of this writing there are 8 Black Belt Patch holders, making the MSP Black Belt patch one of the toughest feats of marksmanship to complete. The “pure” way to run these drills is from concealment or an ALS style duty holster. Running them from a competition holster incurs a time penalty. In addition to the Black Belt patch, Scott has broken down the MSP standards into three other categories, based on the Brazilian Jujitsu belt system. There’s blue belt, purple belt, brown belt, and of course the aforementioned black belt.

First up is the 3×2 drill, which on the surface seems simple. Draw, fire 3 shots to the body and 2 head shots at 3 yards. The par time to beat for a black belt patch is 2 seconds, and let me tell you that is no joke. It’s easy on this drill to go too fast because you’re so close to the target and end up missing one of the body shots, or worse miss a head shot. I tend to miss the head shots because I’m rushing the transition to the head box.

N​ext on the Modern Samurai Project Standards we move to 7 yards, and fire one shot to the center mass of the target. Black belts have to do this under 1 second. A 1 second first shot from 7 yards is sort of the gold standard for a concealment draw, and no matter how hard I battle I’ve never been able to consistently hit that number. It’s a shame, because a “slow” draw makes the next drill even more difficult: the Instagram famous Bill Drill. Draw and fire six shots, that’s it. Black belts don’t get a lot of time, they have to be under 2 seconds.

Last, we move to 25 yards, and fire one shot center of mass. 1.5 seconds is the par time on this stage of the Modern Samurai Project standards, and that’s no joke. Lots of people can’t even hit a center or mass hit at 25 yards with no time limit, much less with the tight times that the MSP Black Belt patch requires.

Before you get bummed out that you’ll never be able to hit these standards, here are the rest of the breakdowns for the drills.

Blue Belt: 3 second 3×2, 1.5 second 7 yard 1 shot, 3 second Bill Drill, 2.25 second 25 yard 1 shot Purple Belt: 2.5 second 3×2, 1.3 second 7 yard 1 shot, 2.5 second Bill Drill, 2 second 25 yard 1 shot Brown Belt: 2.15 second 3×2, 1.1 second 7 yard 1 shot, 2.15 second Bill Drill, 1.65 second 25 yard 1 shot

Take a look at those numbers, and see where you fall. If you don’t know, maybe it’s time to buy a shot timer, take some training, and find out where your skill level is actually at? Because the real point of the MSP Standards is being able to measure performance on demand. What can you do when the chips are down and you have to perform? The only way to find out…is to put yourself to the test.