"It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that.
It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
- Paul “Bear” Bryant
Just the other day, a co-worker asked me about the hours of the shooting range. I informed him of the available times to which he replied, “Ok cool, I just want to come out there every day and shoot like two or three magazines.” I responded with a blank stare of disbelief and then quickly realized an opportunity to spread the good word of dry fire had presented itself.
Before we dive into the why and how of dry firing we need to talk about SAFETY!One of the pros of dry fire is the ability to do it anywhere which leads us head first into one of the cons of dry fire: pressing the trigger on a pistol somewhere other than the shooting range. It is imperative to double and triple check that your pistol is clear and all live ammo is removed.There should be absolutely no live ammo in your magazines, range bag or even in the same room as you.
Now, on to the why and how.Dry fire training is a great tool because of the monetary and time savings that it offers. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I was fortunate enough to attend multiple firearms trainings where we shot thousands of live rounds, all at the expense of my employer.These trainings were directly responsible for my development from an average pistol shooter to an above average shooter. However, does the typical shooter have the economic means to shoot thousands of rounds and hundreds of spare hours for training? I think it is safe to say no. Dry firing allows you to train “smarter” and not “harder”. Dry firing allows the shooter to observe exactly what the pistol is doing throughout the trigger press. You won’t be distracted by the noise and recoil of the pistol. This allows you to focus on a trigger press and sight picture that is appropriate for the distance and difficulty of the shot. See more by doing less!
The only gear you need to start is your pistol and holster, a couple empty magazines, a shot timer, targets and a positive mental attitude. In true internet form, there are countless amounts of dry fire drills available. I highly recommend Dry-Fire Reloaded by World and National Champion Practical Shooter Ben Stoeger available at www.reddirtshootingsports.com. I can honestly say this book took my training and shooting to a level I did not think was possible. It taught me to view dry firing as the time to learn and live fire as the test of my learning. After shooting a match or live fire session, I look for the skills where I struggled and target them in my next dry fire session. It a very short amount of time I was able to became very competitive at local matches and city championships.
Whatever dry fire training program you choose to follow, make sure it includes the following main points:
- Grip the pistol firmly and correctly every time. Build correct muscle memory!
- Develop a true Nature Point of Aim – Look at any given spot, draw and aim while having the sights show up in near perfect alignment.
- Learn to handle the pistol smoothly and efficiently.
- Learn to pull the trigger straight to the rear, without disturbing the sight alignment. I like to visualize that I am trying to touch my nose with my trigger finger
- Push your speed to failure point to find how fast you can go. You will be surprised!
- Build habits that make you successful with real bullets. Ingrain correct specific habits into your subconscious (muscle memory).
- Self-analyze: If you are pushing so hard you are unable to get a correct rep, you are probably going too fast for your skill level. If you have the occasional screw up, but are generally able to pull it off then you are “dialed in”.If every rep is “perfect” (after quality skills are acquired) you aren’t pushing yourself or advancing your skill level.
- Have fun! Practice with a friend or better yet, your spouse! They may see something you can’t or are aware of.
- Consistency: Even in our busy lives most of us can find 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a week we can set aside for dry firing. I firmly believe in the 1 to 5 ratio, meaning for every one live round I fire, I will put in at least five dry fire trigger presses. For example, if I log 500 dry fire trigger presses Monday-Friday then I get 100 live rounds to test those skills learned in dry fire.
- #EarnYourLiveFire – Put in the work in dry fire and enjoy the forthcoming success when you live fire at your next match or plinking session with friends.
Oh yeah, in case you were wondering I still haven’t see that co-worker at the range….