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Pistol to Rifle Transition Drill (Staged)

Pistol to Rifle Transition Drill (Staged)

One of the easiest areas to recover wasted time on a stage is with our transitions between firearms. This drill focuses specifically on transitioning from a pistol to your rifle utilizing as much efficiency as possible – with practice, you’ll be simultaneously dumping your pistol (safely) with one hand while the other is already working to bring your rifle into a usable position. Note that this drill focuses specifically on staged rifles as you would see in a 3-gun match. Try this drill if you want to transition to a slung rifle: Pistol to Rifle Transition Drill (Slung)

Training Materials Needed:

  • Pistol
  • Rifle
  • Pistol Dump Box (or a table works great)
  • Rifle Staging Barrel
  • Dryfire target for reference

Pistol to Rifle Transition Drill Set-Up:

This is a dryfire drill, remove all ammunition from the room you’re working in and ensure both firearms are clear and unloaded.

Position yourself behind the pistol dump box or table, with the rifle staged on either side. Once you build into this drill, you can vary the location and distance of the dump and pickup locations.

Place the dryfire target somewhere in front of you, use the same target for both firearms if needed.


Start aimed in at the target with your pistol (hammer back). At your own pace, cue yourself to remove your finger from the trigger and engage the safety while moving to place the pistol into the dump box or table. At the same time, your off or weak hand will be moving towards grabbing the rifle stock to start bringing that toward your shoulder. As soon as your pistol has been safely dumped, that hand should be moving toward the rifle to finish shouldering it and getting a sight picture on the target.

Also try: After building confidence with the movement, start adding more target engagements before and after the transition. Additionally, put variations into the location and distances of the dump/staging boxes.
You can work this into re-holstering the pistol instead of dumping it as well, as some matches have that as a permissible action.


Your focus will be doing two things at the same time, but to do that effectively you may need to break it down to doing one thing at a time repeatedly. Don’t be afraid to separate the pieces of this until you’re comfortable and have all of the necessary actions committed.