This is a variation on the classic 3x3x3 Drill.  That drill is 3 shots at 3 yards in 3 seconds either from the holster or low-ready (depending on who you ask.)  The Panic-Fire Drill amps that up a bit. Strong-hand only from low-ready or the holster, no sight picture, 3 shots at three yards. This should be timed rather than adhering to a 3-second timer.  The goal is to put all three rounds in the A-Zone of a standard IPSC or USPSA silhouette. 

The purpose of this is to gauge performance potential in a realistic self-defense scenario.  Note I say *potential*; the accepted wisdom is that people’s performance under stress and adrenaline is degraded. The figure I see quoted is that groups-sizes at any given range expand by 75%.  With notable exceptions this matches my observations in the real world; there are actually a minority of people that shoot *better* under stress. 

Start slow to get on target and at least initially use the sights if you need to; you can add speed later as you become more comfortable.  Do not shoot faster than you can keep all hits in the A-zone. If you work from the holster do not try to draw quickly in the beginning; build the muscle memory and the speed will come later.   

There is no specific goal for a specific time. A generally accepted standard when working from the holster is to have a well-placed round on-target in 1.5 seconds, but people are too variable for this to be a hard rule.  When you are comfortable with this drill you can expand the parameters; increase the distance to five yards, try it with a two-hand grip or use a flash-sight picture. The variations are nearly endless and can be useful in a broader training program. 

The point here is not merely to build skills; it’s also to inform you of your current limitations.  If for example you cannot have rounds on target in 1.5 seconds you know that in a real encounter you will need to wait for or create an opportunity to draw. 

This is not meant as a stand-alone drill but you may find it to be a useful part of a more comprehensive training regimen.  

Michael Tinker Pearce is a well known amatuer gunsmith. He also writes the blog Tinker Talks Guns and has a You Tube channel of the same name. He is a US Army veteran with experience in law-enforcement and armed security. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and co-author Linda.