Live-Fire Drill: BLake DRILL

The “Blake” drill is a drill that takes its name from Blake Miguez. This isn’t because he invented the drill, it is because the drill was invented so people could emulate his shooting. Blake is known for extremely fast target transitions and fast hosing.

In any event, this drill is supposed to help you develop that blazing speed across the targets.

The procedure for the drill is to draw and fire two rounds on each target. The interesting thing is that the goal time is the same as the “bill drill” goal time. So, from seven yards you still have the two second goal time, even though you are splitting your shots across three targets and not dumping them into one.

The standard distance for this drill is the seven yard line. From there, I think two seconds is a very reasonable goal time. That breaks down into a one second draw and then five splits in the remaining second. This should sound exactly like a bill drill.

The way I personally learned to shoot this drill and the way I still practice it today is that I force myself to fire the shots in the target time and then focus on getting the gun from one target to the next. Essentially, I program my trigger finger to shoot .20 splits and then just force myself to get the gun to the next target before it goes off again. Obviously, this would be a stupid thing to do in a competition, but as a training exercise it is valuable. It reminds me of the footage I have seen of Olympic swimmers in a pool being pulled along by a machine. The device motors them through the pool at a faster speed than they could ever swim, but in the process they learn about how to position their bodies and get through the water more efficiently. I think the same idea can work for shooters. By forcing yourself to make that goal time, you learn to drive the gun quickly from target to target.

In any event, as you work the drill, you will probably find that the problem isn’t squirting bullets at the targets quickly, it is getting “A” hits. In order to make this happen, I have found you need to do a few things right.

First, you need to get a good grip on your pistol. If you have a nice consistent grip, the gun will aim wherever you look, especially at the close ranges that this drill is intended for. If you miss your grip on the pistol it will likely end up pointing slightly in the wrong direction. If you bring the pistol up to eye level and you see the front sight isn’t sitting in the notch, you probably missed your grip. This is essentially an issue that is most easily fixed during dry practice. It is almost a waste of bullets to come out and bang on this drill when it relies so heavily on your “index” (ability to look to a spot and have the sights show up in alignment on that spot).

Another common issue is to “drag” the gun off the target you are currently shooting or “dragging” rounds onto the target you are transitioning to. If you start going fast, this simply will happen. Ideally, your gun should go to the center of the target and then stop, then move quickly to the center of the next target, and then stop again. If you try to “sweep” the targets, as in keep the gun moving and pull the trigger the whole time, you are likely to get some bad hits, especially on the center target.

When you make mistakes like this, just understand that slowing down probably isn’t going to be the ticket to improvement. The Blake Drill is designed to help you learn to transition the gun aggressively between targets. Mistakes will happen. If you just shoot the drill at your comfortable pace, you probably aren’t learning anything.

During classes, shooters frequently have trouble with this drill. They make the aforementioned mistakes frequently. The thing to remember here is that you can learn a lot shooting this drill, but the most important thing to learn is how to drive your eyes to the exact spot on the target where you want the gun to go. You can accomplish this quickly with some practice. A couple hundredths of a second between targets is very achievable on this drill and you will need to do it if you want to have any hope of hitting that two second goal time at seven yards.

One note on this drill, since it is a target transition drill, it is made difficult by adding in degrees of swing between the targets. I don’t think it makes a great deal of sense to shoot this drill from long distance, because with the targets only separated by one yard, there isn’t really any swinging that needs to be done between targets. I wouldn’t bother shooting this drill past about 15 yards. However, in any case the goal time is the same as the “bill drill” goal time.

This Drill is from “Skills and Drills”