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The MEC Marksman Challenge: Better Think Fast

I happen to be a big fan of drills that force you to utilize different skills together. For example, one of the most famous pistol drills is the FAST drill devised by the late Todd Green of Pistol Training. That drill consists of an eight inch circle and a 3×5 index card at 7 yards. 

I also like the 3&2 drill popularized by Scott Jedlinski at the Modern Samurai Project

The FAST drill (which stands for Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test) uses six rounds fired at a 3×5 index card and an 8″ pie plate. You draw and fire two shots at the index card, perform a slide lock reload, and then four shots at the pie plate. A great score was making all hits in less than five seconds.

The 3&2 drill uses a USPSA target and consists of drawing and firing three shots to the lower A-Zone followed by two shots to the upper “head” A-Zone as fast as possible. Scott has videos online of him doing this in less than two seconds.

Inspired by these two handgun drills, I’m proposing our own Everyday Marksman version that cuts back on the required equipment- particularly a shot timer. I’m also changing the scoring a bit to be point based rather than time based, like my recent PRS Rimfire match.

Henceforth, I’m calling it the MEC (Make Effective Choices) Challenge.

The MEC Challenge

Depiction of the target for this challenge. Click to download the printable PDF

The target for this drill consists of two primary boxes and a larger secondary box. The upper rectangle (A) is 2.1″ tall and 3.5″ tall. The lower rectangle (B) is 6″ tall and 4″ wide. This was inspired by Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics, who used this smaller size for his version of the FAST drill. 

The secondary dotted box (C) is 7″ square and surrounds the lower rectangle.

Course of Fire

To complete this challenge, you will need two magazines of five rounds each (10 rounds total). You will also need a timer that can count down from 10 seconds. Ideally, you will also have a holster and a way to carry one reload.

Place the target at 7 yards.

Start the drill from a “casual” standing, with your arms down by your side. At timer start, you have 10 seconds to draw and fire five shots, reload from slide lock, and then fire five more shots. 

If you are unable to draw due to lack of equipment or the rules of your range, then starting with the pistol and reload on a table in front of you is acceptable.

Point values:

  • Each hit to Box A is 2 points
  • Each hit to Box B is 1 point
  • Each hit to Box C is 0.5 points

A hit counts if the bullet breaks any part of the border or interior of the box. Your total score is the number of points you earned in 10 seconds. Any shots after the par timer do not count.

Easy enough? There is a twist. You are only allowed to count a hit in Box A if there is a corresponding hit in Box B. The maximum score possible is 15 points, based on putting five shots in Box A and five shots in Box B.

If your first five shots are B-B-B-C-C, and then your second five shots are A-A-A-A-Miss, your total score would be 10. You could only count three of your hits in Box A since you only had three hits on Box B.

You could, instead, choose to put all 10 hits in Box B, or alternate between B and A with each shot. The choice is yours.

Implementation and Score Levels

What I like about this particular challenge is that is is not based on how fast you go, but on balancing how many points you can earn against the time you have. As the shooter, you must make [effective] choices between slowing down to earn more points per shot versus taking a higher probability shot that earns fewer points. This gets more challenging to consider if you miss any shots along the way and have to decide if you want to try and make up for them.

There are three “Levels” for this challenge to grade yourself on. 

  • Level 1: Earn 8 points
  • Level 2: Earn 10 points
  • Level 3: Earn 15 points

As always, Level 3 is meant to be very challenging and represents a perfect performance.

Tips and Tricks

There are a lot of mechanics to this challenge, and everything has to work well together in order to achieve a high score. You must have a fast and smooth draw, the ability to rapidly fire and keep rounds on target, execute a reload, and transition targets.

Each of these is worthy of a lot of practice on their own. Scott Jedlinski, one of the few people in the world who beat the five-second FAST drill, put together a video for some tips on moving quickly.

Good Luck, Have Fun

This is not an easy drill. Take your time to work on each individual component and then test yourself in full.

Note that I didn’t print instructions on the target this time. I think there are lots of ways to use this target in the future, so if you have any ideas for other courses of fire- then let me hear it!


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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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“slow is smooth, smooth is fast and speed is the economy of motion” Jedlinski sounds like a yoga instructor! I don’t want to deemphasize his accomplishments (I’m sure he’s a well rounded capable shooter) but the whole F.A.S.T. concept seems a little ‘gamey’. Anyway – the MEC Challenge is interesting especially with an EDC weapon – not one specifically designed for speed shooting. I’ve seen guys do the ‘Mozambique drill’ (failure to stop) with an unmodified 1911 wicked fast but there’s something to be said about adding the mag change. It should be pointed out that ‘speed’ drill practice is… Read more »

Replying to  Paul

Wow! I just realized how small the MEC target is – the ‘A’ Box is only 2.1inch(?) by 3.5 inch – that’s damn small and at 7 yards? It will definitely take some time to dial that in at speed! The ‘B’ to ‘A’ transition is much smaller but that will still slow down most 1.5 sec. Mozambique techniques! I’ve noted that the MEC target could be used for the drill. (The ‘A’ zone or head on the PPC target used in the Mozambique drill is full size or about 9 inches by 6 inches although technically the single shot… Read more »


Just ran this three times at lunch. First couple were sort of ugly-like 6 points or so. Third time was the charm! All the hits in 9.08 seconds for a Level 3! Gear was a G19 with Aimpoint ACRO mounted out of an unconcealed Safariland ALS holster and open mag pouch. The target is definitely challenging due to the sizes of scoring areas. I was forcing the first shots after draw and reload, resulting in hits on paper, but low and a little left. I got my sight picture and more importantly, trigger pull down on the third run. Reload… Read more »

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