Another loose round drill with some self-defense training value is the interrupted loading drill. This drill is best run with three of four training partners but two as minimal can work. Shooters start with an empty snub and three loose rounds in their pockets. At a pre determined signal all shooters draw their snubs, go through the “semi-auto” reload manual of arms and start loading each single round as fast as safe handling will permit. Remember to “feather” the cylinder after inserting each round.
The first shooter to load his three rounds closes his cylinder and starts shooting at the target. At the sound of that first shot going off all other shooters must stop loading, close their cylinder “as is” with whatever they have currently loaded in the cylinder and start shooting their targets. Any shooter who did not managed to load even a every single round can continue to load that one round only, but not one more. All shooters must shoot only whatever they managed to load. I find that the first time a shooter hears a shot going off while he is still in the middle of a race-against-time reload reports the effect as equal parts “jarring” and “terrifying.”
The drill is a great motivator and a teaching tool. Most range shooters shoot quickly but reload slowly. Leaning to reload quickly is an important self-defense skill and a great reminder that you are reloading against the attacker’s watch and not yours.
After the shooters have determined their fastest re-loader they can repeat the drill with one small change. The fastest shooter is given a fourth round. He alone is required to load all four rounds before he can close and fire his snub. All other shooters are still required to load their three available rounds. Again at the sound of the first shot going off all shooters still in the middle of a reload must immediately stop, close their cylinders and start shooting their respective target.
The added “handicap” of an extra fourth round for the first string shooter is a bonus for all the shooters. The fastest shooter learns what it is like to load too slowly while the other shooters get a chance to build their reloading speed without the burden of trying to compete against a shooter they already know is a faster reloader than they are.
I usually run these drills a total of three times with the fastest shooter from the third shooting string also being given a fourth round. This advantage encourages the other shooters to really put on the speed now that they know the fastest two shooters in the class are required to load four rounds to their three, and it drives the fastest two shooters to put on the speed in order to “out-load” the only other shooter in the class who is on par with them for reloading speed.