Basic Carbine Sustainment Drills

Apr 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Tips and Tricks

Mark TiedemannThis series of carbine drills is designed to give the shooter a plan to follow which will ensure the shooter can maintain a basic level of proficiency with the any carbine. The round count for these drills is based on 5 x 28 round magazines (140 rounds) and will assist the shooter with budgeting both ammunition cost and time, in addition to addressing equipment and consistency concerns. This series of drills will aid the casual shooter or the shooter “on a budget” with his carbine proficiency. Primary weapon to secondary weapon transitions are also included in the drill series. 

First things first, always review the Cardinal Rules of Firearm Safety before loading your weapon, now move on to other range safety controls, proper loading and unloading procedures and finally do a review basic marksmanship skills. Determine how fast you should perform these drills. A good rule of thumb is to base your speed on your accuracy. If you are missing the black you probably need to slow down to work on your accuracy and your fundamentals, but if you are driving every round in the center of target, then you need to speed it up. 


3” DOTS or B3 at 7 YARDS [Get our custom 3 inch dot target] 

  • Low ready: one shot 4 times
  • High ready: one shot 4 times
  • Low ready: two shots, one target 4 times
  • High ready: two shots, one target 4 times
  • Low ready: two shots, one shot each on two separate targets 4 times
  • High ready: two shots, one shot each on two separate targets 4 times

8” DOTS, BODY or B8 at 10 YARDS 

  • Pivot left and right 90 degrees and 180 degrees: start at Low ready facing away from the target: turn (each direction), four shots, two shots each on two separate targets 2 times each direction (left and right 90 degrees and 180 degree pivot) 
  • Transition drill: start with no magazine in your carbine. Click, transition to pistol, two shots or dry fire once 5 times.

8″ DOTS, BODY or B8 at 25 YARDS 

  • Reload drill: from ready, one shot, Emergency reload, one shot. Recover magazine and perform Tactical reload to set up drill 4 times.
  • Soft malfunction (fail to fire) drill: start with an empty chamber in your carbine, full magazine, click-tap, rack, engage with two shots 4 times.
  • Standing to kneeling to prone: two shots each position 5 times.

8″ DOTS, BODY or B8 at 15 YARDS 

  • Shoot on the move (box drill): Two targets, first run with 1 shot each, second with 2 shots each.
  1. Start at left forward corner, right rear diagonal, forward, left lateral, rear to a forward right diagonal.
  2. Start at the right forward corner, left rear diagonal, forward, right lateral, rear to a forward left diagonal.

Additional tips: 

  1. If unable to move at the range, do the static drills both strong and weak side or double up on strong side drills. Practice movement and manipulation at home dry.
  2. While doing the 7 yard and turn drills, load multiples of 8 rounds if you wish to do more transitions.
  3. Remember to utilize the workspace when performing all reloads and immediate action drills.
  4. Remember at less than 25 yards/meters transition to secondary weapon to stay in the fight. At distances greater than 25 yards/meters seek cover and perform immediate action to clear carbine stoppage.


Special thanks to guest author Mark Tiedemann for contributing this series of drills. Feel free to leave Mark a comment here or look for him on where he is a forum moderator. 

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Article by Mark


A veteran police firearms instructor and the Manager of the Virginia Beach Police Department/FOP8 Shooting Team. Mark is also a forum moderator for where he posts as Mark5pt56.

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  1. Mark: Thanks for the great set of shooting drills. As the cost of ammunition keeps going up we really need to work on making every round count!

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  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this set of carbine drills. A friend and I just tried them out with a Marlin 336. I have been to a carbine class before, with a AKM, and the topic of carbine drills with a lever gun has always interested me.
    We learned a lot, and are starting to work up a good manual of arms for this gun. A butt-cuff will be an essential future purchase as we are limited to the 6 rounds in the magazine. Moving while operating the lever is much more difficult than with a semi-auto carbine.


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