“Do you want to shoot better? Sure, we all do. Watch the free video below to find out how easy it is to train at home for your genuine expert marksmanship diploma.”

… is how Sally Struthers might have introduced today’s post. But I’m not her. So I’ll just say that if you watch this next installment of our Start Shooting Better series, you’ll find a description of another great shooting exercise: The Super Test. Or as always, you can scroll down and read the full transcript instead.

CHRIS: Hey everybody, Chris here from Lucky Gunner and we’re doing another episode of Start Shooting Better. In this series, we’re bringing you different drills and tests you can try at the range to improve your shooting ability. I am joined again by John Johnston from Citizens Defense Research, also the host of…

JOHN: Ballistic Radio!

CHRIS: Ballistic Radio. Today we’re looking at the… Super Test? Is that what we’re calling it?

JOHN: Yeah, I guess…

CHRIS: Yeah, the Super Test. Ken Hackathorn came up with this one…

JOHN: Mmmmm….

CHRIS: Errr, Ken Hackathorn came up with The Test, then Wayne Dobbs and Darryl Bolke [of Hardwired Tactical] evolved it into The Super Test. So, tell us about that.

JOHN: So what we’ve got is three strings of fire at 15, 10, and 5 yards. 10 rounds each. At the 15 yard line, you’ve got 15 seconds to, either from the low ready or the draw depending on which version you’re running, fire 10 rounds. When you move up to the 10 yard line you’ve got 10 seconds and from the 5 yard line you’ve got 5 seconds. So the goal is to shoot a 270 or above and then I think, as Darryl puts it, if you shoot a 290 or above, you’re really good.

John finishing the Super Test at 5 yards.

CHRIS (VOICE OVER): The target for this test is an NRA B-8 repair center. You can buy these as 10.5-inch square targets, or print your own on standard 8.5×11” printer paper [download here]. The test is scored based on the scoring rings on the target. So, 10 points for hits in the 10-ring, 9 points for the 9-ring, etc. You get no credit for rounds that miss the paper entirely or for any rounds that are fired after the time limit is up. The starting point for the standard Super Test is a low ready position, and if you want to shoot the Advanced Super Test, you can start from the holster.

The Super Test Course of Fire

String 1: 15 yards, 15 seconds, 10 rounds

String 2: 10 yards, 10 seconds, 10 rounds

String 3: 5 yards, 5 seconds, 10 rounds

Starting Position: Low ready. Draw from the holster for the “Advanced Super Test”.

Target: B-8 Repair Center

Scoring: Use target scoring rings and add up your total points for all three strings. Hits off the paper or over the time limit are not counted. 300 possible points. Passing score is 270 (90%). A score of 290 and above is considered outstanding.

Single Stack Version: If you’re running a 1911 or other lower capacity single stack pistol, you can use the same distances and time limits, but you’re going to fire 8 shots at each string of fire instead of 10, and you will start from the holster. Just like the standard Super Test, a passing score is 90% which, in this case, is 214 out of 240.

Revolver Super Test Course of Fire

Since they’re both big fans of the wheel gun, Wayne and Darryl also came up with a revolver version of the Super Test. The distances are the same, but the time limits have been adjusted to be more appropriate for 6-round strings of fire.

String 1: 15 yards, 12 seconds, 6 rounds

String 2: 10 yards, 8 seconds, 6 rounds

String 3: 5 yards, 4 seconds, 6 rounds

Starting Position: Low ready. Draw from the holster for the “Advanced Revolver Super Test”.

Target: B-8 Repair Center

Scoring: Use the same scoring method as the standard Super Test. 180 possible points. To receive a 90% passing score, you will need 162 points.

CHRIS (TO JOHN): Where I have a hard time with this is just judging how much time I’ve got. Like, at the 10 and the 15, I tend to shoot them in about the same amount of time and I end up blow shots at 15 with time left. So it really kind of messes with your ability to judge time, distance, and how slow you need to go to get your hits.

JOHN: It’s not even slow, necessarily, it’s “what process do I need to focus on?” And I stole that from Ben Stoeger, that’s not my original concept. Do I need to pay more attention to the front sight? Do I need to pay more attention to my trigger press? How much time do I have to do it? So, emotional control. I’m at 15 yards, I know I’ve got 15 seconds, that’s plenty of time to concentrate on these things. Then I move up to 5 yards and I’ve only got 5 seconds, I need to have enough emotional control to not search around for the front sight and just get a “good enough” sight picture for that distance and that target.

