Dealer’s Choice Drill

Dealer's Choice DrillOnce the shooting fundamentals have been mastered, training needs to involve thinking and decision making. We are always looking for drills that can be shot on a static range, even one that doesn’t allow holster draw, that cause the shooter to have to think. The Dealer’s Choice Drill requires precision shooting, decision making, target identification, speed, and is fun!

The Dealer’s Choice Drill takes Tom Givens’ Casino Drill to the next level by providing an almost limitless combination of shooting tasks of varying complexity that require very precise shooting. This makes it ideal for Instructors to use in working on decision making skills with a large group of students. The Instructor calls out what is to be shot.

Some Potential Shooting Choices

  • single card (I.E.: “red 7”)
  • specific card where both red and black must be shot (I.E.: “kings”)
  • combination of cards (I.E.: “red 7 and black king”)
  • odd or even cards (I.E.: “red even” =  red 2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
  • face cards (I.E.: “red face cards” = red king, queen, jack)

An even harder drill is to call out a number and the shooter must decide which cards, of all of them on the target, must be shot to equal the number using Blackjack point values. (I.E.: “27” which could be shot using two face cards and a 7, or a face card, an ace, and a 6, or…)

Making Targets

The first thing you need is a deck of cards divided by suit. One deck will give you enough for two targets with a red and a black suite on each target. (You can get 12 decks for around $10 on Amazon, making the cost per target less than 50¢.) The cards are stapled onto the backer in some ordered pattern, rather than randomly. You’ll discover the Dealer’s Choice Drill is hard enough without having 26+ randomly ordered cards to have to search through. If you are able to master the drill using patterned cards, you can increase the complexity by several orders of magnitude by random positioning.

While there are various card deck printed targets you can buy, I haven’t found a target with an ordered deck of cards. The closest is the Birchwood casey 37026 Eze-Scorer which is 23″x35″ and is $1.00 per target, but the cards are randomly placed and the face cards aren’t pictures. Beware of other targets where the playing cards are substantially reduced in size, making card identification much harder and requiring you to shoot much closer.

Solo Firearm Training

Using an app like Randomizer+ Random Pick Generator – Decision Maker, you can enter a list of all of the combinations you want to shoot and have the app randomly tell you what to shoot each time you press the button.

Distances and Subjective Performance Measurement

Three yards seems to be an ideal distance to shoot the Dealer’s Choice Drill from. It is close enough that shooters should be able to clearly identify the individual cards, yet far enough to make putting accurate hits on each 2.25″ x 3.5″ playing card a challenge.

The drill can be shot from the holster or the low ready position. The time to complete a given firing command is going to be heavily dependent on the number of cards to be shot and the complexity of that command. The best measure is going to be adding the times for a collection of firing commands. By randomizing the order, the collective time for one session can be compared against previous sessions while eliminating speed increases due to memorizing the drill.


We’d love to hear about your experiences with the Dealer’s Choice Drill and any variations you come up with. We have a Facebook page dedicated to the drill for your feedback.