Who or What is El Presidente

Run through enough drills with your firearm and you’re going to run into this guy. It’s happened to me more than once. I’m going through my handgun homework and run into reference the El Prez. And then I skip it.

I’m cool with drills that require me to move and shoot. I guess it reminds me of good, old-fashioned footwork. But on a difficulty scale going from, “Even a caveman could do it.” To, “Don’t even Trrrry it!” this one has been just beyond my reach. And now that I’ve done a little bit of digging, I’m wondering what the fuss was about.

Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente
Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente

First, who was El Presidente? Whenever I think of it, I think of a guy that looks like this. A legendary Mexican gunslinger who fought on the side of peace and justice.

Truth is, there is no El Presidente. The drill was created by

Jeff Cooper in the 70’s and since then has become the acid test for shootn’ skills. Who was Jeff Cooper? A Marine, WWII bad-ass who redefined how pistols are used.

El Presidente goes like this (according to Wikipedia).


Three silhouette targets are placed 1 meter apart in a line 10 meters from the shooter.
The shooter starts with six rounds in a holstered handgun, and a spare magazine or speedloader with another six rounds.
The shooter begins facing directly away from the targets, often with hands clasped in front or over the head.
Upon the starting signal, the shooter turns and draws, fires two shots at each target, reloads, and then fires two more shots at each target.


That’s how it looks in competition. For dry firing, I imagine doing the above in a garage. On another note, I don’t like dropping my mags on the ground. I just don’t. But I’ll work it out.

That Time I went out Back To School Shopping and found a Gun Range

Shooting at the Master Gunman on my birthday.
Shooting at the Master Gunman on my birthday.

The Flinch.

I have been dry firing for months. In that time I’ve been to the range around four times. I’ve gotten good instruction. My grip has been changed, I’ve learned how to use the sights and I’ve practiced.

I have owned a gun since 1998. And I’ve learned more since I started this blog than I had in the previous 14 years.

But I had this flinch.




Flinches like California.
Groups like California.

At seven yards, I was shooting groups that were roughly the size of my hand and the shape of California, if Cali sloped down and to the left. Still not bad. If I shot like this in a crisis situation, each bullet would hit center mass. On the other hand, if I was shooting like this when I was slowly and deliberately aiming, the chances of me shooting this well during a crisis situation are pretty slim.

I’ve been training with Samuel Hayes, pretty regularly. He told me in one of our first meetings that he expected for me to be able to reach a decent level of accuracy before we would expand into draw and fire. And my bullshit ass, California shaped groups were wasting my time and his.

You can’t get rid of a flinch without getting in range time. You just can’t. You have to train until your body doesn’t anticipate the noise and recoil. So, all of the dry firing in my hot ass garage wasn’t going to make me much more accurate.

Anyway,  I made a wrong turn out of the Walmart on Rockbridge in Stone Mountain, as I was waiting for them to develop pictures from out trip to the Botanical Gardens as part of a Back to School project for my son when I stumbled upon The Master Gunman.

The shop portion of the Master Gunman was pretty small. There were a handful of Taurus’. (Tauri? Tauruses? What’s the plural of Taurus?)  and a S&W Shield in the case. If memory serves me, there were a couple of AK variants on the wall.

The real news was the shooting range. The whole thing cost about $35 dollars. Twenty of that was from that one box of 9mm bullets. I also bought three targets and rented ear and eye protection. Not bad, considering it about five minute’s drive from my house. Next time I’ll bring my own bullets.

The Master Gunman. If my favorite bar in Philly had a shooting range and a small selection of firearms, and no alcohol
The Master Gunman. If my favorite bar in Philly had a shooting range and a small selection of firearms, and no alcohol

The range… Let’s just call it rustic. How about high mileage. Tried and true? The targets hung from wire. You cranked them out and back again. Anybody who has ever had wind up windows in their car knows what I’m talking about. They’ve been around since the 80’s. Let’s call it retro.

I had shot thirty rounds before I realized that I didn’t have a plan. By then, I had cranked the target as far out as possible. I went out and bought two more targets, and borrowed a pen.

Below is a picture of the second target following a haphazard warmup. The target was at about seven yards. Notice the WTF’s. They were always the first shots in the group. I overthink the first shots.



