When was the last time you made it out to the range for live-fire practice? If it's been more than a month or so, I'm willing to bet your mechanics are a bit rusty. I say this because it applies to me, as well as any top-level shooter I have spoken with. Can you think of any sport or complex physical activity that you can go months without practicing and not have your skills diminish in some way? Drawing a gun, moving, taking in visual information, and getting hits quickly and under stress involves a tremendous amount of mental and physical interactions and responses.
There are a host of legitimate reasons you may not have been out to the range in a while. Ammunition availability and cost are real concerns. If you're new to shooting or didn't buy ammunition in bulk when it was available, you are likely grabbing a box or two any chance you get at astronomical prices.
Not everyone gets paid to shoot and so can only get to the range after work or on the weekends. And perhaps your range is far away or has been closed because of COVID restrictions. This hinders your access to shoot. Maybe you only have access to an outdoor range and you live in a region that gets extremely cold. There are a host of reasons to train in cold weather, but it isn't always the most enjoyable range trip.
We all have priorities and while I think being skilled with a handgun is toward the top of my list of priorities, our circumstances are likely different. Those circumstances may drive you to place pistol proficiency lower and thus live-fire gets bumped for higher-priority issues.
Additionally, I want to recognize that some new shooters may be a bit overwhelmed or intimidated when it comes to defensive handgun training. The principles of defensive gunfighting that make it a martial art are much different than what most people who "grew up around guns" have been exposed to. And sometimes the fear of failure can make us not want to begin at all.
But there is a simple solution that can address a whole host of issues related to handgun combatives, and its dryfire practice.
Dryfire is working on and practicing defensive-shooting fundamentals with your unloaded firearm. Before we proceed we will mention that anytime you're using a firearm, you need to follow universal firearm safety rules. Many people have been shot with guns that were supposed to be unloaded, so always know the condition of the firearm and keep ammunition away from your dryfire area.
Here are three tools you can use to improve upon your fundamentals and keep them sharp in-between range trips.
SIRT Training Pistol: The SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger) is an inert, laser emitting, pistol. There are SIRT pistols that are near-identical replicas of common everyday carry (EDC) handguns from manufacturers like Glock, Sig, and M&P. If you have one of these pistols, the SIRT will perfectly fit your existing holster. This means you can work on learning how to draw or refine your draw safely and at any time in your home. Of course, the standard argument that dryfire practice doesn't include recoil and thus is useless falls flat here.
Shot Reporting Software: The most logical product to add to your SIRT Pistol and dryfire toolbox is shot reporting software. I especially like L.A.S.R. X which stands for Laser Activated Shot Reporter. The L.A.S.R. X software works on any computer or mobile device and uses the device's camera to record laser 'hits' and 'misses'. The software offers the most comprehensive set of features amongst similar products on the market. You can run through different modes, challenges working on developing fundamentals and shooting speed. The software will work with any laser emitting product like the SIRT or laser cartridges that activate when the 'primer' is struck by a striker or hammer.
Shot Analyzing Technology: Finally, you should check out all the amazing things that a device called the Mantis X can do. There have been several generations of Mantis devices over the last several years. With each generation adding features that allow the shooter to dissect every micro-movement of the gun before, during, and after the shot. The Mantis X is a tiny device that attaches via the accessory rail on your pistol or a magazine base plate adapter if your handgun doesn't have a rail. The gyroscopic device quantifies movements induced by the shooter as well as recoil angle, recovery time, and everything in between.
The app does a great job of distilling the information into a format that is understandable and useful. Mantis X can be used during dry or live-fire, and there is even an application for archery and long guns. It is full of drills and programs that track your results over time and can show if all that practice is paying off. And the Mantis development team is constantly refining and improving the app and features to provide more value to the user.
So that's it. Three items you can use in conjunction or alone during your dryfire routine. And you're going to want to make it a routine. Your results will improve, and your range sessions will be so much more productive and enjoyable. Get some trigger squeezes in on your lunch break, no more excuses.