CHRIS: Right, so it really helps you to figure out what’s necessary at what distance.

JOHN: Right, so what do I need to do to get the hits that I need to get with the problem that I am presented with.

Chris running the revolver version of the Super Test at 10 yards.

CHRIS: I know Tom Givens has pointed out on several occasions that a problem he sees with a lot of shooters is that they always shoot the same speed, no matter the size of the target or how much time they have.

JOHN: Right, so it’s going to be really dependant on your level of skill and what you’re seeing, but generally, when I’ve messed up things like this in the past, I’ll shoot it too fast. Everybody wants to Ricky Bobby, I want to Ricky Bobby and it’s like, “I like to go fast!” So that’s what I do. But for something like this, it’s really important to know your own level of skill and it’s actually really good for gauging your own level of skill and also it’s a really good test of consistency. Is my performance consistent from this day to this day to this day and it’s really useful for stuff like that.

CHRIS: Cool, well, we’re going to give that a shot. We’re shooting on B-8 repair center targets. I’ll shoot it, John will shoot it, and we’ll see how we do.

CHRIS (VOICE OVER): John and I both shot the advanced version of the super test, so we started from the holster rather than the low ready. John is using his carry gun, a custom Boresight Solutions Glock 34.

He finished the 15-yard string in 10 seconds, well under the time limit, but he dropped 4 points out of a possible 100. He made a little better use of his time at 10 yards, finishing in 8 and a half seconds, and dropped 3 points. And on the last string, he only dropped one point, and beat the time limit by just 3/100ths of a second. So John’s final score is 292, which is an excellent performance for the Super Test.

I decided to try the revolver version of the Super Test, so I used my Smith & Wesson Model 66.

Just like John, I finished way under the time limit on the 15-yard string, and dropped 4 points. I finished the 10-yard string in 6 seconds and dropped another 5 points. At 5 yards, I nailed the 10-ring with all 6 shots, but I was a little too slow and went just over the time limit with my last shot. That means I have to deduct 10 points from my final score. So I would have had a respectable 171/180, but my actual final score is 161, which is one point short of a passing score.

The Super Test is a lot harder than it looks, and if you’re trying it for the first time, I suggest starting from the low ready position. So, grab some B-8s, get out to the range, give it a try, and let us know how you do.

Leave a Comment Below

6 thoughts on “Start Shooting Better Episode 4: The Super Test

  1. Chris — I really like your integrity when doing these test. You allow all of us to see your actual results which I really appreciate. Your honesty in your vids is a great encouragement to many shooters, if you’re willing to show us that you need to improve, it reminds all of us that we do too. Again–THANK YOU. PS — gusty move to go with a revolver… 🙂

  2. Chris, always excited to read your drill recommendations. I frequently get caught up in the slow fire for best accuracy or rapid fire just for fun type range trips, and its nice to be reminded that my time can be better spent.
    Most recently I’ve been trying to work on faster sight alignment with both eyes open. I’m naturally cross eye dominant and have been successful at training myself to use my right eye with the left closed, but realize this is primarily a step in the right direction and not the end result I’m looking for. Any tips? Maybe a topic for a future Lounge article?
    Keep up the good work!

    1. That’s a tough question. Honestly, I don’t think it’s nearly as important to shoot with both eyes open as a lot of people seem to suggest. If you can do it, it’s a good thing. If you find it difficult, shooting with one eye closed or partly closed is not the end of the world. A lot of it really depends on just how strongly dominant your dominant eye is. I personally have very strong right eye dominance so it was not difficult at all for me to learn to shoot with both eyes open (it’s probably the only aspect of shooting that has come to me easily), and so I’m probably one of the least qualified people to give advice on how to improve in that area. There are some techniques and exercises you can use to get better at it, though, and I have considered looking into it deeper for a future video.

  3. Final sentence in the article; “So, grab some B-8s, get out to the range, give it a try, and let us know how you do.”

    I did just that. Watched the video first thing this morning, downloaded the B-8 target from the link on this article, went to the range and shot the drill using a shot timer with a par time set to 15, 10, then 5 seconds. I was able to get all the shots off in each string with the first string finishing in 14.86 seconds just barely under the allotted 15 seconds. I noted a few things then shot a second set as a reference.

    The first set was timed as seen in the video. My score was 253.

