The Value of Dry Fire

Vodoun daVinci

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I'm a Newbie - way less than 1000 rounds down range. I'm shooting less than .45 MOA at 200 yards now and spend a couple hours a week dry firing between range sessions.

I set up the gun and look out window in my home and practice optic alignment, ranging, trigger pull/shot break, bipod loading, bolt manipulation, breathing, etc. I feel that this dry fire Kata is really helping me refine the mechanics of precision shooting and that this dry fire practice is saving me ammunition and such at the range. My instructor tells me I'm shooting way beyond my excperience level and the cheap ass gun I have to work with but doesn't believe the dry fire or "Kata" aspect has anything to do with it. His belief is that the only thing that counts is live rounds down range.

What is your perception of this? Thanks in Advanve1

VooDoo
 
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Vodoun daVinci

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Lol....not at all. I shouldn't call him my Instructor - actually he was my concealed carry instructor and he shoots at the same range I do for Precision Rifle. he's quite well respected and very accomplished. Ge's been mentoring and coaching several of us.

He just doesn't believe dry fire holds the same benefits that I (and others) do. Actually I have been surprised at the number of accomplished shooters who are under the impression that there is only one way to do things and that is the way *they* do things. But it's all part of learning Precision Rifle Shooting to me. I'm shooing pretty well and making progress so I'm not inclined to be dispelled much by folks with contrary opinions.

I personally feel that dry firing for 30 minutes 4 days a week is really cementing the basics like cheek weld, sight picture, shot break, and breathing leaving me free concentrate on other stuff like wind and such when in a live fire session.

To each his own I guess.

VooDoo
 
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natdscott

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The value of dryfire and mental rehearsal cannot be understated, nor can it estimated.

I have shot with a good many 'accomplished' and 'recognized' shooters who still had major flaws in their methodology when it came down to anything tighter than about 1.5 MOA. That's not a judgement, it's just a fact.

I don't pretend to be a great bass fisherman, or Bianchi winner, or 27-yard 99 bird shooter. I have tried enough sports to know that they are ALL challenging in different ways, and that some transfer well to one another, while others do not.

The thing is that some of these shooting sports require very different skill sets to attain excellency, and those skill sets are not always gained through the same approach as 'that other sport I'm good at'. The MENTAL hardness to be champion is much the same, but that's not the same discussion.

Live fire with center-fire handguns and rifles is essential if a shooter needs to be proficient with them. Nothing teaches recoil management, recovery, tactile management of the equipment, and center-fire ballistics as well as actually shooting the weapons.

But if anybody wants to find out how their "live fire only" training with fullbore rifles is working out, find a really good air rifle or air pistol, and show me your groups. .22 LR is good, but it's still fast enough and has enough recoil to cover some things unless it is a pretty long barrel.

Even better is a SCATT or RIKA system score plot. If a shooter can hold for tiny groups and scores on laser systems, they can do it with anything.



In precision use, as recoil energy and bullet speed decreases, a shooter's and coach's ability to finely resolve errors in firing technique increases. Fact.


-Nate
 
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Walker TR

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There was a study done once with competitive shooters that a read somewhere that they took half a class and had them work on dry fire only then they took the other half and had them work on live fire only. The dry fire group performed much better than the live fire group when it came to competition. I could not find the article I will try and post when I do. Dry fire is invaluable because you can simulate many more rounds working on the fundamentals. I dry fire for 10 minutes each night working on positions through an A frame ladder. I probably dry fire 300 simulated rounds a week.
 
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Mike_Honcho

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I dunno, Brian Enos and every other super pistolero trainer that followed, was pretty big on dry fire.

Tell you what, a bird’s eye at 100 is @ 1/3 MOA; tends to dance around a good bit too.... no benny to dry fire? OK.
 

CharlieNC

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A little different dry fire routine to try. Setup in a place where there is nothing to aim at except a blank wall. Why? You will focus totally on the minute details of body positioning, cheek weld fit, length of pull, scope alignment, etc. Due to a period of lengthy rain I did this before my last Fclass match and was surprised at how many of these sorts of issues surfaced which I then fine-tuned. Resulted in the most comfortable shooting match, with no repositioning while shooting a string. Dry firing routinely definitely instills many fundamentals to become routine nature for consistency.
 

