Advanced Handgun Hostage Rescue Drill

| April 17, 2015 | 1 Comments

Last Saturday we attended the advanced handgun training class offered by QSI Training. Most of the day was spent learning how to do one-handed manipulations, but they also covered the hostage rescue drill.

This is something I’ve done several times in class (both live fire and force on force). I’ve performed this drill with a rifle, pistol, and a shotgun. I haven’t done it one-handed yet, maybe that will be for next class.

The Drill

  • Students start 10 feet away from the target.
  • We start off to the side one step, with weapons drawn but in Sul position (pointed straight down).
  • Students are directed to step in front of the target and ask, “what do you want.” This is meant to slow / stop the hostage taker’s movement enough for us to act.
  • The objective is to put two rounds through the nose of the hostage taker. The first one is to defeat the cartilage and skull, the second bullet is to destroy the brain stem. It’s possible the first one can do the job, but we fire twice to be sure.
  • Repeat until the magazine was empty.


The wind and balloon combined for a great challenge. It’s much easier to do this technique against live people, even when the hostage taker knows what’s coming. In force on force training, the hostage knows to not freak out and stay out of the way. A balloon doesn’t.


I imagined the balloon was a child. This added some emotional stress for me, but also helped me take the drill seriously. I didn’t want to explain away any bad performance because it was a super windy day, and who has a giant balloon for a head? I needed to own my performance.


So, own it I will — I was off target and hit the hostage. It happened when I put a shot into the right eye of the target. The balloon moved in front of the hostage taker’s face as I pressed the trigger.

This is bad for two reasons:

  1. I hit the hostage.
  2. Even if I did not hit the hostage, my shot was not on target.

I wonder if I subconsciously looked at the balloon before I pressed the trigger, or if I flinched. Hard to say, especially during the drill.

Practice makes one less imperfect, and the hostage drill is my favorite thing I hate to do. More practice, always more practice.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

1 Comment on "Advanced Handgun Hostage Rescue Drill"

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  1. kyliewyotie says:

    Nice drill, I have never used loons in that manner. I have used them in the past, where they are attached to a string holding the target up. Used to help emphasis proper shot placement, and reaction of a target going down. Looks like a good drill to add.

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