Dry-fire practice is done with an unloaded gun. Check it for open and clear, check and double check that the magazine is empty, and manually clear the chamber before you start. Make sure there’s no live ammo in the same room. Then, treat the weapon like it’s loaded and don’t point it at anyone (even yourself) or anything you’re not willing to destroy. Do not cut corners with safety during dry fire.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Industry experts are all over the place when it comes to dry fire. Some say do it all the time, others say keep your practice real with live fire, and then there are those who argue that you should buy snap caps to prevent damage to the firing pin. We’re not getting into that part of it today. Instead, if you’re into dry-fire practice, here are three things you must do every time you dry-fire your unloaded pistol to improve your marksmanship during live fire.
1. Take It Into Slow-Mo
Slowing down your movements requires that you think about what you’re doing, and any time you’re facing accuracy issues, going into slow-mo can help you pay attention to every little detail so you can correct deficiencies. Start with your foundation (stance), your balance (weight slightly forward), and finally, your draw (from concealment or holster). Going into slow motion with your drawstroke should help you identify any deficiencies, such as sweeping your non-dominant hand or, in the case of drawing from concealment, sweeping to your rear or sides. Stay mindful of every single aspect of your stance, balance, and drawstroke, and don’t practice the draw until you’ve corrected safety and technique issues repetitively. It’s true that practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. Commit each and every little movement to muscle memory.
2. Focus on Sight Picture
Once you’ve established eye dominance and determined what your next-step shooting goals are (speed or accuracy), it’s time to perfect your sight picture. The act of drawing your firearm should always end when you come to an acceptable sight picture. Well, let’s call it an “accurate” sight picture (ASP). When you’re drawing for practice, if you don’t end your draw with an ASP, you’re wasting your time. It doesn’t matter how fast you get if you can’t accurately hit a target after you draw. Get that front sight in focus, target and rear sights blurred, with every draw. Commit that to muscle memory with lots of repetition, paying close attention to proper stance and grip. If you find any of your fundamentals suffering, slow it way down and start over. There’s no need to speed up until you’re drawing flawlessly in slow-mo.
3. “Trouble-Shoot” Trigger Control
Once you’ve come to an ASP without safety or technical errors and you’re happy with your speed, add in a slow-motion dry fire. You can employ snap caps or spent cartridges if you’re worried about wear and tear on your firing pin. You can also balance a spent casing or a penny on your front sight as you maintain your sight picture and complete the trigger pull. If the casing falls, check your grip and finger placement and practice slowly until you can keep the muzzle stable enough to keep the casing from falling. Practice that trigger pull perfectly until you’re ready to add in drawing to ASP, and start the entire movement over again in slow motion. Speed will come with muscle memory, but that takes daily practice.
Texas Personal Firearms Training instructors use dry-fire for their own training and practice regimens. Contact us today to customize your training program so you can improve your accuracy and speed in just 15 minutes a day.