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The Live Fire Drill Cards™ Handgun Training Log

The Handgun Training Log is a practice toolkit consisting of three primary tools; drill cards, loadout cards and training log cards. These cards work as a system to provide you with an unsurpassed selection of 45 drills.   Create practice plans that focus on the skills you need and reinforce what you have learned in training.  Track your performance and performance improvement by always understanding three essential things; what you practiced, how you practiced and how you did. The approach works for those new to shooting to experts.

The exclusive LFDC Absolute Accuracy Rating (AAR) system which supports the Accuracy First approach to training is incorporated into every drill card. Accuracy First is foundational to training safely while improving accuracy and developing speed.

Burnett Live Fire Drill Cards™ can be used as an extension of training to provide students “homework” that will allow them to practice and reinforce the important skills they learned in training using a variety of drills with similar elements. Bridging training with practice can be accomplished in many ways, from providing select drill cards identical or similar to what was run in training, or by offering a standard or fully customized handgun training log with trainer recommendations for practice.

We believe that when people see results with something they care about and have invested in, they are more likely to keep at it or even invest more.

Please see the detailed instructions and examples below for all of the tools within the Handgun Training Log to help you come up to speed quickly and use our system effectively. It’s as simple as 1 – 2 – 3.

HOW TO USE THE TRAINING LOG

 

Getting Started with the Handgun Training Log

The training log has three main tools (loadout cards, drill cards and log cards) that work together to provide the information you need to select and practice drills and keep track of the many possible factors that can affect your performance.  When you first start using the training log follow these 3 steps.  For help in the field, refer to the Information section in the back of the log.

 

  • Step 1 Loadouts Section – Complete the loadout cards, one per loadout.
  • Step 2 Active Drills Section – Move drills you are going to practice from Spare Drills to Active Drills. During the practice of a drill, before you quit, shoot it one more time for the record and write your results on the drill card.  Each drill card can hold 7 results.
  • Step 3 Training Log Section – Use the log cards just as you use your log now. Record the entire practice session experience on the log card and highlight your drill results with loadout and drill/run numbers. As a minimum, record the date, summary of your practice and the total rounds and time spent. Later, set your goals for next practice.  Add anything relevant to your practice, training or education to the log.

How do the cards work together to help me prepare and practice?

The training log is designed as three types of cards, or tools, that work together as a system to allow you to record important information in each separately but also easily link the information across cards to create a complete picture of your practice and training. You must always know three basic things to understand how to improve based on your practice.  The three cards work in this way.

  1. What you practiced – means the drill card chosen.
  2. How you practiced – means having a complete picture of all of the drill parameters and factors you chose that affect performance when shooting the drill.  On the drill card, these are the parameters (such as distance, location, loadout used, where you draw from) listed in Step 1.  On the loadout card, these are all of the items listed that describe your choices (such as the handgun, ammunition, holster location and clothing worn).
  3. How you did – means how performed as captured in the record in Step 3 of the drill card. This can be in the context of meeting or not meeting the drill standard, or just as valid, be in the context of better than before.

How do I connect this information on the cards for a clear view of my perfomance?

Let’s look at loadout and drill number information in this example.  In the diagram below, you created a loadout card for your main carry gun with a Loadout ID of G19MC. When you shot the drill you filled in the loadout used in Run 1 with this loadout ID (G19MC). Later when you filled out the log card and summarized your experience and results.  Because your results were significant, you made notes about several drills you ran, including D-029, with G19MC at practice on 2/12/17. In this way at a glance, you can connect the elements that affect your performance and always see your performance trends on the drill cards and refer back to significant performance events in the log.

For even more information on How to Use these cards, see the information sections below for each card.

Safe Always – Accuracy First (SAAF)

SAAF is a  foundational training priority incorporated throughout the entire Live Fire Drill Cards system.  It is used to promote a positive, encouraging experience with rapid improvement through a focus on safety and accuracy.  To follow this philosophy, try this approach using these three steps:

Step 1 – Know the 4 Weapons Safety Rules and your local range rules. Learn proper technique from a trainer.

Step 2 – Choose drills that are within your ability but challenge you and practice accuracy first without timing. D-001 to D-006 are good starting choices.

Step 3 – As you improve, add elements of difficulty including time. If accuracy suffers, remove elements of difficulty. Show your progress to your trainer.

