Maine Shooting Range: How to be Tactically Faster

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Maine Shooting Range: How to be Tactically Faster

“Open up!” The officer yelled from the other side of the door. “Police!”

No way in hell was I opening that door. I was in the front room of an old farm house, a wood burning stove between me and the door through which an entire tactical was about to burst through. The stove provided a bit of cover in an otherwise empty space.

It wasn’t enough.

I hunkered down in the corner, pistol pointed shakily forward, ready to ambush the entire tactical team if I had to. And I would have to. They were all going to come through that door. Fast.

And they did. And they were. Unbelievably fast. I got off a few errant rounds, but to no effect. I was dead in less than a second. My friends upstairs fared a little better. They maybe lasted a minute.

Then it was over. We debriefed and set up for the next scenario.


Obviously I’m not dead. Nor am I in jail for shooting at cops. This was a training I assisted the local Tactical Team with some time ago. Naturally, I got to be one of the bad guys that gets shot. Repeatedly. Those practice rounds might be non-lethal but they still sting like the dickens.

What did I learn from this experience? Never, under any circumstances take on the tac team. They’re better equipped, faster, and much better shots.

Oh, and never volunteer to help with any “little training exercise” they may have lined up.

Impressed by the team’s unbelievable speed, I’ve since tried to work on my own speed shooting abilities and have stumbled on a couple things that have helped me shoot better and faster.  

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Tactically fast

There are two main strategies I’ve adopted that have helped me with my tactical shooting. The first is “front sight focus” and the second is the “six o’clock hold”. These apply to any firearm – rifle or pistol – equipped with iron sights.

This also assumes of course that you’ve fully adopted the fundamentals I’ve discussed before in

Maine Shooting Range: The Fundamentals.


Front site focus

We all know that the proper sight picture on an iron sighted firearm is having the front and rear sights in alignment then having them properly aligned with where you want to hit the target. Depending on your firearm, the rear sight will be pretty close to your sighting eye (ideally your dominant eye), the front sight will be about a barrel length farther away, and the target will be some distance downrange.

Our eyes are not designed to focus on objects so many different distances at the same time. So you have to choose one point on which to center your “hard focus” and see the others through a “soft focus”.

That focal point should be the front sight.

The front sight of your firearm is the tip of the spear. The point of the dagger. Where it lands, so shall your shot. Assuming of course you’ve developed a consistent hold that keeps the rear sight in alignment.

So in a tactical situation, such as when coming fast through a doorway, you lead with that front sight. Your focus stays on that front sight and the scenery beyond it changes as you move. Your “soft focus” beyond the sight allows your peripheral vision to pick up the bad guys (read: acquire target). You simply keep moving and bring that sight to where it needs to land.

Which brings us to the second component.

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The Six O’Clock Hold

Basically, the six o’clock hold is where you line your sights up such that your target – the exact spot you want to hit, the bullseye – rests right on top of your front sight as opposed to covered up by it.

I prefer this hold because it prevents me from having to cover my target with my sights. I want to see where I’m hitting.

I feel this sight picture is easier to acquire and execute on the move because I never have to completely cover my target and I can pull the trigger right as the very top of my sights reach it as I raise my gun.

I also like it for double-tap drills. I simply pull the trigger once just below the spot I want to hit and again as my sights pass through and over it as I absorb the recoil.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long way from qualifying for the tac team but these are a couple tips that have certainly improved my own tactical shooting skills.

Maybe volunteering isn’t such a bad thing…

*The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only and is not intended to replace professional instruction.  Practice gun safety.

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From handguns to the heaviest rifles to busting clays with shotguns, there’s plenty of opportunity to challenge your friends. During your stay at Camp Katahdin’s Denney Lodge be sure to check out our shooting pavilion. 

Once in a while Camp Katahdin invites a small group to train with high level military trainers.  If you would like to learn more about our upcoming shooting courses.  Click here: