The D.O.P.E. Drill is an invaluable drill meant to help operators sharpen their shooting and zero in on their weaknesses. This article is compiled to teach you more about the D.O.P.E. Drill and why it may be the missing element in your tactical firearm mastery.
In this blog post:
One of the ways law enforcement and military operators can sharpen their shooting skills is with the D.O.P.E. Drill. There is more to shooting than swift reloading, aiming, and firing. To master your carbine fundamentals, you need data to gauge the accuracy of your shots. Most importantly, you need a way to train your accuracy while developing consistency.
What Is the D.O.P.E. Drill?
The D.O.P.E. Drill, or Data on Previous Engagement Drill, is a 25-round drill designed to improve shooting accuracy and accountability consistency. The drill allows operators to fire their weapons at a target that provides immediate feedback in the form of shot splits relative to distance.
The D.O.P.E. Drill allows operators to self-diagnose their weaknesses due to the data provided by the drill. Shooters can measure various data points against their ability to consistently hit the A-zone of the AHT Diagnostics Target.
Some of the data shooters include the distance from the AHT diagnostics target and trigger speed in their self-assessment. People who perform the drill may also add environmental data points, like wind direction and moisture, if they are running the D.O.P.E. Drill outdoors.
The data from the drill enables operators to establish a failure baseline from which they can improve. By learning their failure baselines, shooters develop a better awareness of their weapons and what needs adjustment for better accountability consistency.
The main objective of the D.O.P.E. Drill is 100% A-zone accountability. By 100% accountability, we mean that shooters must hit the A-zone consistently with all 25 rounds from different distances.
Besides hitting the A-zone, shooters must also hit the target as fast as possible. We added this condition for the drill to test and improve cold performance on demand. Because shooters need to unload five shots rapidly, the drill can paint a picture of how shooters perform under pressure or time constraints.
What You Need for the D.O.P.E. Drill
If you are going to run the D.O.P.E. Drill by yourself or in a facility, you will need several things for setup.
AHT Diagnostics Target
First, you will need an AHT Diagnostics Target. The AHT Diagnostics Target is a human silhouette target with three marked zones. The central area is the A-zone, which is the area you must consistently hit in rapid succession. Surrounding the A-zone is the C-zone. The D-zone surrounds the C-zone and is the outermost area of the AHT Diagnostics Target.
The D.O.P.E. Drill assesses your shot’s accountability consistency at various distances from the AHT Diagnostics Target. During the drill, we require everyone to shoot from five distances.
When marking distances, you must allocate a space of five yards between markings. You must mark or chalk up a line at 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, 20 yards, and 25 yards.
While the D.O.P.E. Drill was designed for training carbine shooting accuracy, the drill is also effective at sharpening pistol shooting accuracy. For this reason, shooters can have a rifle like an M4 or their sidearm; it is up to them.
The D.O.P.E. Drill is a 25-round drill that requires you to empty 25 rounds onto the AHT Diagnostics Target — no more and no less. With that in mind, ensure that all weapons have 25-round magazines instead of 30-round magazines.
A Par Timer or Shot Timer
You will also need a par or shot timer to gauge shot splits. We recommend a shot timer that beeps so it can serve as the trainees’ cue to fire.
How to Perform the D.O.P.E. Drill
To perform the D.O.P.E. Drill and maximize its effects on your carbine fundamentals, follow these steps:
1. Line up Your Sight from the Five-yard Mark
Begin by establishing your grip and how you are aiming at the AHT Diagnostic Target’s A-zone. Once you have done this, take off your weapon’s safety and get in a ready position.
2. At the Beep, Quickly Fire Five Rounds at the Target
As soon as you hear the beep from the par timer, quickly take aim and fire at the A-zone. The goal is to hit the A-zone with all five shots as quickly as possible.
3. Approach the AHT Diagnostic Target and Record Your Data
You will want to take note of the following:
1: The number of shots inside the A-zone
2: Shot splits
3: The distance between you and the target
4. Depending on Your Results, Make Adjustments and Move to the Next Distance
If all five rounds hit the A-zone, you’ve nailed the technique; just try to get it done a few milliseconds faster next time.
If any of your shots fell outside of the A-zone, focus on your technique before anything else. You may increase your shot splits by a few milliseconds while working through this part if necessary.
For example, if you got four out of five rounds in the A-zone and one in the C-zone, tighten your grip on your pistol and feel free to bump up your splits to about 14 milliseconds if you averaged 10 in your previous shots.
5. Repeat for 10, 15, 20, and 25 Yards
Repeat the above steps and make necessary adjustments until your A-zone accountability improves. If you have already reached 100%, your goal turns into maintaining your accountability across all five distances.
Why the D.O.P.E. Drill Works
The D.O.P.E. Drill is found extremely effective in improving accuracy and consistency while shooting. It works so well because:
It Tests Cold Performance on Demand
The D.O.P.E. Drill requires you to fire your weapon at a narrow target in rapid succession with 100% shot accountability. These conditions mimic how you might fire your weapon in a less-than-ready state.
It Provides Immediate Feedback
Besides your shooting ability, the AHT Diagnostic Target is the star of the D.O.P.E. Drill because of its ability to provide real-time data on your shooting performance.
By taking note of your shot splits and accountability during the drill, you will quickly be able to identify your areas for improvement. For instance, you’ll know that you have a problem shooting at a distance when your A-zone accountability drops from 100% to 80% at the 10-yard mark.
It Clues You in on What Adjustments to Make
From the real-time data, you can quickly adjust everything from your grip to your splits. For example, you can adjust your grip on your pistol if you notice your shots tracing toward the top of the A-zone. You can also increase the time between shots after comparing your average splits against your shot accountability.
Developing consistency and being able to self-diagnose issues can go a long way as you master your carbine fundamentals. One drill that’s especially effective for troubleshooting your problems behind the trigger is the D.O.P.E. Drill.
The D.O.P.E. Drill allows you to use real-time data to sharpen your shooting — once you add it to your training, and your shot accountability will improve in no time.
Of course, the D.O.P.E. Drill is only one of many drills for your carbine fundamentals. To learn other drills, we highly recommend browsing through AchillesHeelTactical.com to find a wealth of information on all things firearms related and take your weapons game to the next level.