Skip to main content

Throttle Management and Dot Discipline

Throttle Management and Dot Discipline
“Do everything as fast as you can except for squeezing the trigger.”

I was teaching a class on a range in Germany with some of America’s finest Special Forces soldiers. They were engaging steel with frangible ammunition from their M4s and to their credit, burning it down. I heard one soldier, “Ryan D.,” say, “Throttle management and dot discipline.” This really stuck with me. His description is a great way to get the point across when trying to push soldiers past their self-
perceived limits. I wanted to break this down using his mantra and the description that I would give on a normal range day of training.

Throttle Management 

Students get sick of hearing the description I use over and over, “Do everything as fast as you can except for squeezing the trigger.” This parlays nicely with throttle management. Doing everything with as much speed as you can, slowing down to deliver accurate fire and then getting back on the throttle again. A good case for throttle management is with the draw of a pistol. Get your hand on the pistol as fast as you can. That first move is less important than when your hand finally comes in contact with the pistol and forms the correct grip. Get there quickly, then throttle back and get a good grip on the pistol. Once you have a good grip you can get back on the gas and throttle up to 90-plus percent speed again. Slow slightly to confirm the proper meeting of the hands at position three, then amp up your movement until the sights are on the target and slow to confirm a proper sight picture. Then, squeeze the trigger. This is a simple version of the throttle management mantra as it applies to the simple tactical draw.

Throttle management also applies to driving the gun from one target to the next. For the sake of argument, let’s stick with the carbine-mounted red-dot sight. In this day and age, it seems that every tactical wannabe is coming up with new and better ways. On the ground with combat soldiers, the endstate is still the M4 Carbine mounted with a small red-dot sight. The only variance is how much battlefield-of-view there is through and around the sighting system, its window or lens, and how many knobs are getting in your way when trying to see the target. Some optics have small dots, other larger dots. An EOTech holographic sight has a dot with a large circle around it. Dot size is irrelevant when shooting from 10 yards or closer; Even a large dot will work up close.

In action, we combine throttle management and dot discipline. Throttle management is how fast we can get the carbine on target. Once there, we discern how much dot discipline we need to get a good hit.


We also have to remember mechanical offset on these closer targets. The elevation of the sight is at least 2½ inches above the bore, causing us to hit low at close ranges. Being switched on to this variance, we have to remember how high to hold onto a particular target at Close Quarter Battle (CQB) range. The dot must be driven to the target instead of slowing down as we get close to the desired impact point. We must stop violently on the target, which is key. If you are slowing the movement of your carbine as your dot arrives near the target, you will be slower than the shooter who drives the dot aggressively to the target and then abruptly stops. Once the throttle is shut down, we have to use our dot discipline to make the minute dot correction before the shot is fired. The key to success in driving to another target is having your eyes already prepositioned on the intended target. If your eyes are there, the carbine can be abruptly stopped with precision as the dot arrives at the target. If your eyes are on the dot as you drive the carbine, you will more than likely over-­swing the intended point of impact.


Dot Discipline 

When the dot arrives on target, you must know what is required at that distance. Shooting a 6-­inch plate at 10 yards is much easier and requires less patience than the same plate engaged at 50 or 100 yards. This is where dot discipline really comes to bear.

Along with dot discipline during the shot, there must also be discipline to call your shots. Some would say, “How can this matter at 7 to ­10 yards?” My response is “If you care to engage a target and have good dot discipline, you will see exactly where the dot sits as the carbine fires.” If the dot was not where you wanted, the proper response is to immediately re-­engage — not to stop. Look at the target, access the hit, realize that it’s not sufficient and reacquire. This falls into the “slower-than-molasses” technique.

If you do call a good shot due to your unbelievable dot discipline, then it is time to get violent again. If you call the good shot, the follow-through of your carbine should not bring you back to the target you just engaged — it should start the movement towards the next target. Use throttle management and, if you don’t get it, the throttle should be all the way to the floor when you start to move the carbine.

