Would you like to improve your abilities with a firearm? What does it take to im-prove? Lots of rounds down range? We’ve seen many shooters plinking and having fun, but not improving their skills. Taking a class on firearms training? Absolutely, a class taught by a knowledgeable instructor can be very worthwhile, but may also cost in the hundreds of dollars and probably some days from work to attend. What if I told you that you could improve your firearms skills for just 10 cents and for a few minutes a day?
If you really want to improve your firearm skills, dry fire practice is one of the most cost effective methods available. Although you will be practicing with an unloaded firearm, there is always the risk of accidentally firing the weapon. See side bar for safety considerations.
THE BIG THREE
Before choosing a dry fire exercise you need to determine what needs to improve in your shooting abilities. We can generally break it down into three categories, accuracy, speed, and weapon manipulation. To be a great shooter you will need all three, but to facilitate the learning process we will focus on each of the attributes individually.
Being able to hit the intended target with a firearm really distills down to three simple steps: Find the target, align your sights on the target, and keep them aligned until the bullet leaves the barrel.
Trigger control is one of the most important skills to attain, in order to improve accuracy. Hastily whacking the trigger, in an attempt to mimic fast shooters, will usually result in moving the sights off the target before the bullet leaves the barrel. A smooth, steady press to the rear will provide a better opportunity for an accurate shot.
Simple? Certainly. But simple does not mean easy! Most people can find the target with little difficulty. And many people can also align their sights on the target. But a large number of shooters find it difficult to follow step three. Today’s dry fire drill will assist in making step three easier.
An untrained shooter will generally place too much of their finger on the trigger. We recommend using the pad of the forefinger under the center of your fingernail. If you need more leverage because of a heavy trigger pull or a finger strength issue you can shift the finger over to align the trigger with the pad closer to the first joint.
Using a visually and physically verified unloaded gun, balance a dime on your front sight. Assume a shooting grip and stance. With your gun pointed in a safe direction press the trigger directly to the rear until the hammer/ striker drops. The goal is to keep the coin balanced during the entire sequence. Five minutes of this drill a couple of times per week should have a significant effect on your shooting. If your handgun has both double and single action make sure to practice the drill with both the double and single action trigger pull.
So how will you know if dry fire helps your ability to shoot accurately? Before implementing your dry fire practice routine, do a simple test. One of our favorite accuracy warm up drills is to draw a three-inch circle on a blank sheet of paper. Begin shooting at the three yard line. Fire two rounds into the circle, slow fire with no time limit. The goal is to make a ragged hole in the center of the circle. Then move back and complete the drill shooting two rounds at the 5, 7, 10 and 15- yard line. Measure your grouping. Hopefully all of your rounds are inside the circle. After a few weeks of your dry fire practice, retake the test and compare your results. We are betting that you will see an improvement in your shooting accuracy. There are times when scarcity of ammo, or the price of ammo can be a deterrent to actual live fire shooting, but if you are serious about improving your shooting ability, there is no excuse to not dry fire practice. Add this trigger control drill to your training, we think that you will be pleasantly surprised with your results.
See you on the range!