The absent-minded maestro was racing up New York’s Seventh Avenue to a rehearsal, when a stranger stopped him. “Pardon me,” he said, “can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Yes,” answered the maestro breathlessly. “Practice!”
OK, so practice might not get you to Carnagie Hall, but it will make you a better shooter.
Let’s talk about dry fire training, a method that many of the world’s best shooters still use daily to keep their skills honed to razor sharpness. Many championship shooters are relentless in their training both on and off the range. Being at the highest professional levels has many advantages that neither you, nor I have at our disposal.
For instance access to ranges, sponsorships for ammo and guns, and at the very top levels some pros plain old just get paid to shoot. And yet, they still practice dry firing. I guess once you’ve reached the top you’d like to stay there as long as you can.
For the rest of us with limited funds, time, and range access who still want to get good/better, there’s always Dry Fire Training. It has many useful purposes that can improve your shooting and overall skills. It doesn’t cost much (if anything), and you can do it without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.
At this point I’d like to stress that when you do this, PLEASE be sure your firearms are unloaded, (check it twice, maybe 3 times) it’s best to remove any live ammunition from the room you’re practicing in, and even though you’ve gone through the above steps be sure of your target and beyond.
There are quite a few things you can improve on by using dry fire, here’s just a few.
- Safe and effective gun handling.
- Drawing your weapon from your carry holster, gaining speed in clearing the holster and getting your weapon out without snags or interference.
- Training your muscle memory to constantly bring your gun up to bear upon your target.
- Training yourself to quickly acquire a hasty, but accurate sight picture.
- Pulling the trigger crisply, cleanly, and most of all, accurately.
- Last, but not least, safely re-holstering your firearm.
You can also practice smooth trigger pull exclusively to improve your accuracy. This can be done by placing a spent round or snapcap on your front sight and bringing it to your point of aim on your target and pulling the trigger. I know this one sounds like something out of some martial arts movie where the master challenges you to pull the trigger without upsetting the pebble on your front sight, but it works quite well. I just suggest that maybe you have a few spent rounds on hand to make up for the ones that roll away under the couch.
I know some of you will ask “dry firing, won’t that damage my gun?” With many of today’s striker fired weapons, it won’t cause any undue harm, but there are products out there like snap caps, and targeting devices that will alleviate any concerns and quiet the voice inside your head that keeps telling you dry firing is bad. If your gun of choice is a Glock, GlockStore even offers a reset trigger for their dry fire trainer so you don’t have to keep racking the slide.
There are quite a few trainers on the market, to include one that even works with your smart phone. Simply choose what method or product fits you best, and get to practicing.
I think one of the best benefits you’ll get from this is when you finally decide to head over to the range. If done correctly, you should see a significant improvement in your shooting, and it will only add to your enjoyment there.
Marksmanship, like any skill, diminishes over time if you’re not doing it repetitively and frequently. When you dry fire in the comfort of your own home (safely) it’ll allow you to continue to practice and improve upon your skills without having to spend a bunch of money, or spending a bunch of your free time to frequent the range.
I don’t know about you guys but when I finally do carry my butt to the range it usually turns into an almost all day affair. Dry firing keeps me ready, and I can sneak in a few minutes of practice quite often.
To sum it up, practice practice practice, While it might not make you perfect, it will surely make you better.