Too Much Throttle 

If your carbine or pistol isn’t stopping on the target, you have a little too much throttle involved. The dot must drive aggressively and stop abruptly. The round is fired and the sights are driven quickly to the next target. The key is the stop. Some like to flock shoot; As the sights cross the vitals they let the round go. Sometimes they’ll hit the mark, but most often they’ll be short or long. Drive the gun, stop the gun, fire the gun and drive the gun.


Weight Matters 

If you want to be fast, you can’t have a big, heavy carbine. You need to have the wand of death whittled down to a manageable weight. More weight to the middle and rear of the carbine will help. Lots of heavy barrel and gadgetry aren’t what is needed. Working light will allow quicker movement to and from the target. Think Formula 1. The minimum weight allowed for a Formula 1 car is 733 kilograms, or 1,616 pounds. NASCAR stock cars weigh around 3,300 pounds. It’s easy to see the difference when it comes to one car being nimble and the other plowing through the turns. Recoil management would seem to be an issue with the lighter carbine, but it really isn’t. You won’t notice the difference between a 71/2-pound carbine and a 6-pound carbine during recoil. You will, however, notice how fast you can get started and stopped with the lighter bang stick.

Grab some Viking Tactics (VTAC) targets (vikingtactics.com), get your carbine gassed up and start working on your throttle management and dot disciple. This is a skill set that requires much training and maintenance to stay on the ragged edge. Push the gun hard all the time and pay attention to the dot. Throttle management and dot discipline are what America’s finest are doing on remote ranges around this country — and the world. 


Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

Umarex Air Ruger 10/22 Rifle Review

In this segment of "Guns & Ammo TV," Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr head to the range to wring out the Umarex Air Ruger 10/22.

Guns & Ammo TV: Springfield Armory XD-M 10mm

Guns & Ammo TV: Springfield Armory XD-M 10mm

In this “At The Range” segment, Guns & Ammo Editor Eric Poole and Senior Field Editor Craig Boddington look over the features of the XD-M.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

Guns & Ammo TV: Wheelgun vs. Pistol

Guns & Ammo TV: Wheelgun vs. Pistol

In this segment of “Pros vs. Joes,” we put competitive shooter and author James Tarr against Guns & Ammo TV cameraman Nathan Wilt. With handguns, they see who can knock down plates the fastest on two Revolution Targets Heavy Duty Plate Racks. Here's the catch: Tarr has to use a Colt King Cobra in .357 Mag. while Wilt shoots a Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 in 9mm.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle Historical

The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle

Kyle Lamb - January 12, 2018

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.

Springfield Armory's SAINT Edge Pistol may be the best AR pistol on the market.Springfield Armory SAINT Edge Pistol Review Handguns

Springfield Armory SAINT Edge Pistol Review

James Tarr - April 17, 2019

Springfield Armory's SAINT Edge Pistol may be the best AR pistol on the market.

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps.How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and deer; here's everything you need to know to make it work for you..350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know Rifle

.350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Beckstrand - April 02, 2019

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Nothing beats live fire, but when times get tough, we've got to be resourceful. Shooting airsoft, air guns, BB and pellet guns, laser trainers and dryfire all equate to time pressing triggers.Training at Home While Avoiding COVID-19 News

Training at Home While Avoiding COVID-19

Chris Cerino - March 21, 2020

Nothing beats live fire, but when times get tough, we've got to be resourceful. Shooting...

In this Guns & Ammo TV: Appendix Carry Equipment and Training How-To

Guns & Ammo TV: Appendix Carry Equipment and Training

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 14, 2020

In this "At The Range" segment, Contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin and former U.S. Navy SEAL...

Any shooter that takes the time to remove parallax will likely see slightly smaller groups because he's successfully eliminated one more variable from the shooting equation.How to Eliminate Parallax in a Riflescope How-To

How to Eliminate Parallax in a Riflescope

Tom Beckstrand - May 13, 2020

Any shooter that takes the time to remove parallax will likely see slightly smaller groups...

How to improve your shooting while at home.Dry Fire Practice News

Dry Fire Practice

Jeremy Stafford - April 22, 2020

How to improve your shooting while at home.

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now