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Drill: Dry Fire Fundamentals

Ammunition prices are much higher and selection is much lower this summer and fall. With this being the case, what can we do to keep our skills sharp? The answer is dry fire.

When considering dry fire, realize that almost all of the skills that are needed for good manipulation can be performed without ammunition. Ammunition only confirms our good grip, sight alignment and trigger press the accuracy of a fired round, and helps us learn recoil management. But most of the work that needs to be done (drawing, reloading, transition from target to target and trigger manipulation) can be performed without ammunition.


The most important thing to remember about dry fire, is that it MUST BE DRY! Do not allow any ammunition into the room in which you intend to dry fire. Point your firearm in a safe direction when dry firing. Basements are great for this, as the concrete will likely contain a live round should you make a detrimental error.

Second, make sure that when you finish, there are NO MORE CLICKS! When we end our dry fire session, we end it. It is over and we don't get that "one last click, just to confirm". Once we complete our dry fire, we must mentally switch over to loaded gun mentality. After you load the gun with your defensive ammo, repeat to your self "this gun is loaded" three times.

Targets and time:

Dry fire, just like live fire, should have a standard. Time and accuracy are those standards on the range, but how do they translate to dry fire? We can use tools such as the Dry Fire Par Time Tracker to measure our time from draw to first shot (click). We can use the timer to measure time that a draw, shot, reload, and another shot takes.

When selecting targets, find something that allows you to see where your sights align on the target. Make sure that they are realistic, but take into account the distance at which you will be doing dry fire. The distance may dictate that you use a smaller target to simulate a farther shot. Put up multiple targets so you can practice transitions, drawing to a different threat, and drawing while not squared up to the target.

Creating a Routine:

When doing dry fire, it is a good idea to do some skill sustainment work as well as working a skill to which you are not particularly adept. Start with what you are good at, like the draw, reloads, etc. Then work the skill that you are not good at, such as movement on the draw, single hand manipulation, etc. If you can find a way to combine the two, this will offer you even more value. Just remember to hold yourself accountable for your time standard as well as your sights. If you fool yourself into thinking you are performing well, even though you saw the sights dip as you pulled the trigger, dry fire has nothing to offer. Be objective.

Remember that you can do just about any drill dry that you can perform live!

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