Colt1776

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Dry firing helps tremendously especially in the winter when you can’t get to the range because it’s dark when you get home during the week. I’ve got several barricade setups that I can bring in my house and put on my tripod and practice different positions for 20 minutes 2-3 times a week and it’s really helped me get a lot more steady in awkward positions. I’ve got one of those DFAT scope deals and it works great.
I’ve been shooting PRS for the last year and I’ve noticed a huge change in how much I’ve improved by dry firing.

What’s everyone’s opinion of too much dry firing in one sitting? Like what’s your timeframe of diminishing returns?
 

enichols

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Dry-firing for 20-30 minute strings several times a week with both the rifle and pistol has helped me immensely. I like to use a DFAT on my precision rifle and work on pure fundamentals from prone as a warm-up, then do positional practice from a tripod/barricade. I also like to put a timer on and dry-fire actual match stages from my club's monthly match, using targets like this:
http://www.dstprecision.net/uploads/8/1/8/1/81812666/dfat-range-12a_orig.jpeg

It's really nice to get in good practice with the rifle that doesn't cost anything but time.
 

Sheldon N

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What’s everyone’s opinion of too much dry firing in one sitting? Like what’s your timeframe of diminishing returns?
However long your can maintain 100% mental focus, give each shot your best effort, and critically assess each trigger pull's sucessess/failures and what to improve for the next shot. There's value in reps, but they need to be quality reps.

I tend to do it piecemeal... like running a stage then going and doing something else, then shooting another stage, then taking a break, etc.
 

Colt1776

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However long your can maintain 100% mental focus, give each shot your best effort, and critically assess each trigger pull's sucessess/failures and what to improve for the next shot. There's value in reps, but they need to be quality reps.

I tend to do it piecemeal... like running a stage then going and doing something else, then shooting another stage, then taking a break, etc.
I like doing the same thing. It breaks it up like you would at a match and makes me focus on making those 6-10 shots a clean and crisp as I can. Just interesting seeing what everyone else does as well.
 

Precision Underground

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IMO a newer shooter learns nothing shooting live rounds incorrectly. The noise and recoil covers up any indication that is was a bad shot. Dry fire will allow them to see what is going on when they pull the trigger.
 
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MDrimfirerookie

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honest question from one of us who "don't know what he don't know"

i have a DFAT system and the power point and try to dry fire 2 -3 times a week at night when life allows. when i'm practicing positional at home, it seems like i've got a good solid set up, the reticle doesn't dance and i'm breaking a good clean "shot"

then i get out and live fire on a pretty similar barricade and everything goes to shit. i'm unsteady, the reticle moves all over the place and i miss the shot.

suggestions?
 

Precision Underground

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honest question from one of us who "don't know what he don't know"

i have a DFAT system and the power point and try to dry fire 2 -3 times a week at night when life allows. when i'm practicing positional at home, it seems like i've got a good solid set up, the reticle doesn't dance and i'm breaking a good clean "shot"

then i get out and live fire on a pretty similar barricade and everything goes to shit. i'm unsteady, the reticle moves all over the place and i miss the shot.

suggestions?
Your mindset is probably changing because you know there is a round in the chamber. Your body and mind are bracing for the noise and recoil. Try dry firing 10 times at the range before you put one in the chamber. Then shoot one and dry fire 10 more times. You will start to bring The at home mentality to the range. It always surprises me how quickly you can slip back into bracing for the shot rather than being in control and watching it all happen.
 

MDrimfirerookie

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Your mindset is probably changing because you know there is a round in the chamber. Your body and mind are bracing for the noise and recoil. Try dry firing 10 times at the range before you put one in the chamber. Then shoot one and dry fire 10 more times. You will start to bring The at home mentality to the range. It always surprises me how quickly you can slip back into bracing for the shot rather than being in control and watching it all happen.
appreciate the feedback and will definitely try that. also curious if it is a case of the timer being on as well and my mind going to shit.

also, i'm pretty sure i'm of average / below average skill so i'm wondering if my dry fire practice is just reinforcing shitty technique
 

Precision Underground

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appreciate the feedback and will definitely try that. also curious if it is a case of the timer being on as well and my mind going to shit.

also, i'm pretty sure i'm of average / below average skill so i'm wondering if my dry fire practice is just reinforcing shitty technique
As long as your reticle is not budging when you are dry firing you are doing better than if you were at the range not shooting well. When you are dry firing you have to train yourself to be totally present while observing exactly what’s happening in the scope. It is very hard to train yourself to do that with live fire. The online training here is a steal for the information you get. I would dig into that at least for a couple of months. Can’t beat that you can try it and quit at any time.
 
