DRYFIRE: THE TIME IS NOW
What the hell is dryfire? Well, dryfire or sometimes called dry practice, no not what you used to with your high school sweetheart, is a method of training weapons manipulation without using live ammunition. There are about a million videos out there teaching you how to dryfire but there are relatively few that offer you drills and targets to practice on. Typically, you are encouraged to tape small cardboard cutouts all over a wall or like I’ve heard from more than a few Pro-Level 3-gun shooters to “just aim at your light switches and doorknobs”. Seeing as your spouse or significant other probably doesn’t appreciate that type of décor and running around your place like a coked-up 3 gunner violates common dryfire safety rules we figured there has to be a better way. Hence why we created our Free Dryfire Drills Training Module. That’s really just a fancy way of saying we made a video with a crapload of target variations for you to practice dryfire on.
Please read through the dryfire rules at the end of this article or in the video description on YouTube before you begin.
Dryfire Training Module
The Dryfire Training Module offers 163 target sequences over 26 minutes, some with single or multiple targets. The targets will be your visual cue to begin your draw or start your presentation. We have some music playing in the background which you can mute if it’s not to your taste. The variation of target looks is quite broad. You will have single targets from 3 seconds on screen to 1.5 seconds. You will have 6 seconds to make ready and holster between sequences. No need to rush when holstering, that’s a bad habit to create. If that’s not enough time to get it done no big deal, just wait for the next rep. No one ever won a gunfight by holstering fast, it’s much more likely they did however put a hole where they didn’t need one. When there are multiple targets, the time does increase past 3 seconds. Multiples go from doubles all the way up to a hextuple [six targets]. There is also randomized positions and times, shoot/ no shoot, scrolling, and a bonus round. The practice culminates with a few larger and easier targets as a cool down for you to finish strong. The size of the targets will depend on what screen you are displaying on and whether or not you’re in full screen mode. You will notice that there is a much smaller inner ring to each target so we encourage you to aim small, not just inside the larger outer ring. You can also stand further or closer to the screen to adjust how challenging the target is. Displaying on a TV, computer, tablet, or phone will offer you different difficulty.
We left out auditory cues as auditory exclusion can happen under duress. A few years back, during an Experiential Learning Lab with Craig Douglas, I witnessed a man who had a significant amount of firearms training go through a simulation. I won’t give up the details of the setup but it led to one of the role players screaming repeatedly in this man’s face, “Drop your gun! I’m a cop!” He was indeed playing the part of a police officer and his badge was in plain sight. The man did not drop his gun, he was experiencing auditory exclusion, defined as temporary loss of hearing which can occur under high stress situations. It’s kind of like tunnel vision for the ears. The man who seemed unable to drop his gun had the spell broken when “the cop” finally broke character and placed a simmuntions round on his forehead much to everyone’s amusement; yes, he did have protective gear on. Though shot timers are used in competition and auditory beeps are used to start the action, we clearly can’t always rely on our ears, therefore we decided to forego putting in audio cues.
For those of you who are experienced with dryfire and just want to get to work you can skip ahead to the action as the target series begins at a touch after the five-minute mark, the intro explains some of the things in this article. This video is something that was designed to give you a strong 10 – 15 minute daily practice. Something you can come back to again and again as long as you have an internet connection. It’s best to watch it on YouTube as we have a chapter breakdown there so you can skip to your desired sections or areas where perhaps you need more work.
Why should I dryfire?
Do you want to suck less at operating your firearm and improve your marksmanship? Well, there is your answer. It is currently May of the year 2021 and our second amendment rights are under a flurry of attacks by the new administration, they usually are, but even more so now. The combinatorial factors of cities defunding their police forces, being forced to do less policing, being afraid of the ramifications of appropriate levels of policing, mask-wearing being a commonplace thing because of the pandemic, people not being as gainfully employed as they were over a year ago because of lockdowns, among other things has crime skyrocketing. As a justified reaction we have seen several million new gun owners join the 2A community. Those new ammunition demands along with the surge of ammunition procurement and hoarding of long-established gun owners has the market struggling to have supply catch up to demand; simple economics in a strange time. Thusly, the price of ammunition is being driven up — way up! Other compounding factors associated with the pandemic, such as intermittent supply chain issues, raw materials price increase, and inflation have an already expensive way of life becoming damn near unaffordable for a lot of people. Seeing that dryfire is a costless way of improving your skills, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. You also don’t have to spend time and money driving to the range.
