The Bill Drill………

Depending on which luminary of modern shooting you speak to, the Bill Drill either came from Bill Wilson, or Bill Rogers.

It was a simple drill, shot on a timer.  Six shots from the holster into an eight inch circle from seven yards.  All shots must remain in the eight inch circle.  It is also shot on the IPSC target and considered clean if all shots remain in the “A” box.

Today it is still a mainstay in my personal training, and a drill I use a lot in teaching.  The reason I like the Bill Drill so well is because it tests many things at speed.  It tests the draw, driving the gun on target efficiently, and breaking six smooth shots at speed.  A shooter can cheat their way through the draw, and muscle the gun, slapping the trigger through a couple of shots but not through six with any kind of reliability.  That is why I love this drill so.

The time hack with a service pistol at seven yards should be in the neighborhood of 2.0-2.5 seconds or better.  I have witnessed some really talented shooters flirt with 1.5 seconds.  My best Bill Drill with a service pistol (M&P 9mm with Apex Tactical goodies installed) was a 1.69 second run clean.  I executed everything at the limit to which I could.  I do realize it was a fluke as I average in the 1.8-2.0 seconds neighborhood on a given day.

We shoot the Bill Drill from seven yards out to 50 yards with the pistol and rifle, adjusting the time hack as the distance increases.  The important part is keeping the drill “clean”, meaning all rounds in the scoring area.

Some tips that help me to shoot a good Bill Drill-

“Explode” to the holster- On the “B” in the “BEEP” of the timer get down and get your master grip as fast as possible.

On the push out, efficiently run the trigger on the way to the target so the gun goes BANG at full extension, or slightly before.  (Note- if a shooter has not practiced running the trigger on the way to the target before, I recommend in getting some instruction from a competent instructor before they try it.  Starting the trigger stroke too early can lead to bad things happening when they start pushing themselves)

Drive the sights to a specific spot in the “A” box on the first shot, and bring them back to a specific spot between shots.  As bad as I hate Hollywood at times for their tactics and gun handling, “Aim small, miss small” from the movie The Patriot is sage advice.  I’d take it one step further to “Aim small, hit small”.  If you try to drive your sights to a specific spot, and either stop short OR have a trigger control error, it is usually recoverable if you spot shoot.

Set a time goal.  If you can only shoot a 2.75, work on your gun handling by setting a small goal of shooting the drill clean in 2.7.  Then work on shooting it in 2.65.  And so on.  Setting small incremental goals will add up over a short period of training time.

Have fun.  You can burn through a lot of ammo in an afternoon.  Aside from the expense, spending a bad afternoon shooting Bill Drills with a service pistol, or rifle, is still better than a good day at the office.

Above is why I shoot and advocate the Bill Drill.  It has stood the test of time.



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About Jerry Jones

Jerry Jones has been a Sheriff's Deputy in Kentucky since 1996. Jerry is currently assigned as a patrol deputy, firearms instructor and senior operator/training supervisor with a multi jurisdictional tactical team. Jerry is Kentucky POST certified to teach firearms, SWAT, and sniper operations and deployment at the Academy level. Jerry is also the President/CEO of Operation Specific Training and the Law Enforcement Representative for Apex Tactical Specialties.

5 thoughts on “The Bill Drill………

  1. one of the things I need to work on (and will be the focus of a class I will be attending next year) is to work on my speed. I come from a long traditional bullseye shooting background and find accuracy so ingrained in my mind I can’t seem to get to the point of sacrificing a little accuracy to increase my speed.
    My bill drill at 7 yards probably takes me 3.5 seconds or so, but the result is one ratty big hole in the center of the a zone- in reality if my speed was much better but my group was the size shown on targets here would the result on a living adversary from a wounding potential point of view be any different -I think not.

  2. Pingback: Perfect Practice Makes—As Perfect As You Can Be? | COMMON SENSE TACTICAL AND PRACTICAL

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