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clcustom1911

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Your "instructor" is flat out wrong. I don't say that often because I know there are many ways to skin a cat. Your instructor is failing to correlate your skill level with your level of practice. Dry fire is absolutely essential for every discipline of firearm proficiency. The only thing which greatly assisted me with my trigger control with pistol shooting was dry firing. I dry fire with holster draws for CCW. I dry fire with holster draws when I am about to go on duty. I do mag changes, set up malfunctions, etc.

Also, for me, I used to do 30 minute sessions a couple times a week. Eventually, I found my brain wandering off after 20-ish minutes or so and just going through the motions for the final few minutes, not fully absorbing anything. I changed to 5-10 minutes a day. That really helped because I could really keep laser focused for that amount of time. 40-60 minutes a week of solid focus is way better than 50-70 minutes a week of mediocrity.

You're doing absolutely wonderful with your dry fire practice sessions. Like said above, a slight tweak would be to aim at a blank wall so you can really feel you body positioning, etc.

Whenever I go to the range for just an easy rifle practice session, I always do some basic stretching, dry fire 10-15 times, stretch again, dry fire 5-10 times, I relax as I load my mag and listen to the spring compress.....and it's off to the races.

Good luck, and keep your head in the fight.
 
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DeftSystems

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appreciate the feedback and will definitely try that. also curious if it is a case of the timer being on as well and my mind going to shit.

also, i'm pretty sure i'm of average / below average skill so i'm wondering if my dry fire practice is just reinforcing shitty technique
I just want to echo what @Precision Underground had to say. Dry fire at the range. Work up to that first live round. It makes a big difference.

When I go to the pistol range, I set up a target, then do 3-4 draw and shoots at 10 meters with my CCW piece. I want the effect of no warmup, no weapon maintenance, etc in order to simulate a defensive situation. After that, I do several minutes of dry firing, and slow draws to build fundamentals, before working into slow-fire, then fighting drills.

The best shooters in the world dry fire religiously.
 
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myronman3

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the thing to always keep in mind is there are oodles of folks out there proclaiming themselves as experts. it sure doesnt take long to find them out- see the video clip above. if i had a dime for every asshat i’ve encountered who wanted to try to sell me lessons, i wouldnt have to ever work again. and in EVERY. SINGLE. CASE. i sit back and watch and make an accessment of their skill/knowlege level....they show just how inept they are in short order.
i am far from a know it all. i am all about learning when someone actually can teach me something. but i find the vast majority of “instructors” are overstating their skill and knowlege level. the old “fake it till ya make it’’. anyone claiming dry firing isnt worth doing doesnt know their ass from their word hole.
 
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Nik H

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honest question from one of us who "don't know what he don't know"

i have a DFAT system and the power point and try to dry fire 2 -3 times a week at night when life allows. when i'm practicing positional at home, it seems like i've got a good solid set up, the reticle doesn't dance and i'm breaking a good clean "shot"

then i get out and live fire on a pretty similar barricade and everything goes to shit. i'm unsteady, the reticle moves all over the place and i miss the shot.

suggestions?
You should read the book "Secrets of Mental Marksmanship: How to Fire Perfect Shots" by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. They are world class coaches and this information will greatly improve your confidence level when firing live rounds. I have read it several times and it has definitely made a difference.
 

clcustom1911

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You should read the book "Secrets of Mental Marksmanship: How to Fire Perfect Shots" by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. They are world class coaches and this information will greatly improve your confidence level when firing live rounds. I have read it several times and it has definitely made a difference.
That's the one book I've been wanting to get for a while. Just kinda $$$
 

Nik H

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It is $30 on Amazon...

Funny thing is I paid $20 for the Kindle version but that seems to be no longer offered...

At any rate, $30 is a bargain
 

MDrimfirerookie

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You should read the book "Secrets of Mental Marksmanship: How to Fire Perfect Shots" by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. They are world class coaches and this information will greatly improve your confidence level when firing live rounds. I have read it several times and it has definitely made a difference.
thank you. i will definitely look into it