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Dry firing at home


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I find that dry fire has helped me with my gun-handling skills.

As Ben Stoeger and Steve Anderson (amongst others) have mentioned in their respective books, dry fire is where you solidify a technique and live fire is where you practice it to make sure that you are obtaining the desired results on target.

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Dry fire has shown me that if you practice the wrong things it will really screw you up.

It is easy to not have a firm enough grip during practice & etc. and that stuff really shows up under match pressure. It is also easy to lose sight patience and etc while focusing on a par time, and some of the things that work for the book authors (just bring the mag to the magwell during reload practice for example) may or may not take you in a good direction. Last thing was that a 'rush rush rush before the darn timer beeps again' attitude was 100% not what I needed to enable me to attempt to run a smooth stage with good accuracy.

I think what I'm doing now is tailored to work for me and it does seem to be bringing me confidence & improved mechanics, so that is my answer to the o.p.'s question. Until I had something tailored to work for me I think I was partially proving that bad practice habits makes for worse results at matches.

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Presentation, index, reloads, transitions and movement can all be practiced at home without great difficulty. Took me to where I can focus on shooting a stage as opposed to shooting the gun.

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Good points already made. While dryfire has been extremely helpful for me, Ihavegas brings up a good point. Bad habits can easily be picked up if your not careful, and if your not honest with yourself they go unnoticed and create problems in live fire. I feel like I've made good gains through dry fire this year but have had to stop myself and correct a few things too due to bad habits creeping in.

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In Steve's book he says (paraphrasing) that you need to be honest with yourself when obtaining a site picture: did you really see a clear alpha when you released the shot? I found its easy to mislead myself on this point, especially when I'm pushing for faster and faster splits. I added the laser bullet to my dry fire routine, and its helped keep me honest -- its developed into an intermediate training method between traditional dry fire and live fire. For example, I had an idea for speeding my draw, I was improving my par times, the site picture looked fine but the laser was not consistently getting alpha hits. Previously I would have had to gone to the range to figure this out.

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How has dry firing contributed to your shooting at the range?

It lets me burn in thousands of repetitions of different motions without spending a dime. Live fire is for working recoil control, shot calling. It's amazing how motions burned in during dry fire just happen in live fire. The gun just gets a new magazine when I leave a position.

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Practice without a purpose is not going to get anyone anywhere. If I go outside and kick a football a thousand times it is not going to make me an NFL pro. If in practice for shooting I break down each aspect of my gun handling and work each part individually and combined with the other necessary skills until they are technically perfect, then add speed, and adrenaline, those skills will improve.

But gun handling is only one part of this game. A very important part, but only one part.

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Steve Anderson says in his new book that he has seen many of his students make GM within one year by a combination of 1 hr of dry fire every day and at least once a week of live fire.

That should tell folks how important dry fire is ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

jroback's comments is right on. I finally realized not focusing enough on the sight pic and being aware of or honest about the picture when I made the shot has been holding me back. Trying to correct that now. I like the idea of the laser bullet so I'll add that to my dry fire practice. Thanks

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I'd be cautious about using any kind of laser device too much in dry fire as you are teaching yourself to visually score your targets by looking at where the laser is on the target. This is exactly the opposite of what you should be training yourself to do which is to call your shot from your sights .... Never mind the fact that it is extremely slow ....

Best thing I ever did was sell my LaserLyte Pro ....

Edited by Nimitz
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I think suggesting caution is reasonable here. I have implemented and discarded a number of techniques and training tools before, and there will probably come a time when the laser bullet is no longer useful to me. But for now it has been useful, although it does take discipline to call your shots based on the site picture, not where the laser hits.

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I find that dry fire has helped me with my gun-handling skills.

As Ben Stoeger and Steve Anderson (amongst others) have mentioned in their respective books, dry fire is where you solidify a technique and live fire is where you practice it to make sure that you are obtaining the desired results on target.

I agree with this. Dry fire practice has helped me with a lot of increased speed in routine actions. However, I also agree with a number of others that it is not a substitute for live fire. In spite of Steve's urging that one be honest with themselves, it is hard not to just try beating the par time. Whomever made the point that laser bullets can have exactly the wrong outcome by encouraging the watching of the result rather than controlling the result is certainly applicable to me.