The group in the upper right hand corner was my best. By then I was over the shock of the first shot. I was also down to my last five bullets
The group in the upper right hand corner was my best. By then I was over the shock of the first shot. I was also down to my last five bulletsIf you took them away, the groups were respectable.Miscellaneous:
  • I’ve already said that I need to buy bullets. I also need to bring my own eye and ear protection. I found myself trying to see through a thick band of blurry distortion where the rent-a-glasses curved. As for the ear muffs, they were great. I hate the little squishy things that some ranges offer. Muffs are awesome. I just need my own. I’m sure they are diligent about cleaning theirs, but still. Cooties.
  • I like the place. I like it so much that I will try to make it there every week or two. Still, it isn’t the kind of place I would choose for a double shooting date. Quick Shot is better for that. Their waiting area is nice and big, and, last time I went, they had cookies. Stoddards would do in a pinch. But, if they are trendy clubs, then The Master Gunman is your corner bar. Not fly, but just as necessary.
  • I know Taurus is flamebait on Facebook, second only to Hi Point. But, they had a selection that was priced so nice that I was looking for an excuse to buy one.



The Draw and Shoot Drill Part II: Going Beyond Accuracy



I’ve been working on accuracy for months. Dry firing in a small corner of my garage, after doing the dishes and walking the dog at night. I rarely hear about handguns being equated with meditation, but I’ve found that the acts of dry firing and draw and fire is as close as I’ve come to meditation in a martial art.

Photo courtesy of They Die By Dawn.
Photo courtesy of They Die By Dawn.

Last time I wrote about the results of all of that practice. Three disappointing attempts to shoot the hole left from the first shot, followed by a revelation, some trigger time with a Glock 17 that shot 22 cal bullets, and then victory.

That was the prelude.

The goal was to draw and shoot a target suspended five yards away. Again, we used a sheet of copy paper. Copy is roughly the size of both a man’s head and the chest cavity. If you can consistently hit it, you might be on your way to developing combat accuracy.

One note on combat accuracy. I had been so tuned into shooting that little dot, that much of my dray fire practice had been weighted more towards hitting the dot, and less towards the actual draw. The goal wasn’t to draw and shoot a dot the size of a bottle cap in less than three seconds. The goal was to draw and shoot a sheet of paper. Big difference.

The drill: Draw and fire on the target. This time we would go in stages. First, draw and fire one round in three seconds. Then two rounds, then three, and finally four rounds. As you can see, the whole drill took about a minute. As you can see, I was slow. I did, however, land every shot on the sheet of paper.



pistol-training.com » Blog Archive » Drill of the Week: The Wall Drill

The Wall Drill from pistol-training.com.

I’ve talked over and over about it. I’ve even practiced it a few hundred times in the privacy of my empty garage. The Wall Drill. 

It puts your trigger finger and grip under an unforgiving microscope. Read on to find out how. 




Over the past few weeks we’ve worked on getting smoother and faster. Invariably, when shooters focus on their speed they start to lose a certain degree of precision. This week, we will address that with a great dry-fire drill called The Wall Drill.

The Wall Drill was developed by George Harris and is one of the most effective ways to perfect your marksmanship fundamentals.

Like any dry-fire drill, it is critically important that you follow proper precautions. First, you must always obey the Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety even during dry-fire practice. Also, all weapons must be completely unloaded and double-checked before the start of this drill.

Once you have cleared your weapon and verified both visually and physically that it is empty (twice), remove all ammunition from your training area and find a wall that can serve as a proper backstop in case of an accident. The wall should be blank, with no visual distractions and most importantly nothing to “aim” at during the drill.

(pistol-training.com also recommends that you use a snap-cap, such as the A-Zoom Action Proving Dummy sold by Lyman pictured on the right, to protect the internal parts of your handgun from excessive and unnecessary wear)

Holding your unloaded pistol in a normal shooting grip and stance, press the muzzle to the wall until it just barely makes contact, then back off about an inch. Because you are using a blank wall as your backstop, you effectively have no target. There is nothing for you to focus on except your front sight.

From this position, practice your trigger manipulation. The goal is to press the trigger straight back with consistent pressure until the “shot” breaks without disturbing your sight alignment throughout the process. Remember, that is the key to accuracy — a proper trigger press that doesn’t mess up your sight picture.

If your front sight moves around or “hops” as the trigger breaks, slow down and pay more attention to your grip and finger movement. Are you putting pressure on the grip with your other fingers as you press the trigger? Are you pressing the trigger too fast or too hard, causing it to move at the last moment? Just work on keeping everything still except your trigger finger, and move your finger in a slow, smooth, relaxed trigger press.

Work on this for about ten minutes. If you are using a Traditional Double Action gun with both double- and single-action trigger pulls, give equal time to each. Work on this drill three to four times per week for a month. You are guaranteed to see significant improvement in your accuracy.

Also, if you find yourself getting a little too wild at the range during normal practice, and your shots just won’t seem to come together into as tight a group as you want, clear your weapon and work on this drill using a target backer or blank spot on a large target as your “Wall.” Never waste ammo by sending shots downrange in random directions. Whenever your accuracy suffers, spend a little time on the Wall.

This is a dry-fire drill; all weapons must be completely unloaded and double-checked before the start of this drill.

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