Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker’s Leatham Drill

by Eve Flanigan

This is a drill used in an advanced pistol class by Larry Vickers. It’s named after, and likely designed by, the legendary Rob Leatham. It’s great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or from a particular gun to reacquaint themselves with the trigger. It also works for more novice shooters who are in the process of putting all the fundamentals together.

Gear 18 rounds and an eight-inch circle as the target area. Paper dessert plates make a good substitute for printed targets.

Drill All three strings of fire in this drill should start with sights on target.  Starting at four yards, with trigger finger straight and on the frame, fire six rounds in six seconds maximum. Move to eight yards. With the finger resting on the face of the trigger, fire six rounds in six seconds maximum. From 12 yards, with the finger on trigger against the “wall” with slack taken up, fire six rounds, six seconds maximum.

Goal Being able to “clean” this drill with perfect hits within the time limit confirms proper trigger control and, to some degree, recoil management. If you succeed at the first two distances but struggle at 12, analyze which of the fundamentals you need to address. Often it’s just one. Moving to the in-between distance of 10 yards may help with that analysis.


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  1. …..and that ain’t no B. S. Practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature and you’ve developed that muscle memory and then practice some more. A lot’s been said of the need to practice but the more you practice the correct moves/techniques the better you become and the easier it becomes.

  2. I am lefthanded but right eye dominate. No matter what pistol I shoot; I always seem to be to the right of my target. Understand the fundamentals, grip, finger position on the trigger, squeeze instead of jerking, my stance, aiming, and ammo selection. When I shoot a shotgun or rifle, I use my left eye. I was trying to train my left eye but was told to use my dominant eye. Any advice or suggestions? It is bad when your wife (who hardly ever shoots) can take your guns, and nail the bullseye from 5-15 yards away. She has even shot videos of me, for me to watch. I dry-fire and never move the gun. I do know when I make a mistake such as: jerking, to much finger, getting in a hurry, pulling my shoots. Can any point me in a solid direction? I have looked at most everything on YouTube and forums for help. I even had an instructor at a range work with me. Using another persons’ weapon, I can do fine. I have seen people move their rear sights over to the right; them being right-handed. Humbly, M. P.

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