Luke 22:36 ……..whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.
For much of the country, the dreary time of year known as winter is in full effect with spring some weeks away. With the cold weather limiting our range time, how are we supposed to improve our skills and become better shooters? Dry fire drills are a great way to hone your skills and get plenty of practice without spending a dime or leaving the comfort of your living room.
Safety is the first thing that must be taken into consideration when dry firing. Always double check to make sure your firearm and any magazines are either empty, or have only dummy ammunition in them. There should be no live ammunition in the room with you when performing dry fire drills.
When performing dry fire drills, you must use good visualization skills and be honest with yourself. Closely watch the front sight and call each shot. Did you get a good sight picture, or are you just going through the motions? I like to work on firearm manipulation drills more than anything when dry firing. These consist of pistol, rifle and shotgun reloads, drawing from a holster or table, drawing while moving and target transitions with all three firearms. These basic skills are the foundation for success in the sports in which I compete.
Dry fire is not only for pistol shooters or 3-gunners. It can be utilized in a variety of shooting disciplines. High Power shooters can time themselves getting into various positions and find out how long it takes to fire that first shot. Benchrest shooters can practice loading and cycling their actions, perfecting their technique to help them get their shots off before the wind conditions change.
Target selection for dry fire drills is very important. Almost all dry fire drills are performed at distances shorter than actual competition. To compensate for this, I use scaled-down targets to replicate the sight picture of a full-size target at competition distances. With my one-third size dry fire targets, my sight picture at 15 feet is the exact same sight picture I see on a regular full-size target at 15 yards. Scaling down dry fire targets allows me to simulate various distances and scenarios inside a limited space. Shooters in other disciplines could do the same thing by placing scaled-down versions of their targets at the end of a room or hallway.
While dry fire is not a substitute for live fire practice at the range, it is a great alternative for those who live in cold weather regions or for those who just don’t want to leave the house but still want to get ready for next season. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.