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how to dry fire practice

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by JBrady555, Dec 14, 2012.

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  1. JBrady555

    JBrady555 Member

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    This may sound dumb to a lot of you guys, but I was wondering how I am supposed to use dry fire practice to become a more accurate shooter? Could someone explain the whole process/steps of dry fire practice and how it will help me become more accurate. thanks for any info.
     
  2. Japle

    Japle Member

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    Set up a small target. A 1” dot at 20 feet will do.

    Use a firm grip, but not tight enough to make you shake; about like a firm handshake.
    Line up the sights.
    Take up the slack in the trigger and put some pressure on the trigger. This is called “prepping the trigger”.
    When the sight picture looks good, pull the trigger straight back, smoothly, with no hesitation.
    Note where the sights were when the hammer fell. This is called, “calling the shot”.
    Hold the sights on the target after the hammer falls. This is called, “follow-through”.

    Pay attention to whether the sights moved when the shot broke. They shouldn’t move at all. If they move, you’re twitching (flinching) or you’re not pulling the trigger straight back.

    There’s a lot more to it than that, but it’s enough to get you started. I’m not going to get into breath control. Look it up.

    Until you get a solid grasp of trigger control, calling the shot and follow-through, you'll always be a second-rate shooter.
     
  3. TX_QtPi

    TX_QtPi Member

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    Japle, gave you a great reply. About the only thing I would add is to protect your gun.

    Get a set of snap caps. They are very affordable and easily found.

    Some models can handle dry fire some really can't.
     
  4. JBrady555

    JBrady555 Member

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    I heard that centerfire guns were ok to dry fire. Are some not? Will my Ruger P95 be ok dry firing without caps?
     
  5. oldbear

    oldbear Member

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    Japle has offered an excellent opinion on dry-firing practice. the only thing I will add is always unload the firearm to be used in a different area or room than you will be dry-firing in. Don't ask me how I learned this lesson:eek:.
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The Ruger will be fine without snap caps, as will almost any centerfire. Some revolvers with hammer mounted firing pins, many shotguns, most rimfires and a few other designs should not be dry fired. If in doubt check the owners manual or call the manufacturer.

    Been dry firing for 45 years, never owned a snap cap and never had a problem. I have some guns that must have been dry fired 100,000 times.

    You will know if everything is right because you will know if the gun moved prior to the gun snapping. Cannot tell when live firing because of recoil.
     
  7. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Two other things you can add are:

    Balance a dime on the slide of the gun as near the muzzle end as possible and try to keep the dime on the gun while dry firing.

    Get a laser, either rail mounted if your gun has one, or trigger guard mounted. The cheapest laser you can find will do. Practice keeping the laser on target during the trigger pull.

    The most common mistake people make is they will get the sights lined up on target and think to themselves, "This is it, I have perfect aim, I need to make the gun fire now!" Wrong thinking will lead you to jerk the trigger and pull the gun off target during the shot.

    I teach that holding and aiming the gun will usually result in a natural figure 8 movement, hopefully with the target in the center of the figure 8. As the gun begins to move towards being aimed at the bullseye, begin to squeeze the trigger. With practice, a person will learn when the trigger will break and can get their timing such that it breaks naturally as the gun "flow through" the bullseye. It should be a relative surprise when the gun fires, the object is not to make the gun fire, the object is to squeeze the trigger with pulling the gun or jerking the trigger.

    As you squeeze the trigger, if the gun does not fire as it "flows through" the bullseye, just keep that constant pressure on the trigger and allow the gun to complete it's circle. As the gun moves towards the bullseye again, begin to increase the pressure on the trigger until it fires as it passes through the bullseye again. Practice enough and the transition to rapid drawing and accurate firing will actually be fairly easy.

    A laser can help see this movement.
     
  8. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

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    My shooting got quiet a bit more accurate when I started dry firing with a laser. You learn much better ways to control your trigger squeeze when you can see a laser bouncing around from the pull. The dime tricks works just as well only takes more patience since you balance the dime on the barrel. I use the dime method quiet a bit with rifles since they are easier to balance in the prone but never on a handgun.
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    If you are dryfiring to improve your sight picture, lose the target. Instead use a blank or uniform colored wall and concentrate on the sights. Keep dryfiring and concentrating until the sights do not move out of aligment during the squeeze. If you use something as a target, you will concentrate on that instead of sight alignment.
     
  10. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I'm not a fan of using lasers very much during dry fire. The fundamentals of good shooting are trigger control and sight picture, so your dry fire regime ideally works on both. Worse, getting used to watching the laser may get you in the habit of watching the target, not your sights, but it's your sights that tell you everything you need to know.

