Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

Drill of the Month: Pushing the Envelope

What shooting distance do you regularly practice at? Most of us have our favorites. Familiar yardage yields predictable positive results that boost the ego and produce refrigerator-worthy targets. That kind of success is addicting and quite possibly why many shooters get stuck working at ten yards and in. Moving targets past your comfort zone can feel risky, but it is worth it. 

The phrase ‘pushing the envelope’ implies acting in a way that challenges and goes beyond expectations. But why don’t more shooters push their yardage envelope? It’s not only about physical visual limitations or range availability. The real challenge is psychological—distance can be remarkably intimidating, and overcoming this fear is crucial to improving your shooting skills.

The ‘Pushing the Envelope’ exercise is a gradual approach to experiencing longer distances. Start by taking small steps back, moving the target slightly farther away with each rep. This incremental approach tricks the brain into believing that distance is no big deal, allowing you to focus on your technique rather than the distance to the target. 


  1. Treat ALL guns as if they are loaded.
  2. Keep fingers off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. Keep guns pointed in a safe direction at ALL times. (Do not point your gun at anything  you are not willing to destroy)
  4. Keep all guns UNLOADED until ready to shoot.
  5. Always keep your firearms stored inaccessible to unauthorized persons.


  • Purposefully try to lose track of the target’s distance from the shooting line. 
  • Have a buddy move the targets for you in electronic ranges.
  • Holstered and working from a fixed target line? Stage targets at the berm and take one giant step backward between reps. 

Target: AG & AG Shilouette Target

Distance: 3 to 25 Yards

Round Count: Shooter Dependent. Maximum suggested 132 rounds.


  • Prepare multiple magazines loaded to capacity. Reload as necessary. 
  • Starting at three yards, focus on the center purple circle and fire three slow-fire shorts. The mental focus should be on a stable, consistent grip, crisp sights, controlling the trigger through the break, and visual and physical follow-through. 
  • Move the target one yard back to four yards and repeat.
  • Continue to shoot and move back at one-yard increments until any of the following are true:
    • The shooter can no longer safely see the target.
    • The distance limitations of the range have been reached. 
    • Shot impacts are greater than eight inches beyond the target zone. 
  • At this point, reverse direction! Start moving towards or bringing the targets back one yard at a time; repeat the three-shot group until the target returns to three yards. It’s alarming how close thirteen yards feels once you have shot out at twenty-five! The Pushing the Envelope drill is a fantastic exercise to prove how fun distance can be and reveal how capable the shooter is. Be prepared to surprise yourself!