One of our customers shares his experience. “By repeating the timed drills it became obvious that I needed to slow down just a little to improve my accuracy, but just a little. And by doing so my grouping improved and I was still able to do it in the allotted times.  – Brian K.

Live Fire Drill Cards™ promotes a SAAF philosophy for shooting practice throughout our products and as a company. It simply means always act safely and practice accuracy first including accuracy over speed. Never let going for speed compromise safety.

Wyatt Earp had a point.   “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”

The Live Fire Drill Cards™ system does NOT teach shooting technique or gun safety. It does, however, offer common sense reminders about safety that are generally accepted principles of safe conduct. Always strictly observe gun safety rules and range rules whenever practicing.

Speed and safety are intertwined.  A wise trainer once asked me, “Does your trigger finger follow rule no. 3 when it’s in a hurry?” Makes you think. Learn the 4 basic rules of gun safety.

 

U.S.C.G. 4 WEAPONS SAFETY RULES

The 1st Rule: Treat all firearms is if they are loaded.

The 2nd Rule: Always maintain proper muzzle control.

The 3rd Rule: Keep finger off the trigger until on target and ready to shoot.

The 4th Rule: Know your target and what is beyond it.

 

Live Fire Drill Cards Exclusive Absolute Accuracy Rating (AAR)

Absolute Accuracy Rating (AAR) is a unique Live Fire Drill Cards™ rating system for the muzzle angle of accuracy required to hit a target (scoring zone) of a specified size from a specified distance.

Everyone knows its easier to hit a large target (6″ red circle) than a small target (3″ blue dot) or any target as you get closer. This is because you have a wider muzzle angle available to hit the target. It’s that simple.

The AAR angle is simply the “muzzle angle” required to hit the target zone. An angle greater than that will miss.
What do the AAR ratings mean and how do I use them?

There are six levels in the AAR rating system, each with a color, letter and title.

The first, Beginner has an absolute angle requirement of 3 degrees and as you go up each level requires half the angle of the previous level.

In a way, it gets twice as hard to hit the scoring zone as you go up each level.  A Marksman rated shot requires 32 times more accuracy than a Beginner rated shot.

This is a relative scale and is a way to measure improvement in accuracy.  It is also a way to compare the basic difficulty of drills looking only at the required accuracy, ignoring all other elements of difficulty.

 

The AAR rating on the drill cards show the range of accuracy for all shots in the drill from the easiest shot (left) to the hardest shot (right). This gives you a quick way to compare drills for difficulty based solely on required shot accuracy.

The rating on the left represents the most accuracy required and the rating on the right the least accuracy required on the drill card.  Together they bracket the accuracy you will need to shoot the drill from the closest distance and largest target to the furthest distance and smallest target offered on the card.  Many drills offer three distances, the standard distance and two others. To bracket the accuracy required ONLY for the standard distance for the drill, look up the shot ratings (using target size and distance) in the table below.

 

What are the AAR Symbols on the top right corner of the Drill Cards?
How are the AAR ratings applied to drills that have multiple stages?

In the example D-045 the Absolute Accuracy Drill you can see that the distance and target zone size result in the exact angles defined by the 5 ratings; Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and Marksman.

In the top diagram note that in the first 4 stages, the distance doubles for each stage. Ratings are above each stage cone.

In the bottom diagram for the last stage, the distance remains the same as stage IV but the target zone is smaller (5.7″ ring to the 2.85″ dot), a size reduction of about half. This changes the rating from Expert to Marksman.

 

With this table you can look up any accuracy angle and AAR rating for any combination of drill size and shot distance.  The AAR rating is denoted by the color in the box.

Target zone is in “inches” and shot distance is in “yards”.

Find the row with the target size and the column with the distance.  Where they intersect is the box with the angle and AAR color.

How can I lookup an AAR rating and angle for a specific shot in a drill?

The log cards are used for the same purpose and in the same way as the bound training log that you may be currently using.  Log cards are located in the first section of the Handgun Training Log.

How do I use log cards?

Use log cards as the central record to record everything relevant to your development including practice, education and training.  It provides a chronological view of your investment in time and resources as well as a record of significant activities, events, learnings and milestones. The log ties the big picture together and gives you a place to capture thoughts, make plans, recognize progress and anything else that you find helps you move forward toward your goals. A written log is important because you can rely on its accuracy rather than memory, and second, it can be evidence of consistent effort and investment as well as achievements.

