Distance Changeup

Improve throttle control to engage targets at varying distances.

What is the Distance Changeup Drill?

It is a common mistake for shooters to engage targets of any size or distance with the same rate of fire, especially when targets are in a mixed array. Treating all targets the same will have you shoot too slow and over accurate or too fast and generate misses. It is important to shoot your sights on each target as quickly as is accurate for each target difficulty – this is often called throttle control.

The Distance Changeup drill focuses on throttle control, mixing a far small target in with large close targets. Close, far, close targets will change the splits speed – pay attention to your sights on target and break the shot as fast as you can see your sights on target.

Ben Stoeger explaining the Distance Changeup Drill
How to Setup

Drill Setup

  • 2 Targets at 5 yards with 2 yards between them. 1 headbox only target between the two at 15 yards
  • Start position: handgun loaded and holstered, wrists below belt
  • 6 shots required
How to Dry Fire

Drill Steps

  1. At the beep, draw and engage the three targets with two shots each

Repeated runs of this drill are encouraged, alternating from right to left and then from left to right.

How to Mod

Drill Modifications

  • Move the close targets closer, and the far target farther.
  • Draw to the far target, then engage the close right target, then back to the far target, then the close left target, then back to the far target.
  • Add a reload and engage the array a second time

Drill Tips

The splits on target will be different based on the difficulty of the target. The two close targets should effectively have the same splits but the far target should have a slower cadence. This execution is as simple as shooting your sights. Do you see your sights on target? Yes? Then pull the trigger. No? Don’t pull the trigger. It’s that simple.

Don’t engage the two close targets and then the far target. It a common target order, but it a slower target order as it transitions past a target and then back to it. The extra lateral transitions slow down your reps. Engage close, far, close. After all, the name of the drill is “Distance Changeup” – the entire point is to practice engaging targets at different distances.

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Drill Diagnostics

Watch for the precision of the sights on the far target. It is easy to under travel or over travel on the far precise target.

Watch out for excessive tension. Close targets tend to create tension in the shoulders when pushing speed. Tense muscles kill precision and speed. Be sure to keep muscles loose so transitions can be fluid.

Drill Author

Ben Stoeger

Ben Stoeger is an IPSC World Champion and multiple time USPSA National Champion. He travels all over the United States and the world shooting matches and teaching classes

Ben Stoeger’s Website »

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Drill Environment

More Drill Modifications

Modifications to focus on: Conceal Carry

Modifications to focus on: General Modifications

Modifications to focus on: Movement

Modifications to focus on: Push Speed

  • Broaden what is considered “acceptable accuracy” - More info »
  • Decrease the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Increase the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Move targets closer - More info »
  • Put a black dot on the main point of aim on the target - More info »

Modifications to focus on: Tighten Accuracy

Modifications to focus on: Transitions

  • Decrease the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Don’t pull the trigger during transitions - More info »
  • Increase the distance laterally between targets - More info »
  • Transition from outside targets of an array and work inwards - More info »

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