    Likewise, the coin drill is good for rudimentary training of the trigger pull, but it's weak on sight picture. Check out my vid below - good trigger control, but sight picture might or might not be on:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmy5mkjpUNI

    Getting rid of the target works on trigger control and sight alignment, but the target can become a distraction during live fire if you've not trained yourself deal with it as part of the sight picture, so it'd be a good idea to include a target here and there during your dry fire drills.
     
  11. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    I started dry firing approximately ten years ago. I tr to do a little dry firing at least once or twice a week for just a couple minutes. No need for a marathon session. I practice aiming at the wall, more pin-point targets, and so on. Variety. I practice with my weak hand as well. I work on front sight and follow-through. The end result is that my shooting has improved tremendosuly over the past decade. I hve saved money on ammo, I don't burn through my ammo supply like I used to, my handguns aren't exposed to as wuch wear and tear and I've become a better shot and I have gotten better at manipulating my pistols. I also practice dry firing from different positions such as sitting, kneeling, one handed and son on. I also work on my draws.

    I agree with other posters that you should pruchase snap caps as well. Just be safe. Good advice from earlier posters as well.
     
  12. Japle

    Japle Member

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    That's the truth! I managed to set off a Ruger .22 pistol in my off-campus apt in college. That gun was NOT loaded. I had checked it. Then I got distracted and put it down for a few minutes. When I picked it up again, it had loaded itself.

    That was over 40 years ago. Since then, if a gun leaves my hand, even for a second, I check it.

    Trigger control:

    There are three basic ways to pull the trigger.

    a) Line up the sights and as soon as your sight picture looks perfect, close both eyes and yank the trigger. This is the most common technique I see at the range.

    b) Line up the sights and as soon as your sight picture looks perfect, start the trigger squeeze. When the sights wander, stop squeezing and get that perfect sight picture again. Resume your trigger squeeze. Repeat until your eyes blur and you run out of air and start shaking. When you can't take it anymore, close both eyes and yank the trigger. Also a very common technique.

    c) Line up the sights and as soon as your sight picture looks perfect, pull the trigger straight back smoothly, with no hesitation. When the gun fires, the sights may have moved a little, but the shot will still be a good one. With practice, you can compress your trigger squeeze into shorter and shorter times.
    This technique is pretty rare, from what I see at the pistol range, but is normal among top steel shooters and others who need to shoot fast and accurately.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  13. wally

    wally Member

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    One of the best uses for a cheap laser sight is for dry fire practice.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    This is one of the ultimate truths about shooting accurately.

    Like much of shooting learning to Dry Fire correctly is a progression of the skill rather than a goal.

    I agree completely with the above, you need to be able to hold the sights stable while pressing the straight to the rear.

    When you can do that fairly consistently, you then need to learn to shorten the lag time between perceiving the aligned sights on the target and your trigger press. This is a different style of Dry Fire than the first.

    At the same time, you'll need to practice learning your index on the target on the presentation...to prevent hunting for the sights as you bring your gun up.

    While you can practice them all at the same time (in the same drill) it really is more effective to separate the skills. It is like practicing the Draw or the Reload as 4 separate motions
     
  15. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Member

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    Both NavyLCDR and Japle have given good advice.

    The one I was taught for live fire, as well as dry fire was "c" on on post #12 by Japle. I have been using this technique most, if not all, my life. And I can do pretty well on a silhouette target at 25 yards with it. With 9/10 shots in the vitals area. On average. Even with only one hand/arm to use.
     
  16. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    OK, let me take this from the top...

    Let's start with the most elementary dry fire. Find a nice, blank wall. Yes, I said blank. Aim at it. Align the sights. Concentrate on the sight alignment. Now, smoothly build pressure on the trigger. Allow the shot to release. If the sights moved out of alignment when the shot broke, that round would have gone wild. Adjust your trigger finger position, maybe your grip. Repeat. Repeat again...and again. Do this 10-20 rounds per day, every day.

    Then, put up a target. Aim at the target. Repeat the first exercise, but trying to keep the sight unit aimed at the target. Do not mind if the sight unit moves, focus on keeping the front and rear sights aligned with each other. And with a smooth pressure on the trigger. You do not want to get the shot aligned perfectly and then start pressure - you want to have pressure building as you go into Fine Sighting so that the shot releases when the sights are on target. For precision work, this is 5-7 seconds after starting Fine Alignment. If your arm tires, or if the shot "feels" bad - put the gun down! Never train yourself to make a bad shot! Only good ones.

    And please, don't waste your money on some laser gimcrack. You'll be focusing on that, instead of on your sights.
     
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