Keep several weeks or months of completed log cards in your training log for quick reference to look back at past information.  Move older log cards to a permanent location in your home and perhaps in your gun safe.

How do I fill out a log card?

The completed log card example below shows how it might be filled out to record typical activities associated with your training.

Some features of how the card is used in the example are:

  • For new entries, basic information of Date, Loadouts Used, Notes, Rounds Fired and Practice Hours are written under the headings. After that, additional information about the activity uses the entire line and as many lines as needed.
  • The Notes provide reminders of what type of information you can add to the log.
  • It’s useful to capture the overall rounds used and time spent in practice and training.
  • The log card is used to record many different aspects of becoming a better handgun shooter including practice sessions, a training session, a book read on self-defense and aftermath, dry fire practice, etc.
  • Drills that are practiced are referenced by number, which points to the drill card for all other information, saving writing it all out in the log.  Some shooting results are captured that highlight improvement.
  • Some notes are made as reminders to plan time to work on some skills.

Fun and popular drills that offer a challenge to all skill levels are instantly available with our amazing selection of drill cards.

Drill results are captured directly on the drill cards with room to track results of 7 runs per card, allowing performance trends to be easily spotted.  Colorful drill cards come with each standard training log and are also available for purchase individually when you need more.

What are the basics of reading a drill card?

It’s very easy to read drill cards thanks to the standard formatting and nomenclature used to describe all drills.  Once you have learned to read two or three you can read them all and be able to do it at a glance.

Choose a drill based on what you want to practice based on the features of the drill, number of rounds required, if it can be run indoors and any other attribute.  Then check the back of the cards to scan the instructions to select one that comes close to what you have in mind.

Once you have selected the drill, there are three basic sections each with an important purpose as shown below.

Step 1 – Enter Drill Parameters 

Fill in the drill parameter to reflect how you choose to practice the drill, given the choices shown.

Step 2 – Drill Instructions 

Review the drill instructions as needed to be sure to run it correctly.  The drill you selected and its instructions are what you choose to practice.

Step 3 – Record Drill Results

Fill in your performance results.  This reflects how you did.

Where can I quickly find a specific piece of information or an answer to a question on a drill card?

The diagram below is a typical drill card broken out as individual panels with the type of information they contain.  These panels and type of information are standard on all drill cards which makes selecting and learning a drill a snap.  After all, you shouldn’t have to spend forever trying to figure out a drill.

What are the types of drills and what do they mean?

What are the basic types of drills with respect to scoring and time?
  • Live Fire Drill Cards has recognized that there are a few categories or “type” that drills fall into by the way that the drill designer designed the drill for scoring and use of time.
  • Stating these “types” allows us to communicate a lot about the basic design of the drill with a single acronym or short phrase, listed below.
  • The drill type is a three letter designation on the lower, left corner of the back of the drill card.
  • It’s important to understand the types of “scoring” approaches using “rounds fired” and “time” and to see the combinations that are possible using both.

 

For drill scoring – hits, points and time are all used.
  • Hits are scoring hits. A single round is a hit or a miss.
  • Points are assigned to zones on the target. All rounds that hit a zone are counted up and totaled.
  • For use of “time”, there can be a PAR time limit, record time for scoring, record time for reference or no time.

Examples of how time can be used.

  • PAR – The time limit the rounds must be fired within.
  • Record Time (for Standard) – The time goal that the rounds must be fired within, that count toward meeting the drill standard.
  • Record Time (for Reference) – The time that the rounds are fired within as a reference for performance.
  • Record Time (No Time) – The drill has no time limit constraints, but time may be recorded as a reference for performance.

Use of PENALTIES – Penalties are often applied in drills and can be time based (adding to your actual time) or hits/points based (subtracting to your score).

LFDC Drill Types

The basic format for describing a drill type is: SCORED – CONSTRAINT. The first word is how the drill is scored (either Hits/Points or Time) and the last word how the other parameter is treated to constrain the drill. Drill cards are formatted to capture the scoring and time information required to show the drill standard was met. Even if recording time is not required by the drill, it is often included for proposes of observing improvement trends in drill results.

Types of drills in BOLD have examples below describing how they are filled out.

