Measuring your capabilities

Last Sunday, The Complete Combatant hosted a class for which I was the Guest Instructor. The Class is called Personal Performance; this particular class is for Ladies Only. This is the third iteration of the class we have done, the first having been in October of 2017.

The class is based on the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program Course of Fire called Defensive Pistol I. The MQP has numerous Courses of Fire for a variety of different firearms and shooting disciplines. Unfortunately, it’s probably the NRA’s best kept secret.

The Defensive Pistol I Course of Fire is described as “designed to supplement the Personal Protection In The Home courses.” Since PPITH does not include doing any work from the holster, neither does DP I. This is a good place to start measuring one’s performance capabilities because the variable of drawing from the holster is eliminated. The Course of Fire consists of six levels of increasing task complexity and decreasing time limits.

DPI table

Since its addition to the MQP in December 2012, I’ve put nearly 200 people through Defensive Pistol I, both men and women. The results have been both surprising and informative, to say the least.

The Personal Performance class uses the first three levels; Pro-Marksman, Marksman, and Marksman 1st Class as the performance baseline. MQP is designed as a self-paced program that is shot on the honor system, so the participants who achieve the first three ratings have the opportunity to continue shooting it on their own. Distinguished Expert, the sixth and highest rating, must be witnessed by another NRA member before being submitted to the NRA for national recognition.


A noteworthy aspect of Defensive Pistol I is that the hit standard is 100 percent. The difficulty of this standard, to be able to perform to a moderate degree without fail, is one of the surprising aspects of my experience with running the Program. While many people think the ability to hit a 12 inch circle at seven yards is an easy task, it can be surprisingly difficult to do every single time. For experienced shooters, making 17, 18, or 19 of the required 20 hits to achieve the first level, Pro-Marksman, is not hard. However, only 10 percent of the nearly 200 shooters, both male and female, that I have tested have been able to make all 20 of the required hits on the first try. Of the remainder, 40 to 50 percent will make it on the second try. Another 40 to 50 percent will make it on the third try. The remaining 10 to 20 percent will not be able to meet the standard without extensive coaching and instruction.

More next post.

Our next Personal Performance Class will be held March 24, 2019.

Increasing your proficiency

I’ve written two different eBooks for those who are interested in improving their skill with handguns. They provide a roadmap to improving your competency at your own pace and within the resources you have available to you. For less than the price of a box of ammo, you’ll be able to use your time and other resources much more effectively.

For those who carry a concealed firearm, Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here.

For those who don’t carry a concealed firearm but keep a handgun for home defense, Indoor Range Practice Sessions, is appropriate for you. The link to the downloadable eBook is here.

My downloadable recording, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, is particularly appropriate when analyzing incidents, not necessarily Defensive Gun Uses, involving firearms.

One response

  1. I would think these courses of fire would be difficult for someone . That rarely puts in any range time and never dry fires. For those of us that practice on the range very regularly and dryfire 3-4 tines a week .. not so much.

    I have seen the emphasis on lots of carbine training , clearing rooms with a carbine, leap froging , “ urban patrol “ cover fire . It’s a free country spend your money and time as you please . I just think the average citizen is a lot better served with lots of dry fire and range work with their pistol. Also understanding the laws in your state .

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