Why dry fire? Why not just live fire to train instead? When should you live fire instead of dry fire? I get asked this questions by people interesting in shooting all the time, it doesn’t matter if you shoot USPSA, IDPA, if you are a LEO, or a person carrying a concealed firearm and you want to be proficient with your weapon.
Dry fire is where 99% of your improvements and skill building will come from, live fire just confirms it. I can’t afford to only live fire, and I don’t think my wrists, elbows, shoulders and hands would be able to handle the amount of live fire necessary to become nationally competitive. I have been dry firing for about 10 years now, but only recently since coming back to the sport did I make a change on how I dry fired. I was very accuracy focused coming from my LEO career, but my speed is lacking. For years I only focused on the trigger press, and it has gotten me to A class, but to continue on I need to work on manipulations, transitions and movement. If you don’t have them both Ben Stoeger’s Dry-Fire Training: For the Practical Pistol Shooter, and Steve Anderson’s Refinement and Repetition, Dry-fire Drills for Dramatic Improvement should be required reading.
Since my last post I have been to the range for live fire twice and done some intermittent dry fire. I need to step up the dry fire, but the things I need to work on in dry fire are slightly different than what I am working on in live fire. A couple of things in my life have been distracting me from training the way I should.
I hit the indoor range shortly after I got off work. I had several different targets with me. The targets I have been using are from Pistol-Training.com, tacticalperformancecenter.com, or HaleyStrategic.com (link to download halfway down page). I generally choose targets with multiple small objects and then shoot them at speed doing small transitions and multiple shots per object. As I can’t draw or reload, I generally focus on grip, trigger control and seeing what I need to make the shot.
My goals yesterday was to ensure that I had a good grip, that I wasn’t closing my eyes when shooting (a problem I continue to grapple with), and seeing what type of sight picture I could get away with at various distances.
Joined the local indoor range, the Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota. For just over $20 a month I get a key card and can shoot as much as I want whenever the range is open. Only down side is that I can’t draw, but I can live with that.
I went in and had a plan of drills that I could do on the square range. Everything was timed accuracy standards, and I used my timer and just started from low ready. As I hadn’t shot in almost 2 months, I pushed the target back to 25 yards and shot a magazine for groups. This sucked. I forgot how much harder it is to see perfectly in an indoor range. I had a four inch circle for a target and it wasn’t pretty. I also wasn’t gripping the gun hard like I should have.
I reset and hardened the f-up and gripped the gun and the next magazine was all 17 rounds in the 4″ circle. Much better!