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Gold Standard Shooting Drill: Wilson 5×5 Skills Test

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The Wilson 5×5 Skills Test is one of the gold standards of handgun performance. Used by IDPA as a classifying test, the 5×5 has unlimited scoring, is easy and fast to administer, and only requires 25 rounds. It is fired on a single yard line from the standing position. Despite being very demanding, it is easy to administer. If you’ve never shot it, shoot the Wilson 5×5 Skills Test on your next trip to the range.

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The Wilson 5×5 Skills Test

I really like this drill…and really wish I consistently scored better on it. There is nothing complex about it. All the stages are straightforward, yet is is deceptively challenging. The 5×5 Skills Test is an easy way to rank yourself among some of the top competitive shooters in the world, and saying, “I shoot an an sharpshooter/expert/master level” is a standardized card to throw down – everybody knows what you’re talking about.

Shooting the drill doesn’t require a complicated range setup. You need one target, one yard line, 25 rounds, and about two minutes. Oh, and a shot timer, of course.

Course of Fire

Though I have this COF memorized, I referenced Pistol-Training.com, just to make sure I kept things in order. All stages are fired at 10 yards, and the target is an IDPA silhouette. Although concealment is not required, I shot from concealment because that is how I carry.

  • Stage 1: draw, fire 5 rounds to body
  • Stage 2: draw, fire 5 rounds to body, SHO
  • Stage 3: draw, fire 5 rounds to body, slide-lock reload, fire 5 rounds
  • Stage 4: draw, fire 5 rounds to body, 1 round to head

Scoring is done by adding up total times and penalties. Just like golf, the lowest score wins. Because you can infinitely reduce your time, scoring is essentially limitless. Hits in the 8-inch circle are “down zero,” meaning they incur no penalty. Likewise with the single head shot in the 4-inch circle. Shots in the -1 zone incur penalties of 0.5 seconds or 1 second, depending on who you ask. I chose to take the full, 1-second penalty, as is required in IDPA. Once you have figured out your score, where do you fall on the hierarchy?

  • 15 seconds or less: Grand Master
  • 20 seconds to 15.1 seconds: Master
  • 25 seconds to 20.1 seconds: Expert
  • 32 seconds to 25.1 seconds: Sharpshooter
  • 41 seconds to 32.1 seconds: Marksman
  • 50 seconds to 41.1 seconds: Novice
  • 50.1 seconds and up: needs improvement

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