    The reference set was 30 shots, untimed, at a pace where I thought I could get all good hits from 15 yards and yielded a score of 277. I shot at 15 yards to see what it takes to get all good hits at the longest and most difficult distance in the drill. That 277 is much likely a higher score if I move in to 10 and then 5 yards instead of stay at 15.

    I noticed a couple of things which caused me to take note and shoot the 30-round set at 15 yards.

    1.) I noticed that the front sight covered up the entire 10 ring at 15 yards in the timed set. There’s no room for trusting the wobble. You wobble and the round hits in the 9 ring or maybe the 8 ring. The equipment you choose in the form of the width of the front sight makes a difference in your ability to get a sight picture on the 10 and X rings. You also have to know your gun and ammo extremely well as far as POA/POI goes.

    2.) This seems to be a pistolcraft balance of speed and accuracy test and you need both speed and superb accuracy. It’s not a combat effective accuracy test. Everything in the 8 ring of the B-8 target of this test would be down-0 on an IDPA target. So although my timed score was 253 for this Super Test, which is a failing score, my IDPA score would have been a perfect -0 points down. Combat effective hits in IDPA would also include the -1 zone but most of the -1 zone is off the paper outside of the 7 ring on the B-8.

    3.) This drill is static and stays the same for everyone who shoots it. The distances are the same. The time per string is the same. The rounds shot are the same. That makes it like an IDPA, USPSA, or other shooting game classifier.

    Summarizing, a failed Super Test score of 253 is a perfect clean string of -0 in IDPA.

    So my questions become A.) what shooting skills are this test measuring?; B.) How do your scores on this test relate to something practical that the average shooter reading this article can relate to?

    For example, I am classified in IDPA as a Shapshooter. I am at the top end of Sharpshooter just a second or two below Expert. A high-end IDPA Sharpshooter shooting a Glock 17 with Glock factory tritium sights shot a failed score of 253. That failed 253 score would be a -0 clean stage in IDPA.

    Given that information as a reference it would seem that one would have to be an IDPA Expert, USPSA C-Class or perhaps USPSA B-Class shooter to get a passing score of 270. One would likely need to be an IDPA Master or USPSA A-Class or USPSA Master to get 290.

    Now that’s a reference frame for a 270 passing score. If you are not an IDPA Expert or USPSA C-Class or higher you likely won’t shoot a 270 to pass the Super Test.

    1. That just shows how much you can always improve on your basic essential marksman skills. Even the experienced pro competitive shooters sometimes forget to keep the fundamentals strong. Work on the trigger squeeze, get rid of that “wobble” you stated in #1, also if your front sight covers entire 10 ring then you obviously have an eye closed, just another reason why alot of experienced shooters keep both eyes open. Sure the main purpose of being comfortable shooting with both eyes open is for it’s tactictactical purpose of spotting threats in your closed eyes view but also to have less strain and a wider view of target awareness.

      1. “also if your front sight covers entire 10 ring then you obviously have an eye closed, just another reason why alot of experienced shooters keep both eyes open. Sure the main purpose of being comfortable shooting with both eyes open is for it’s tactictactical purpose of spotting threats in your closed eyes view but also to have less strain and a wider view of target awareness.”

        I appreciate the comment however it doesn’t consider a shooter’s vision correction challenges.

        Some types of vision problems require certain types of vision correction. Those vision problems and the associated correction may preclude successfully using both eyes.

        Specifically, using a different powered contact lens in each eye. One for close vision and one for distance vision. This is a very common solution for someone who needs bifocal eyeglasses but wants to wear contact lenses.

        Soft lenses for astigmatism may have a measure of double-imaging. Hard lenses may correct the problem but tend to pop out during athletic activity.

        Now you have double-imaging from soft lenses on eyes with astigmatism where one eye is focused close and one focused distance.

        Eyeglasses may or may not be a solution allowing two eyes open depending on the individual person’s near- or distance-correction needs.

        Then there are eye dominance issues layered on top of the vision correction challenges. Someone who needs bifocals using soft contact lenses and who is cross-dominant will have more challenges than most other shooters.

        For example, this cross-dominance issue is so strong that a left eye dominant RH pistol shooter will typically be taught to use a carbine or a shotgun from the left side so they can get a “normal” sight picture with the left dominant eye. They literally cannot crank their head far enough on the stock to get a left eye sight picture with the long gun on their right side.

        It’s not as cut and dried as “experienced shooters keep both eyes open.”

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