This week, we are diving into Friday with a classic pistol drill, the notorious El Presidente. Usually attributed to Jeff Cooper as the creator, this is one you need to master if you want to hang with the cool kids.
The set up is simple. Three threat targets are placed one meter apart (I wish I had double checked that before the video portion of this column), 10 meters from the shooter. The shooter faces up range. On the buzzer, the shooter turns to engage each target with two rounds; then releases the mag, reloads, and engages each target with two rounds once more. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Why is this a staple of pistol training? One good reason, it is a pretty decent test of many skills. You must acquire targets, draw from concealment, and reload. There is much to evaluate for the price of only 12 rounds.
Plus, it does not require a lot of real estate. Meaning that almost any shooting area will work. And the standard par time is 10 seconds, which is not as easy as it looks when you are wet behind the ears.
If you are a competitive shooter, it goes without saying you need to do this drill. It is a standard for both USPSA and IDPA, and I am sure other organizations.
What about the rest of you though? Does this drill still make sense for the tactical crowd with their double-stack duty guns?
Probably not so much. The El Prez was dreamed up when an eight-round 1911 was the gold standard of combat handguns, and it shows.
If you carry a modern, full-sized striker gun it doesn’t make sense to expend one-third of your 17-round magazine and reload to a new one. Changing horses in midstream, so to speak, when the threat is still standing in front of you is a good way to get shot. You guys in California and New York with limited capacity mags can ignore that last bit.
One place El Prez still makes sense, at least for me, is with my concealed carry gun. I am currently carrying a Springfield Armory XD-E, which puts me in single stackland. While there is a low chance of needing to take out three perps in succession, it’s a solid drill for all the aforementioned reasons.
And the added bonus of trying to hit that 10-second mark from concealment gives the drill new life.
If you are heading to the range this weekend, don’t forget the pro timer. If nothing else, a cold run of El Prez should reveal your weaknesses while also giving you an opportunity to fix em.