It appears to me that everyone's ultimate problem is trigger control (defined as not disrupting the sight picture when firing). Maybe just because that certainly is my major failure point. I can dry fire holding the gun on target until h freezes over and then go the range and flinch ever so slightly just as the explosion occurs. I'm beginning to think I'll never conquer it because it doesn't occur every time, just when it counts most.

Good thread. I really agree with everyone. That's a new experience. Maybe I'll also have a miracle and hold the gun steady!

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How has dry firing contributed to your shooting at the range?

I went from "B" class to Master class in a year following Steve Anderson's dry fire recommendations from his first book. I had his book for a few years, but until I took a class from him, it didn't come together. I wish I had at least taken his Facetime Tuneup as soon as I bought his book.

I have Ben Stoeger's books, but haven't seen the noticeable improvment from his dry fire stuff. I'm sure that will change if I took a class from him. I have on the other hand noticed imporvement from his 10 recommended live fire drills.

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Not sure what the purpose of the laser is if you are calling your shots from your sights? Either you are watching your sights or you are looking at the target to see where the laser hit.

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Actually, depending on the distance from the target (nearer works better), you can watch your sites as you squeeze the trigger AND see approximately where the laser hits on the target. Of course, if you buy the laser light targets (which I haven't done yet) then you don't even have to worry about picking up the laser in peripheral vision -- the target will record the hits for you.

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In Steve's book he says (paraphrasing) that you need to be honest with yourself when obtaining a site picture: did you really see a clear alpha when you released the shot? I found its easy to mislead myself on this point, especially when I'm pushing for faster and faster splits. I added the laser bullet to my dry fire routine, and its helped keep me honest -- its developed into an intermediate training method between traditional dry fire and live fire. For example, I had an idea for speeding my draw, I was improving my par times, the site picture looked fine but the laser was not consistently getting alpha hits. Previously I would have had to gone to the range to figure this out.

With the laser bullet did you find yourslef looking at the dot on target or down your sights? Anyone that has used one can chime in. Also I was looking they have software that you can use with a webcam but I'm not sure how cocking your gun everytime to get the laser to activate would work. They make special triggers for the glocks but not 1911's that I have found.

Edited by deerassassin22
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I tend to see the laser hit the target in the vertical gaps between the front and rear sites. To understand what this is like, think of how even when you're concentrating on your front site you can still see the target, albeit in very fuzzy focus -- this same fuzzy focus is the way you pick up the laser hit. If you see the fuzzy laser hit in that site gap, you know you're on target. How is this useful? If you are pushing your draw speed you might "think" you've gotten an acceptable site picture before pulling trigger, but if the laser hit is not where its supposed to be so you need to fix your technique.

Regarding your cocking question, you have hit on the great weakness I found when using the laser bullet on my CZ. I can't repetitively activate the laser with SA pulls. If I draw cocked and locked, I can have one SA pull but then to activate the laser subsequently I need to do DA pulls. So far I've been working on my draw time to first shot, and the laser has worked great for that. Also works great for dry fire accuracy work when you can recock after each shot.

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If the LaserLyte target actually records the hits and you only review them after you're done shooting a string then ok. However, I don't buy the idea that you can look at your sights and the target atthe same time and divide your attention between them and successfully call your shots. Calling shots is difficult enough to learn when you are focusing completely on the front sight and not trying to divide your attention.

I stopped using mine after only a few sessions becuase the intensity of the laser dot made it way too easy to look at the target instead of staying focused on the font sight ...

I'm not aware of a top instructor who strongly advocates using things like the LaserLyte which to me is another clue about their value ...

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I stopped using mine after only a few sessions becuase the intensity of the laser dot made it way too easy to look at the target instead of staying focused on the font sight ...

Using the laser while still being somewhat inexperienced (2years ago) screwed me over, I stopped looking at the front sight. I no longer use my LT-Pro either.

I still use a laser boresighter when working on trigger technique. For that, I don't look at the sights at all, just watching the laser dot at 7-10 yards, trying to have a smooth trigger press.

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Tennis elbow

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Yeah, I was wondering if another dinosaur would bring that up. The constant tension on the tendons for gripping and pulling is rough on old joints and bodies like I have. Young guys should be able to do it all you want, old guys be careful. Edited by bountyhunter
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