Sunday, September 29, 2019

Practice 2019: CSAT Standards—Where do you stand?

Every now and then you should test your skills against a recognized standard course of fire.  During my research for another article, I came across an article by Paul Howe of Combat Shooting & Tactics (CSAT) stating that “In the end, I have not seen anyone as fast with optics as they are with iron sights. No one has passed my standards yet with a pistol mounted optical device.” (Note: The article was published in 2016 so this may no longer be the case.)

I decided to shoot the CSAT pistol standards
cold with my every day carry SIG P320 compact that has a Trijicon RMR optic. I used my 135gr reloads that are the equivalent of the Hornady Critical Duty 135gr standard pressure loads and fire to the same point of impact as follows:

The CSAT Standards use the CSAT target shown below which is similar to a USPSA standard target although the CSAT target is slightly larger. From what I can gather, the CSAT is 23″ wide and IPSC is 18″ wide. Since I did not have CSAT targets I used the USPSA target.


CSAT Target


The CSAT pistol standards require 2 targets and I set them at the same height two yards apart. The CSAT pistol standards scoring are pass/fail—only shots in the center box and head of the CSAT target count. At the instructor-level shooter must pass at least 8 of the 10 standards.

The standards are a 25-shot course of fire. All standards are fired from the 7-yard line except #10 which is fired from the 25-yard line as follows:


   -- Standard 1: From the ready fire 1 shot (body) in 1.0 second

   -- Standard 2: From holster fire 1 shot (body) in 1.7 seconds

   -- Standard 3: From the ready fire 2 shots (body) in 1.5 seconds

   -- Standard 4: From the ready fire 5 shots to the body, 1 shot to the head (6 total) in 3.0 seconds

   -- Standard 5: From the ready fire 2 shots (body) on target #1, then 2 shots (body) on target #2 (4 total) in 3.0 seconds

   -- Standard 6: From the ready fire 2 shots weak-hand-only, transition pistol to the opposite hand, 2 shots strong-hand-only (4 total) in 5.0 seconds

   -- Standard 7: Start with an empty chamber, and full magazine inserted. From the ready fire, press out and press the trigger (click), tap/rack, 1 shot (body) in 3.0 seconds

   -- Standard 8: Start with 1 in the chamber, 1 in the magazine; full reload in mag pouch. From the ready fire 2 shots (body), reload from slide-lock, 2 shots (body) in 5.0 seconds

   -- Standard 9: Start with rifle shouldered/ready with an empty chamber. Raise the rifle and press the trigger (click), transition to pistol, 1 shot (body) in3.25 seconds

   -- Standard 10: Standing at 25 yards: From holster, kneel and fire 1 shot (body) in 3.25 seconds

I passed all of the standards except for standard #6. I easily made time and squeaked the one shot to the lower left (at 7:00) of target #1 on the line with my left hand; however, forgot to use strong-hand-only for the second pair of shots so I did not pass.



The CSAT standards are not trivial; however, I personally know a number of shooters who are better than me and who could easily pass them using pistol-mounted red dot sights. 

Pistol-mounted red dots sights are coming into the mainstream of concealed carry and police use. Although a quality red dot is not cheap and it does take practice to master, the red dot will enhance your capabilities as a shooter beyond what traditional iron sights will allow--particularly with precision shots.

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