  • HIP – Hits in PAR – Hits are scored but must be completed in PAR time (time constraint).
  • PIP – Points in PAR – Points are scored but must be completed in PAR time (time constraint).
  • HRT – Hits Record Time – Hits are scored and time is recorded for reference only (no time constraint).
  • PRT – Points Record Time – Points are scored and time is recorded for reference only (no time constraint).
  • TRH – Time Record Hits – Time is scored for the number of rounds required counted as hits. (rounds constraint).
  • TRP – Time Record Points – Time is scored for the number of rounds required and hits are counted as points (rounds constraint).

For Courses of Fire with multiple stages, individual stages can be different scoring-time types.

Scoring Hits in PAR is one of the most popular drill scoring methods. In this example, there are 3 stages that all use Hits in PAR.
Six runs are filled out to show possible results for hits and time and if they result in the accuracy or time standard being met.
All items in red indicate they do not meet standard.  Since three runs are required, if any stage fails to meet the standard for hits or PAR then the run fails the drill standard.
Note that the accuracy standard in hits can be met if PAR is exceeded, but the PAR standard is never met if the accuracy standard is not met.
If you mark the drill “Not Timed” you can still record your time, it just indicates you were really not attempting to achieve a fast time.
Since meeting a PAR time limit is a simple pass/fail result, actual times aren’t required to be listed.  Listing actual times allows you to see your improvement with better resolution.
Scoring Points in PAR is similar to Scoring Hits in PAR.  The main difference is that all hits have a point value that are added up for total points.
Six runs are filled out to show possible results for points and time and if they result in the accuracy or time standard being met.
All items in red indicate they do not meet standard.
Note that the accuracy standard in hits can be met if PAR is exceeded, but the PAR standard is never met if the accuracy standard is not met.
If you mark the drill “Not Timed” you can still record your time, it just indicates you were really not attempting to achieve a fast time.
Since meeting a PAR time limit is a simple pass/fail result, actual times aren’t required to be listed.  Listing actual times allows you to see your improvement with better resolution.
Scoring Hits record Time is similar to Scoring Hits in PAR except there is no time standard.
Six runs are filled out to show possible results for points and time and if they result in the accuracy being met.
All items in red indicate they do not meet the hits standard.
Note that the accuracy standard in hits can be met strictly on the hit count.
The option to mark the drill “Not Timed” is not required but you can still record your time.
Listing actual times allows you to see your improvement with better resolution.
Scoring Time Record Hits uses time as the standard but requires the Hits standard to be met for the time to count.
These drills usually have one of two types of time standards.  Either there is a goal time stated, such as 10 seconds, or times are bracketed and assigned to a rating scale as is the case in this example.
All items in red indicate they do not meet standard.
Note that the accuracy standard in hits can be met regardless of the time, but the drill time standard determines the rating.  However, if the hits standard is not met, then the time standard and rating does not apply.
Since the drill is always timed, an option to check “Not Timed” isn’t needed.  All times will fall within the rating scale.

All About Loadouts and Loadout Cards

What is a loadout?

A loadout is simply how you are equipped and outfitted to shoot.

 

What does a loadout include?

A loadout should include everything that could significantly affect your shooting performance.

The short list includes your handgun, holster, carry location, ammunition and concealment garments.  (It could include eyeglasses versus contacts as well if it affected your performance.)  The main loadouts of interest are the ones that you you use for carry and the ones that you practice with regularly including dry fire using SIRT’s.

 

How many loadout cards should I have?

Not too many and not too few.  Not being cute here.  Too many and the tracking will not be worth the effort and you won’t see differences in shooting performance because you just won’t record consistently.  Too few and you may not be able to tell that certain differences in your equipment or outfitting are causing you performance problems.  You can also limit the loadout cards to just the ones that represent how you carry so if you only carry one way then you only need one loadout.  Our experience is that a typical number of loadout cards that gets the job done is usually between 3 and 7.

 

 

 

How can the various parts of a loadout affect my shooting performance?