The thing you’re going to be missing with dryfire is the recoil, but recoil management is only one of the component parts of shooting. The other component parts, in terms of pistol shooting, are: stance, draw, presentation, target acquisition, sight alignment, grip, trigger press, magazine changes or reloads, clearing and fixing malfunctions, holstering, follow through, safety manipulation [if you have a manual safety], etc. Seeing as we can practice all of those things with no money spent and also no hearing lost seems like a pretty good deal. If you practice dryfire correctly and effectively, you will become a better shooter. Most of the really good shooters I know, including the Godfather, Mr. Jerry Miculek himself, strongly recommend a consistent dryfire practice. If all the good shooters do it, there must be something to it. There is also some good evidence in an article by Tom Givens, see source below, which I will paraphrase here. In the 1970s the South African government was facing the U.N. arms embargo which prevented them from importing ammunition. They could also not produce enough to supply their demand. So, the S.A. Army ran a little experiment to see if they could reduce their ammo usage. Their control group got their standard allotment of ammunition and the experimental group received none until their qualification. The experimental group dryfired only, whereas the control group went about business as usual. Come qual day the experimental group fired their first live shots and when the smoke cleared and the counts were tallied, they ended up doing slightly better than those who had been practicing with live ammunition. Now this is not to say that if this experiment were run several more times the results wouldn’t change; however, it does show sufficient proof that dryfire practice can be equally effective to live fire practice. Even if it were to say hold a 70 – 80% efficacy rate of live fire it would still prove well worth the time and effort. By the time you get to the range then you’re really just focusing more on recoil management and perhaps shot cadence.
As previously stated, there are a lot of articles and videos teaching you how to dryfire practice, some are great and some aren’t, so choose carefully. That said we hope you enjoy the video and find it a useful and fun tool to improve your skills. If you have any feedback, you can leave it in the article comments or on the YouTube video comments and we will consider making a part 2 if there is enough interest and suggestions. We also encourage you to check out our Undertac Infantry Boxer Briefs if you haven’t already. They feature a Quick Release fly which makes it about 1,000 times easier to zip, flip, and do your business whether you’re concealed carrying, wearing a competition or duty belt, or full kit. They also feature an Escape and Evasion Pocket on the back of the waistband that appears to be a tag. It can hold a few hundred dollars, Kevlar string, ceramic razor blades, handcuff keys, or other escape implements. All handy tools if you’re traveling or are in a potentially dangerous situation. They were purpose built for special forces operators which have arguably the highest standard in the world and they seem to love them so we think you will too. You can support us by picking up a pair of the best men’s underwear here. That way we can continue to spend time and effort providing awesome training tools and great information, and perhaps maybe a little ammo of our own. Now get to dryfiring! Your life or the lives of your loved ones may one day depend on the skills acquired.
A couple points to keep in mind. Some of which are borrowed/paraphrased from Tom Givens of Rangemaster, thanks Tom you’re awesome. If you all get the chance to train with Tom do not hesitate!
1. Dry fire should be limited to one designated area if at all possible. It should be done towards a wall or other fixture that can stop bullets in case there is a negligent discharge. If you don’t have a safe area or wall, putting body armor up behind your target should suffice as a back stop.
2. No ammunition in your practice area. When you enter your practice area clear your gun, no spare mags in pockets, or anything like that. Take all ammunition to another room and then clear your gun again once you go to practice. Triple check it.
3. Start out at 10-15 minutes per day, you can work up from there. No sloppy repetitions. You don’t want to be learning mistakes because they are hard to unlearn. If you get sloppy, stop for the day.
4. If you get interrupted, begin your clearing and checking procedure from scratch, start all over. This is a possible point for an accident if you do not.
5. There are two potentially dangerous times during your practice. At the beginning and at the end. The beginning would be you didn’t clear correctly. The end because you are thinking just one more rep and without thought would put in a live mag. The best defense against the latter is to say out loud when you are finished. “My practice session is over. I am done. No more practice.” The end of the training module will prompt this. Lock your slide back, leave your firearm in the practice area and take a break. Come back a little later and either put your gun away or if you are going out and loading your gun say out loud, “This gun is now loaded” as you do so and put it in your holster.
Yea, I know, sounds a bit silly, but it will likely prevent you from having any accidents, and that is not silly.
****RECOMMEND PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION IN ALL ASPECTS AND AT ALL TIMES. ANYTHING YOU DO OR PERFORM IS AT YOUR OWN RISK***