Benefits of Dry Firing


January 6, 2013, 08:20 AM
The other day I found my old score book for when I competed in PPC. Kind of fun to go through and remember the different cities, states and countries in which I competed. For fun, I decided to fire a match, my first one in over twenty years. I made sure I had enough ammunition on hand to fire two complete matches, my competition revolver, and all the other paraphernalia one uses at these matches.

For those of you who don’t know the course of fire, it goes like this.

Match A, 12 shots in 25 seconds at 7 yards, offhand.

18 shots in 90 seconds, 6 kneeling, 6 standing left barricade, 6 right standing barricade, 25 yards.

Change targets

Match B 24 shots, 2minutes 45 seconds, 6 prone, 6 sitting, 6 standing left barricade, 6 standing right barricade, 50 yards.

6 shots, 15 seconds, offhand, 25 yards.

This is normally fired twice for a total of 60 shots and a possible score of 1200-120x. My average was in the 1140s with 80+x’s. For my convenience, I decided to only fire 60 shots. All shots were double action.

So, during the first week in December, I grabbed my B27 targets and the rest of my gear and head out to the range. No practicing, no dryfiring, just belt up, load the speedloaders and start the timer. Also different from a “real” match, I was going to score the target after each phase.

My first phase score 120-4x. Not bad

Second phase 168-2x

Third phase 210-6x

Fourth phase 41-0x

Total 539-12x, not to shabby after a twenty year absence. I packed up my gear and headed home for the second part of the experiment.

For the next six days, I took my revolver and dryfired 60 shots a day. I used no target, just a blank wall as all I was trying to do was improve my trigger pull and sight picture. If the sights moved while I was drawing through the pull, I would hold the trigger, readjust the sights, and then complete the pull. The following week, I returned to the range.

Here are the scores for the second “match”

First phase 120-10x

Second phase 170-10x

Third phase 221-11x

And finally 56-1x for a total of 568-32x.

After dryfiring, my groups were tighter and consistent on the target. My scores went up and more importantly, so did my X count. While I am not at my previous average, I am confident that were I to shoot it again after another week of dryfiring, I would easily attain that score.

So for those of you wondering about dryfiring, try it. Take your pistol and sight at a blank wall. If the sights move during your trigger pull, the shot was wide of the mark. It only takes a little practice until you see the sights settling in and your trigger pull improving.

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Old Fuff
January 6, 2013, 08:35 AM
This doesn't come as any surprise to me. All of the top competitors I knew - as well as most others - kept in trim by dry firing. Not only did their scores improve but the double-action trigger pull got smoother as the lockwork burnished at the contact points. Over a number of years a number of instructors I trained with would post a blank piece of paper and then have they're students fire a string. Often the results were better then when the target was faced.

So far as dry firing is concerned it's critical that the shooter focus on, and pays attention to the sights and what they are doing. Otherwise you are just going through the motions.

Last but not least, it's the most economical practice you can do, and as ammunition costs keep going up, dry firing as a training tool becomes more important.

January 6, 2013, 08:52 AM
I have never seen a gun damaged by dry fire except for an old .22 of my fathers where the firing pin peened the rear of the cylinders. I still teach manual of arms with snap caps though.

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