What’s YOUR score on THIS Bullseye Course?


If you ever have to use your gun for self-defense, there is ONE thing that matters more than anything else …

You need to hit what you are aiming at!

In other words, you need to be accurate.


To quote Wyatt Earp, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final”.

Need another great quote? How about, “You can’t miss fast enough to win”(that’s true whether you’re talking winning a gun game or a gun fight!)

The point is, you must be accurate if you intend to deploy your weapon for self-defense or any other reason.

So today, I’m bringing you a simple bullseye course from Tom Givens at Rangemaster. Can YOU pass it?


The Rangemaster Bullseye Course 
by Tom Givens

This drill serves three separate but related functions.

Use it occasionally to test yourself, as well as to build your fundamental pistol marksmanship skills. It can also be used to compare one handgun to another to see which one shoots better in your hands.

Over my several decade long shooting career I have been privileged to shoot with many of the finest shots in the country. Whether the discipline involved was small bore rifle, PPC, IPSC, or IDPA all of the very top shots in that field shared one thing in common. To a man (or woman) they all relentlessly practiced the fundamental elements of marksmanship, and worked very hard to perfect the most basic skills.

Then, no matter what challenge a match presented to them, they could focus on solving the problem, rather than on how to shoot. The same thing applied to several very experienced gunmen I have known, including the late, great Jim Cirillo. Cirillo spent thousands of rounds working on very basic skills, which he told me allowed him to concentrate and get hits even under fire in his many on the job shootings. This course of fire will aid greatly in polishing and perfecting these basic skills.

The second purpose of this course is to help those who have a lot of restrictions placed on their live fire practice by the range rules where they shoot. Many ranges don’t allow work from the holster, or even silhouette targets. Fortunately, if you are stuck with such a training venue, you can perfect your presentation from the holster during dry practice at home.

You can use a silhouette target at home with your dry practice, to ingrain getting a proper sight picture on a humanoid figure. You use this course of fire at the range to perfect your actual shooting skill—the ability to hit what you wish to, on demand.

For this course, we use the NRA B-8 bullseye target.

This target is available at just about any range in the US, or from numerous target vendors. It has been a standard NRA bullseye pistol competition target for decades. It is scored as printed. The course is divided into five stages, fired at 25, 15, 7 and 5 yards, in five round strings. Since all strings are five rounds each, you can even use this with a five-shot revolver. All strings begin with the pistol loaded, in both hands, at the low ready. Use a shot timer, or have a shooting partner time you with a stop-watch.

The first string is fired at 25 yards, and it is designed to test your maximum precision with the gun and ammunition you are using. On signal, fire 5 rounds in one minute. It is best to fire these one at a time, coming back down to ready to take a couple of breaths and get ready to go again. Think of these as five individual, precisely aimed shots.

Next, move the target to 15 yards. Here we will fire 2 strings, as follows. First, on signal fire 5 rounds in 15 seconds. This is adequate time per shot to allow you to concentrate on getting a good sight picture and a smooth trigger press. For the next string, on signal fire 5 rounds in 10 seconds. Cutting the time limit forces you to work on immediate follow through and an appropriate cadence.

Now, move the target to 7 yards. Start with only 5 rounds in the pistol, and have a spare magazine, speedloader, speed strip or whatever you use for fast reloading on your person. On signal, fire 5 rounds, reload, and fire 5 more rounds, all in 15 seconds. This drill works on trigger control, follow through, proper cadence, and reloading skill, all in one string.

For the last string, move to 5 yards. On signal, fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds.

That’s it. You have fired 30 rounds total, for a maximum possible score of 300 points. If you can consistently shoot 285 or better on this, under the time limits, you are a pretty darn good shot. You have also had a good work-out that covered sight alignment/sight picture, trigger control, follow through, recoil control/recovery , reloading under time pressure and appropriate cadences for different distances, all in less than one box of ammunition. If you wish to compare the “shootability” of a couple of handguns, this will make it readily apparent if one shoots better for you than the other.

Work on this drill periodically, even if your range does allow drawing from the holster, silhouette targets and so forth. Regardless of your current skill level this will make you a better all around handgun shooter.

turn on images to see the bullseye
NRA B-8 bullseye target

25 yards 5 rounds one minute
15 yards 5 rounds 15 seconds
15 yards 5 rounds 10 seconds
7 yards 10 rounds 15 seconds Fire 5, reload, fire 5
5 yards 5 rounds 5 seconds 

[ Tom Givens is the owner of Rangemaster in Memphis, TN. For over 30 years Tom’s duties have included firearms instruction. He is certified as an expert witness on firearms and firearms training, giving testimony in both state and federal courts. He serves as an adjunct instructor at the Memphis Police Department Training Academy, the largest in the state. Tom’s training resume includes certification from the FBI Police Firearms Instructor School, NRA Law Enforcement Instructor Development School, NRA Law Enforcement Tactical Shooting Instructor School, Gunsite 499 under Jeff Cooper, and more. ]

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Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.


  1. Sounds similar to the Navy “Handgun Qualification< except there are 8 stages, some involving three magazines for the semi-auto pistol. Possible score of 300 with 80% needed to qualify "Expert". All stages are timed. 30 meters or feet at a full-sized target

  2. Speaking of dry fire practice.

    Here is an old tried and true procedure I learned MANY years ago, using a handgun.

    First, cut down a regular #2 kitchen pencil so, when sharpened, will still stick out about a half inch beyond the muzzle of your fire arm.

    Next, wrap the pencil with string so you have felt resistance when you push it down the barrel of your hand gun. ( I use a M-1911A1 .45 cal. )

    Next, take a pad of 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper and with a template draw 1/8 inch diameter dots, blacked in, on the paper. Space them about 4 inches apart, length and height separation.

    Next, tack the pad on a wall at about eye level.

    Next, stand close enough to the pad so that the pencil only has to jump about 1 inch or less.

    Take up a solid stance, cock the pistol, then breathe, relax, aim, take up the slack in the trigger, and squeeze.
    ( remember the acronym: B.R.A.S.S. )

    Each shot will make a small mark below your aiming dots. When you can make each mark fit inside a 1/8 inch diameter circle, you will be “in the black” at 50 yards.

    I do this with one hand, and hang a pair of boots over my wrist whilst shooting. This will build up your arms (switch to weak hand when strong hand tires) and develop muscle memory.

    It can work equally well with a two-hand hold. Great way to save ammo, travel time, and expense to and from the range. Date and save each sheet of paper to make a record of your improvement.

    Semper fi.

  3. I hope you guys are following what Obama is doing in the news over this whole gun control thing, & I believe you are, just hoping everybody gets the memo.

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