The Werner 5x5 | Skills and Drills

5x5 shooting drill

There is a wide variety of drills we can work on to improve our shooting ability. With an ever increasing number, it can be difficult to find a good starting point, both for new shooters and the more experienced. When I first started shooting with specific time and accuracy standards, I came across the 5x5 thanks to Chris over at Lucky Gunner. The 5x5 is a fairly simple drill that works on most any range. With a low round count, sparse gear requirements, and a relatively short distance, I believe the 5x5 is a perfect starting point for shooters.

Setting Up the Drill

Setting up the 5x5 is extremely simple. You'll need one target, which is a 5-inch circle of some sort. I like to use >>THIS<< target from Lucky Gunner, which fits on one 8.5x11 sheet of printer paper. This is set up at a single distance of five yards. Shooters need five rounds of ammunition, and a shot timer to measure their par times. The 5x5 is shot from low ready, so no holsters are required. To show consistency, repeat the drill five times.

Scoring the 5x5

Scoring is even more simplistic on the 5x5 than the setup. All rounds must be kept inside the 5-inch circle to pass. Line breaks count towards passing, and hits anywhere in the circle are scored the same. The par time is five seconds, meaning all rounds must be fired in five seconds or less. Anything fired over this par time is not counted, and results in a failure. If you struggle, I suggest upping the par time until you can keep everything in the circle. From there, slowly lower the time standard, usually by 0.25-0.50 second increments.

Firing the Drill

Place your target at five yards. Load a magazine into your pistol, chamber a round, then begin at low ready, facing the target. On the beep, raise your pistol and fire five rounds into your 5-inch circle.

For those looking for more of a challenge, shorten the par time. Another option is to add rounds while keeping the par time at 5 seconds. With either method, maintain the same accuracy requirements. If your range allows it, try drawing from the holster to add a bit more practicality to your practice.

Results on the 5x5

Recently I had a student of mine give the 5x5 a try. They are a fairly proficient shooter, though speed is something that they spend less effort on than overall accuracy. They've passed the FBI qual on multiple occasions, but I thought we'd change things up a little bit with the deceptively simple 5x5.

drills and skills 5x5
A student's recent attempt at the 5x5

In two runs, my student managed a 50% success rate. On their second run the shooter dropped a single round out of the circle, resulting in a failure. This came as a bit of a surprise to both of us, considering some of the feats they've recently accomplished. That said, this perfectly illustrates the the nature of the 5x5. While I consider this a "beginner's" drill, it can occasionally sneak up on even more skilled shooters.

Final Thoughts on the Werner 5x5

Overall, the 5x5 is an awesome drill both for new shooters, and those with a little more experience. The 5-inch scoring zone is more demanding than most targets, and the par time can be challenging for those not familiar with time restrictions. Shooters can easily customize the drill to add or remove difficulty to help build different skills. If you haven't given the 5x5 a try, I suggest adding to the roster for your next range trip.

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About Daniel Reedy 365 Articles
Daniel holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has received training from Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, and Steve Fisher among others. He also has experience competing in USPSA, CAS, 3 Gun, and Steel Challenge. In his free time Daniel enjoys petting puppies and reading the Constitution. His work is also published by AmmoLand, Recoil Concealment, and Air Force Times. Daniel has also written and edited for The Kommando Blog.


  1. I make targets for this drill tracing around an old CD with a Sharpie on printer paper. Scan it & print or go to a copier and you have an unlimited supply of cheap targets.
    Claude’s 5^5 drill is 5 secs., 5 shots,@5 yds., 5 times in a row, into 5”. Reliability matters. Try it with a J- frame. It can be humbling.

    • It definitely took me by surprise the first time I shot it years ago. I see a lot of people talk a big game then come up short on the range with it. It's a great test for sure.

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