 

  • Handgun – A different handgun make, model, caliber or barrel length (to name a few factors) may affect your performance and usually will.  These differences can affect aim, draw speed, trigger control, recoil and other factors that affect accuracy and draw time.  Conversely, two factory Glock 19’s with the same sights and no modifications might not be different enough to warrant two separate loadout cards.  (However, if you don’t track them independently as two separate loadouts, you may never know.)
  • Holster – The type of holster and its fit to your handgun may affect shooting performance.  For instance, a tight holster requiring a high draw force may affect draw time.  A holster that does not fit securely on your belt of body may take more time to secure a draw grip.  Two very similar holsters may not require separate loadout cards.
  • Carry Location – Your holster carry location, open or concealed, may affect your draw time.  How difficult it is to reach and grip your gun or how far you need to reach (i.e. ankle) can all add up to increase draw time and slow your speed.  If you move your holster over 2 inches, you very likely won’t tell a difference and won’t need a separate loadout card.  But say you shoot appendix right side and decide to try carrying IWB 4-5 o’clock then you probably will need two separate loadout cards.
  • Ammunition – A change in brand with the same grain bullet and velocity rating may not require a separate loadout card.  However, since different brands may have different powder charge uniformity then it may.  A different grain weight bullet or velocity rating will likely require a separate loadout card.
  • Concealment Garment – If your standard garment is a vest that must be cleared to the side to draw but you occasionally wear a sweatshirt that must be lifted up with both hands, released by one hand, then reach back down to draw, these are going to result in different draw speeds, so you probably need two separate loadout cards.

How to Use Loadout Cards – 3 Simple Steps

 

  1. Create a loadout card for each loadout (defined above) that could significantly affect your shooting performance.  This should include creating a loadout card for carry loadouts, loadouts you practice regularly or a new loadout you are considering and wish to evaluate.
  2. Complete the loadout card information in as much or little detail as you wish.  Providing more detail may give you a better chance of relating specific features of the loadout to your shooting performance.
  3. Track modifications you make to your loadout over time.  Again, this detail may give you a better chance of relating specific changes made to your loadout to your shooting performance.
In the Live Fire Drill Card system, the Loadout ID is used on the drill cards to identify the loadout used for each run.  This allows easy performance review for a specific loadout.  It can also be referenced in the log cards to highlight observations made about performance with loadouts or conclusions about the impact of changes to loadouts.

Completing the Loadout Cards

You may perform differently with different loadouts.  Similarly, different features of the loadout equipment and outfit can also affect your shooting performance.  These features and details are captured on the loadout card along with the history of changes.  This allows you to relate a change in performance not only to a difference between loadouts, but also to changes made to specific loadout.

Please see the example of the completed loadout card to the right for reference.

  1. Create a loadout ID for the loadout.  This ID is any short name or alphanumeric description that uniquely identifies that loadout to you.  Keep it short to fit in the space provided as you will be recording it many times onto drill cards and log cards.
    • Some possible examples of loadout ID’s;
      • Main – Your main carry gun.
      • G19 – Where you only have one Glock 19.
      • G19Main, G19RMR – Where you have two Glock 19’s, one is your main carry and the other has an RMR sight.
      • G19B, G19G – Where you have two Glock 19’s, a black and a grey.
      • Ankle – You have one gun and holster for your ankle carry position.
      • Peace, PM – You nicknamed you gun Peacemaker.
      • G19LASR – Glock 19 with a trigger reset kit and laser for use with the L.A.S.R. system for dry fire practice.
  2. Fill in the date that you created the loadout card.
  3. Define your handgun with the description, type, caliber, make, model and color/finish.
  4. Define the sight as sights usually affect accuracy.
  5. Define the trigger and if possible, measure the break weight as triggers usually affect accuracy.
  6. Define the barrel length and quality as these factors usually affect accuracy.
  7. Define the accessories that represent how you normally practice or use the loadout.
  8. Define you normal ammo used with the loadout.  (It is common to carry with a different ammo than you practice with.  In these cases decide if you want a separate loadout card.  Carry ammo is very expensive so most shooters shoot with it every few months to make sure there are no issues.  This frequency does not usually warrant a separate loadout card, but rather make a note on the drill card and log to record performance.)  If you regularly shoot both standard and high velocity ammo, you may want separate loadout cards.
  9. Define your holster and carry location.  If you change holsters and there are significant differences or you change carry locations (not talking about slight adjustments) you may want separate loadout cards.
  10. Define your standard or typical concealment garment type.  If you change your type of concealment garment and it requires a significantly different clear or draw motion and likely affects your time you may want a separate loadout card.

Modifications History – Enter any significant changes to your loadout.  For instance if you change sights, enter the new sight information and date.

Notes – This section is for any additional information you feel is relevant to the loadout that isn’t covered in the standard format.

You shouldn't have to spend your free time researching drills. Spend your time shooting.

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