Looking to be your best on the competition trail? Boost your speed and improve your accuracy? Federal Ambassador and professional shooter Dakota Overland details her steps for success.

Near & Far

Engaging targets that are both near and far is just par for the course when shooting for podium placement. Competition shooter Dakota Overland recommends a drill that requires setting three paper targets and then using a combination of muscle memory and your optic to boost speed and accuracy.

“Set the first target about 3 yards away from you,” Overland says. “Then, place the other two targets at 30 to 40 yards. When setting up for this drill be sure to get into a comfortable position from which you can engage all three targets. On the first target, fall back on muscle memory and place two shots. On the further targets, you’re going to slow down and use your optic.”

The objective of the drill is to improve speed while maintaining accuracy, and the use of a shot timer to track progress is recommended. The goal is to reduce time in between transitions.

First Shot

The “beep” can be an intimidating thing in the competition world. The sound signifies a call to action, which can cause anxiety and panic. Anxiety and panic thwart proper muscle function, and the result will be a slower time. Overland stresses that the time between the beep and your first shot is critical to overall success. To help develop both muscle memory and speed, Overland spends time drilling the following.

“I start at the port arms position, and when I hear the buzzer go, I bring the gun up and make a shot. Proper form is the focus,” she says. “Before making a shot, I ensure I have a good sight picture, solid cheek-weld and correct stance. Repeat this drill multiple times to further develop muscle memory. Muscle memory will help minimize the time before your first shot while also maximizing accuracy.”

20 Alpha Drill

If you can’t get faster and hit what you’re aiming at, the competitive shooting sports arena isn’t going to be kind to you. As you’ve read, there is plenty you can do to help you improve upon both disciplines, and the 20 Alpha Drill is another tactic to add to the list.

“As a shooter, this drill helps improve both speed and accuracy, and it allows you to figure out where your speed should be at 5 yards and where it should be at 20 yards,” Overland says. “Ideally, your speed at 5 yards is going to be a lot faster than it is at 20 yards.

“To set the drill up, set out a paper target and then pace off five, 10, 15 and 20 yards. You will shoot five rounds from each of the four distances. The overall objective is to have all 20 rounds in the A zone. As a shooter, this drill helps you find the balance between speed and accuracy between five and 20 yards.”