I was browsing YouTube one day, looking for more shooting drills to try out. I stumbled upon Tom Givens' channel, and found the Rangemaster Baseline Assessment Drill. This drill looked appealing, so I bookmarked it, and gave it a try. I enjoy low round count drills that stress skills well, so this was eye catching. What is the Baseline Assessment Drill, and what skills do you build using it?
What Is the Rangemaster Baseline Assessment Drill?
Rangemaster Firearms Training Services LLC is a traveling training organization. Founded in 1996 by Tom Givens, Rangemaster has taught thousands of students over the years. Dan has taken three courses from them, the Instructor Development Course, the Advanced Instructor Course, and the Master Instructor Course.
The Baseline Assessment Drill (B.A.D., unfortunate acronym) is a 20 round drill, devised to check skill with a lower round count. It's shot on a single B-8 target, or an equivalent target. You'll need a handgun, a concealment holster, and a timer. This drill features a reload, so you may want a mag pouch, however, I know a lot of folks carry their spares in a pant pocket.
We've got 5 strings of fire in the B.A.D., at 3 different distances:
- Shooter begins holstered at 5 yards. On beep, shooter draws and fires 5 rounds freestyle into the target. Par time of 5 seconds
- Shooter starts from ready at 5 yards, and fires 3 rounds into the target, dominant hand only. Par time of 3 seconds.
- Same as before, except we are shooting only 2 rounds, non-dominant hand only. Par time of 3 seconds.
- Shooter moves back to 7 yards, and ensures that they have 3 rounds loaded into their pistol. Shooter begins at ready, and on beep, fires 3 rounds into the target, performs a slide lock reload, and fires 3 more rounds into target. Par time of 10 seconds.
- Shooter moves back to 10 yards, and begins at ready. On beep, shooter fires 4 rounds freestyle into the target. Par time of 4 seconds.
After the 5th string of fire, the drill is concluded. Scoring is simple, as passing is a score of 190/200 or higher, and shot under par time.
What's the TL;DR?
The Quick Rundown
THE RANGEMASTER BASELINE ASSESSMENT DRILL
- Necessary Gear: Quality conceal carry holster and shot timer. There is a reload in the B.A.D., so you may want a magazine pouch.
- Target: NRA B-8 Repair Center, or a comparable target.
- Distance: Shot at 5, 7, and 10 yards.
- Start Position: Shooting begins with the gun holstered and loaded, with hands at side for first string of fire. Every subsequent course of fire has shooting beginning at ready position.
- Round Count: 20 rounds total fired. Shooter to have at least two magazines on them, as one string of fire features a slide lock reload.
- Course of Fire: There are 5 strings of fire in the B.A.D.
- Shooter to begin with gun holstered, at 5 yards. On timer beep, shooter draws, and fires 5 rounds freestyle into B-8. Par time of 5 seconds.
- Shooter to begin with gun at ready, held in dominant hand, at 5 yards. On beep, shooter fires 3 rounds into B-8. Par time of 3 seconds.
- Similar to the prior string, shooter begins at ready, but with gun held in non-dominant hand. On beep, shooter fires 2 rounds into B-8. Par time of 3 seconds.
- Shooter moves to 7 yards, and begins with gun loaded with 3 rounds, at ready. On beep, shooter fires 3 rounds into B-8, performs a slide lock reload, then fires 3 more rounds into B-8. Par time of 10 seconds.
- Shooter moves to 10 yards, and assumes ready position. On beep, shooter fires 4 rounds freestyle into the B-8 target. Par time of 4 seconds.
- Scoring: Passing score is to shoot the B.A.D. under par time, and with a cumulative score of 190 or higher.
Here's an example of a recent Baseline Assessment Drill that I shot:
What Skills Does the Rangemaster Baseline Assessment Drill Stress?
The B.A.D. stresses the following skills:
- A good drawstroke and presentation
- Accurate hits under the stress of time
- One handed shooting, both dominant and non-dominant hand only
- Reloading under a time restraint
- Accurate hits out to slightly medium distance
With the first string of fire, we are testing our draw, presentation, and 3 handgun shooting fundamentals. 5 rounds at 5 yards in 5 seconds might not seem difficult, but we're trying to shoot a perfect score here. We can't take forever, but we can't rush it and toss a shot either.
With the second and third strings, we are working on one handed, and off-handed shooting. This is one of the skills that most people tend to sleep on, but it is important. There are a million instances where you may need to take a one handed shot, and this drill makes you test that out.
On the fourth string , we are getting the fundamentals of shooting in again, but with factoring in a reload. Much like previous drills I've covered, when you factor in a timed reload, this is where you see the wheels come off. Maybe you find out that the snazzy mag carrier sucks, or that your magwell is hard to quickly cram mags into. Once we reload, we've got to have 3 more accurate shots, so we get to work in target reacquisition.
For the final string, it's all about accuracy and speed. 10 yard shooting isn't that far, but when you are trying to be precise, every extra yard starts to add up.
I think that for 20 rounds, this is an excellent value to shoot.
What I Like About the Rangemaster Baseline Assessment Drill
For me, this drill is not an exceptionally hard one to shoot. I've been pretty hardcore into handgun shooting over the last few years, and have really grown as a shooter. However, this drill is meant to be a baseline qualifier, and to test important handgun skills with a low round count. With that, I really enjoy this drill. Even though ammo prices have dipped a bit, it still isn't like the pre-COVID days with $.15 CPR 9mm. A drill that can integrate in a wide range of shooting with just 2/5 of a box of ammo is pretty great, and I can dig that.
The B.A.D. is intended to show you what you need to work on. If you lack skill in one of the areas of the drill, you'll find out when shooting it. With that, you can then go practice more on that specific chunk. For me, I know I could always work on non-dominant handed shooting, and this drill gets me to practice it more.
Tom's idea for this drill is that you shoot it every so often, to see how you've improved, or to see where you need to improve. This isn't meant to be shot consecutively, as that loses the point of it being a baseline or benchmark drill. I also appreciate that, as I've been trying to vary what drills I shoot, to make sure I'm not just drilling what I've already gotten great at. I would say that this drill is excellent for people that have broken past the "beginner" phase of handgun shooting, and are working up to, or past the "advanced" phase. All in all, I dig the Rangemaster Baseline Assessment Drill.
Other Shooting Drills & Additional Info
Check out our other shooting drills >>>here<<<.
For specific drills that I enjoy, check out the "Devil Drill" and the "Wilson Combat Comprehensive Handgun Proficiency Drill". These two drills are also fairly low round count, but work your skills quite well.
For other Rangemaster drills, Dan covered the Bullseye Course last year.