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
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
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.
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.
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.