Dot Torture Drill

A significant part of shooting and one of the hardest to master is trigger control.  When you really break it down it’s not hard to see why.  Under ideal circumstances, like at the range, you’re firmly holding onto an object that is naturally startling while using both hands and 9 of your fingers as your solitary trigger finger tries to defy the others and operate independently with the gentlest of touch.

Now take it to the extreme.  Two men have broken into your house, you’ve  neutralized one of them with several rounds but his buddy is now using your wife as a hostage and has a knife at her throat.  He’s only about 4 yards away with varying levels of exposure, like the target pictured.  He’s yelling that he’ll cut her throat if you don’t drop the gun this instant.  To gain your compliance he starts pushing the tip into your wife’s neck making her scream out in pain as blood starts to run.  Could you make the shot?

csat hostage
CSAT hostage target available at

Whether under ideal, or less than, conditions that’s a lot of expectations to put on one finger, even though it may have been our main booger picker as a child.  I’ve found the drill, affectionately known as Dot Torture, to be a great trigger control training aid.  With origins shrouded in mystery the most popular version today is housed at, a good site with an okay forum.

Dot Torture

The target is a PDF you print out with instructions on what to do with each circle.  Click here to open/download the PDF.  It’s a simple 50 round drill but still quite challenging.  It incorporates drawing from the holster, strong hand only and support hand only shooting, reloads, and target transitions.

Start at 3 yards and see how you do.  You may be surprised at how difficult it is to keep all the hits inside the circle.  No breaking the line.  Once you can clean the target at 3 yards bump it out a yard or two and try it again.  It’s amazing how hard it is at only 7 yards.

Here’s a video of me running the drill during a recent practice session.  I didn’t realize how loud the ventilation was so it’s hard to hear me.

Here’s the end result, looks like I need to tighten up my one-hand shooting.


Give it a shot, it may become one of your favorite drills.  Even if it is torture to you it’s a great training aide.


One thought on “Dot Torture Drill

  1. I keep a set of these targets in my range bag and try and run it at least once every time I hit the range. Even if you don’t have to make as precise a shot as you describe practicing speed on such small targets will still help ensure you hit what you are aiming at under pressure. In a violent encounter your groupings will tend to be larger than at the range. If you the best you can do at the range is “minute of bad guy” the chances of a hit during a violent encounter are a lot lower than if you can run this drill reasonably well. I also like that it forces you to use weak hand grips and one handed grips which I will skip practicing unless the drill forces me to.
    God bless.


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