I am not an advocate for using drills as primary methods of honing firearms skills, and probably never will be. I see drills as being closer to being parlor tricks than practical skills. That said, a very practiced individual who dedicates themselves to training and practicing to their highest level of proficiency may find the FAST drill to be fun to at least try. It is a good test to see where you are in your skills, but should not be used as a way to train or practice a certain skill.
The FAST drill was started by an instructor by the name of Todd Green, who passed from Cancer not too long ago. He used this drill in his classes as a test of speed, accuracy, and ability to control recoil. It is very simple in nature, but it does indeed test an individuals capabilities. When he was teaching his classes, the shooter had to perform the drill in under 5 seconds twice in order to receive a coin that signified that individual as an expert shooter. There has only been about a dozen people who have earned this coin, which says something. Now let us talk about how to set up this drill. First off, I recommend you use a shot timer, or at least a shot timer app. The app seems to work very well for me.
The drill can be done using a 3×5 index card and paper plate. The FAST drill is a 6 round drill that will require two magazines, a concealment holster, and you will benefit greatly from a magazine holder as well. The drill is shot from a distance of 7 yards from concealment. The course of fire for the FAST drill is very straightforward. The shooter will draw from concealment on the beep of the shot timer, deliver two shots to the 3″x 5″ index card, reload, and deliver four shots into the plate. Each miss is a second added onto your time. But for me, I either hit or I fail the whole course of fire. This forces me to pay attention to each shot and not try to let speed take priority in these drills. As the old saying goes, “you can’t miss fast enough”.
Take it from me that this drill is not easy to get inside that 5 second margin. But considering I was in subzero temperatures while doing everything the hard way(magazine in my pants pocket, and racking the slide home), I think a 5.9 is a pretty reasonable time. Every now and then, I find drills like the FAST drill to be a fun challenge. It forces me to be honest with myself and see where I need improvement. You may find yourself challenged by this too. I encourage you to try this drill using your carry setup and not change your manual of arms.
The key to staying reasonable is to remember that the FAST drill is done static and doesn’t have any actual practical purpose other than having an awkward way of testing how you handle your gun. Many people try to beat the time by switching the way they would normally do things, just to save time. Things like shooting without a sight picture, looking at your gun while reloading, and using a slide stop are a few examples. I recommend sticking to your manual of arms and method of operating your pistol. If you can even get close to the 5 second mark while doing everything the hard way, you are set in my opinion.
See what you can do.
David served in the USMC for a few years. He deployed twice and got wounded. Retired and moved to Alaska. Has a passion for reviewing and testing guns and gear of all kinds. Enjoys working to dispel myths and show that you can train and practice in a realistic, safe, and practical way.