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Triangle Tactical - USPSA | 3 Gun | IDPA | Competitive Shooting

Sep 20, 2017

There's a good chance you're reading this wondering to yourself "What is a drop step?" You're most certainly not alone. In the gif below, notice how I step out of the second box, and push off with my foot? That's a drop step.


Some people say they’re okay in certain circumstances, others say that they’re never any good, and somewhat recently I came across an internet argument where people were making all sorts of claims (good and bad) about the drop step.

So, naturally, I figured this would be a great junk science episode.

I threw it out to the Patrons a week or so ago, and asked how I should test it. Initially, I thought I would only need to test it while making a short step into a box. Something with a starting position like “Standing with toes on marks, outside the shooting area”, then on the buzzer, I’d just take a single step into the box.

However, the Patrons brought a great idea that I hadn’t thought about, and that was that it could also be beneficial on longer movement, as it might help you get up to speed faster, so I did another drill with two boxes, one 10’ in front of the other (about 4 steps), and tested the drop step vs. a regular step there too.

Here's a link to my raw data if you want to nerd out on it. It's also my terrible chicken scratch, so good luck deciphering it.

Step into box:

Drop Step Average (mean): 1.2527 sec

No Drop Step Average (mean): 1.2427 sec

In this instance, not drop stepping is 1 hundredth of a second faster. Being that this is junk science, that's basically nothing. 

4 Steps into box:

Drop Step Average (mean): 2.1390 sec

No Drop Step Average (mean): 2.1409 sec

2.139 vs. 2.14? Yeah, that's a wash too.

Hard Left Lean:

Drop Step Average (mean): 4.578 sec

No Drop Step Average (mean): 4.448 sec

Now this is interesting. 0.13 seconds faster by NOT using a drop step? Very interesting. I wonder if it'll show the same thing going the other direction?

Hard Right Lean:

Drop Step Average (mean): 4.5583 sec

No Drop Step Average (mean): 4.4825 sec

.07 faster again, NOT using a drop step.


This is pretty interesting stuff. When doing the drop step in most every instance, they *felt* faster, but as we know things that feel fast aren't always fast.

On this given day, with this given shooter (me) drop steps are basically a wash moving forward, and actually a bit slower on lateral movement.

Have an Idea for a Junk Science episode?

If so, shoot me an email to, and put the words Junk Science in the subject line.