Practice Drill: Sharpening your Orient skills

In some ways the Orient stage is simply “determine what it (i.e. feedback from your environment) means to me and what can I do about it?”

This is a fast paced drill that requires you to process feedback and determine shoot/no shoot. Investing time in this as an add-on to training will help you run the loop faster – that extra decision cycle can be the edge you need to avoid trouble.

Get some targets like one above (for example a Rockwell RTG1). Or draw shapes and numbers on targets you already have- the colors add a third characteristic but you can run this drill without colors if you want. I recommend doing at least 12-15 rounds of this drill or as many reps as you need to about 50 total rounds in a session.

  • Begin with your pistol holstered, hands at your sides
  • Have someone add two random numbers and shapes off the target and call out the answer – like 'Yellow or 13!' or 'Triangle 9!'
  • Before you can draw you must determine that you can add numbers on the target to match the number and characteristics called out
  • Any qualified targets called get a healthy double tap
  • Using a shot timer is up to you but it will help you track your progress

So if 'Yellow or 14' is called you must double tap the 9, 5, 6, 8, 7 and 2 (you may choose to limit this to the first two pairs you can add). If 'Triangle 9' is called you can only double tap the triangle 9.

If the call is something not on the target (like '8 Red') you Fail even if you draw. Remember this is about your Orientation phase – training your neuromuscular pathways to analyze the environment to identify the threat before you react.

The key elements of this drill are:

  • Requires us to process the new feedback – in this case the target thats randomly identified
  • Threat must be identified (and is difficult to predict) before you can draw
  • When a threat is recognized we follow through with live fire (iow a complete execution of that OODA loop decision)


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