COURSE OF FIRE : One Handed Pistol Shooting Drill


By Police Marksman Staff

Each issue of The Police Marksman will feature a “Course of Fire” that police officers can use for their own department’s training. Training courses can be shared and used “as is” or you may wish to modify them as needed. If you have a firearms course that has worked well with your own department’s range training, send it to us and we’ll pay you $50 if it’s chosen to be shared here. Try to keep the round count at a single box of 50 rounds for pistol courses as we know today’s ammo budgets are challenging. Courses with movement, cover, shields, low light, etc. are beneficial to all police officers, so follow the standard instructional format like this issue’s course and e-mail it to us at

Required Items and Materials:

  1. Two standard silhouette targets.
  2. Shooters must have 3 magazines and duty belt/holster.
  3. Total of 50 live rounds.

Instructional Goal:

The goal of this drill is to improve one-handed weapon handling, reloading, malfunction clearing, and sight reacquisition. All shots should be aimed fire—no rapid fire. Speed is secondary to the fundamentals of proper sight alignment and trigger control. If the shots are missing, slow them down.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce self
    2. State your qualifications
    3. Explain course of fire as described in Body
  2. Explain why one-handed shooting is important
    1. Officer may have to shoot one-handed due to injury
    2. Inability to let go of an object (flashlight or person, opening a door) with one hand
    3. To expose the least amount of the officer to threat from around a corner or other cover
  3. Training to shoot one handed with both dominant and non-dominant hand will allow some familiarity if the necessity ever arises.
  4. Demonstrate with empty hands how to shoot one handed with the arm straight out from the body or with the elbow slightly bent and the pistol slightly canted (behind a shield style), and with or without the non-dominant hand/arm held across the body (to cover the chest and to keep the arm held high).


  1. Course of Fire on the range
    1. Each officer will clear his/her pistol on the range and then empty his/her magazines.
    2. Officer will load 10 rounds in each magazine, chamber a live round, and holster.
    3. Officer will begin course 5 yards from the two silhouette targets and draw on command and fire two rounds at each target’s center mass for a total of four rounds. All shots will be fired with the officer’s dominant hand only.
    4. Scan and access and then re-holster.
    5. Officer will then draw on command, swap the handgun to the non-dominant hand, then fire two rounds at each target’s center mass for a total of four rounds. Pistol is then safely swapped back to the dominant hand and re-holstered.
    6. Officer will then draw on command and fire one round at each target’s center mass for a total of two rounds with only the dominant hand.
    7. Officer will immediately reload with a fresh magazine and holster.
    8. Course is then repeated from the 7-yard line (10 rounds, cumulative of 20 rounds total); however, the last two rounds are fired after swapping to the non-dominant shooting hand.
    9. Course is further repeated from the 10-yard line twice, following points of instruction 2 through 7 (cumulative of 40 rounds total).
    10. Last 10 rounds are fired from the 15-yard line. On command, officer will draw and fire five rounds center mass with the dominant hand, then swap the pistol to the non-dominant hand, and fire the last five rounds (cumulative of 50 rounds total).
  2. Scoring is Pass/Fail based on a percentage of hits in the center mass area (usually 70–75%).


  1. Questions
  2. Thanks PM

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