Notes from Ben Stoeger's Skills and Drills Class

Skills and Drills

I took Ben Stoegers Skills and Drills class. Here are my take aways from a two day course.

The first day started with a USPSA short course that let Ben evaluate how each student shot. After giving students advice on how he would shoot the stage and then shooting the stage, we all ran through the stage again.

After the short course, we spent the majority of the day on marksmanship drills shot on par time. The drills included shooting groups at 25 yards, bill drills, working on draw speed, the accelerator and dot drills. Many of the drills are on the Ben Stoeger website After the drills we shot a second USPSA stage and worked on developing a stage plan and shooting it as planned.

We began the second day with another USPSA stage followed by distance change ups and entrance and exit drills that showed how to get into shooting position quickly and how to leave a shooting position quicky. These drills also included a reload. We shot a second USPSA stage with movers (swinger and drop turner) and a gimmick. Ben discussed how he would shoot the stage and we ran the stage again, most of us taking Ben's advice. It was cold and rainy weekend so we moved into the classroom to practice draws and reloads and dryfiring techniques. I left the class a little early to make an event, but I think that the course ended with a few more drills.

The class also included Dry Fire Training for the Practical Pistol Shooter which contains many of the drills used in class. Ben explained that Dry Fire Training is the book that most people should get unless they are going to shoot 100's of rounds every week, then they should also get Skills and Drills: For the Practical Pistol Shooter. Ben said that most of his books will be updated to a 2nd Edition this year.

Was it worth it? Definitely. Having someone critique your shooting and diagnose your problems is invaluable. I would love to take this class again in 6 to 9 months. Skills and drills is for learning how to train to be a better shooter, but to become a better shooter you will have to work at it.


  1. Time is not negotiable, don't relax the par time.
  2. New favorite phrase, "Equal height, equal light" to describe sight picture, but not always necessary for A zone hits.
  3. Grip is important, you should see white in your support hand fingernails.
  4. Pull the trigger straight back, doesn't matter if you use the pad of your finger or if you use the first joint to get more leverage.
  5. For close and mid range targets, target focus is faster and just as accurate.
  6. Give long range targets and targets with no-shoots the respect they deserve.
  7. Watch the sights move then settle before taking the next shot.
  8. Strive for mostly A's and close C's.


  1. On entrance, get into a wide stance when planting to take a shot
  2. On exits, lean into position to take off with an explosive start.
  3. Save steps where you can.
  4. Use movement to soak up time when reloading and taking hoser shots.

Stage plans

  1. Simplify, complicated plans are complicated.
  2. Get rid of gimmicks immediately so you can address shooting free of distraction.
  3. Look for places that you must address, i.e. you must be there to take a shot and minimize the number of them.
  4. Group targets, for example shoot steel together when possible.
  5. You are not ready to shoot the stage until you can visualize every target and where you will shoot them.