Variations On Drills Part 1 | Pistol Power Drills

“Variations On Drills Part 1”

What’s Old Is New Again.

This week’s Pistol Power Drills is a bit different, as we will be covering variations on drills we’ve already done. Here, we’ll be going over different versions of The Test. Meet the Strong Hand Only Weak Hand Only Test, the Half Test, and the Super Test.

Rundown Of Strong Hand Only Weak Hand Only Test

Starting off, lets get into the Strong Hand Only Weak Hand Only Test (SHOWHO Test). SHOWHO is still shot using the NRA B8 target, however, there are now two strings of fire, not one. The first string of fire is done at ten yards, with a ten-second par. Five rounds are fired using your primary hand only, either from the holster or from low ready. For the second string of fire, you repeat the first string, but use your support hand only, and shoot from low ready. Scoring is done the same as The Test, passing being ninety points and higher, or all hits in the black of the B8.

An example of a passing SHOWHO Test score, shot with an HK P30L V1.

Rundown Of The Half Test

The Half Test is fairly simple; take The Test, and make it half the distance, and half the par time. With a par time of five seconds, at five yards, this may seem easy, but it’s not. You’ve still got to fire ten rounds, and either get them all in the black, or score above a ninety to pass. This variant is shot from the low ready, but you can shoot it from the holster for added difficulty. Five yards, five seconds, ten rounds, think you can do it?

An example of The Half Test, shot with an HK VP9, from the holster.

Rundown Of The Super Test

Lastly, and definitely not least, The Super Test. The Super Test is a combination of The Test, The Half Test, and something else. This variation is shot in three strings, at fifteen, ten, and five yards, with par times that match the distance. At fifteen yards, fifteen seconds, at ten, ten seconds, and at five, five seconds. The B8 target is still used, and it’s still shot with ten rounds for each string. So three stings of fire, thirty rounds expended total. Passing is scoring two-hundred and seventy points. This is one of the hardest variations of The Test, as it is comprised of both The Test, and The Half Test.

Super Test, with a score of 284/300.

What To Pack In The Range Bag

One of the fantastic things about The Test, and variants of it, is that they all use the same target. The B8 is one of my favorite targets, as it is so adaptable for many drills. You’ll want to pack a stack of B8s in your bag, along with a shot timer. If you choose to shoot these variations from the holster, make sure that your holster is of good quality.


Tap Rack B-8 <- Printable B8 Target. Make sure to set the scale to 100%

What Is The Point Of Variations Of The Test

The Test is a drill that makes you focus on your accuracy standards, and firing cadence. You have a limited amount of time to shoot your ten rounds, and there is an acceptable level of accuracy to pass to drill. The variants listed here continue this trend, but they stress different aspects of these elements.

The SHOWHO Test stresses the importance of shooting with one hand. One handed shooting needs practice, which, in my experience, people don’t practice enough. The lack of practice will show on the SHOWHO. The par time is fairly long, so you’ve got the time to make your shots go where they need to. This is the variant that I have the most trouble with and should work on more.

The Half Test is all about cadence. As shooters, we have to know when to do the five-yard speed, and when to do the fifteen-yard speed. All too often, I’ve seen people try to blast at fifteen yards while maintaining their five-yard cadence. To paraphrase Chuck Pressburg, “Dudes can’t miss fast enough”. The Half Test is great because it makes you speed up your cadence while maintaining tight accuracy. Here, you can find your five-yard cadence, while the next variation, only reinforces it.

The Super Test combines the Half Test, and Test into a higher round count, harder variant. This is where the skill of shot cadence really comes alive. At fifteen yards, you’ve got the time to really put those rounds where you want. At ten, you’ve got to speed it up a little, and at five, you have to be quick. This is probably my favorite variant of The Test, as it combines a group of elements that are very important, into one complete package.

Pack your bag, and hit the range.

The Final Tally

The Test and its variants are favorites of mine. They stress skills that are important and use a common, printable target. Those are big pluses in my book. These variants of The Test are cemented into my practice regiment, and I’d recommend that you’d give them a try too.

About Paul Whaley 198 Articles
Paul Whaley is a guy with an interest in practical and defensive pistol shooting techniques with an eye for quality gear. He has received training from Holistic Solutions Group, John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research, Darryl Bolke, Cecil Birch, and Chuck Haggard. When not trying to become a better shooter, he can be found enjoying a Resident Evil game or listening to Warren Zevon.

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