Without testing, there has been no training.

– Greg Hamilton

Claude Werner provides a good progression of skill in his article Performance Standards. More important than the drill/course specifics is the idea having a more challenging standard to attempt once the current one is accomplished. This is a good example.

Shooting a pistol is an athletic activity. Like any athletic endeavor, we need to have some performance measurement standards. Measurement is the operative word here. We need to measure our downrange performance, i.e., how well we can hit the target, if we want to become better at shooting. There are numerous variables that can be called into play for measurement.

What might be a set of reasonable standards for the average gun owner? I’ll offer the following as a progression that a gunowner could use to see where their skills stand on a periodic basis. It’s less than 100 rounds, so there is some room for remediation, if necessary. Because firearms skills are perishable, I’m more in favor of the LAPD/FBI approach of doing an evaluation four times a year rather than just once.

If you meet the standard, then move on to the next component. If not, work on getting your fundamentals in better shape.

Most standards used for qualification in military and law enforcement circles are intended to be passed by complete novices on their first attempt following initial instruction. It’s elementary school.

The problem is that very few units, agencies, or departments ever require advancing beyond this. It’s like retaking the same first grade arithmetic test once or twice a year to remain “qualified” with math skills.