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3 Dry Fire Tips That Will Improve Your Shooting

The number one question I get from my students is “How can I get better at shooting?”

When discussing how quickly an attacker can be on you, the shortfalls of drawing a firearm from concealment are examined closely by my students and they quickly realize they have some room to improve.

However, they may not know exactly how to improve their time to target or what to work on – or even how to “get better.”

Based on each student’s shooting in class, I assess what they can do to improve and give them homework.

Often, this is not live fire homework, but dry fire drills at home

When dry firing, be sure to obey all safety rules.

First, clear your gun of any ammunition.

Then keep the action open and go into a room without ammo.

If you need an empty magazine or Snap Caps, take these with you along with your holster.

Another good tip in general dry fire drills is to keep all ammunition separate so you don’t mistakenly load it when dryfiring.

Having dedicated targets on the wall away from where people can be will ensure you don’t point the gun at people in another room. 

Once you have the gun and gear ready, how do you dry fire with purpose?

Dry Fire Tip #1: Work the Fundamentals

Don’t neglect going back to fundamentals.

No matter how long you have been shooting, having the proper grip, sight picture, and trigger press will result in better efficiency when shooting.

Accuracy will remain as your speed increases. Working on the fundamentals will also keep your shooting consistent.  

Drills could be as simple as aiming at a target with a proper grip, getting a good trigger press, and not disturbing sights.

Focus on one aspect of shooting for a minute or so then focus on another. Keeping it simple to isolate potential problems and work them out can be beneficial.

If you’re unsure if a technique is good or not, video yourself on your phone and watch. A different perspective can show you where you are lacking.

Dry Fire Tip #2: Work on Your Draw

One idea my students have to decrease their time is to shoot faster. But that is furthest from the truth. Pressing a trigger doesn’t get the gun out faster or on target better. Practicing the draw stroke from your carry position during the dry fire practice can improve technique and efficiency so the first shot on target in live fire is quicker.

I go through all the motions in dry firing that I do in live fire, even pressing the trigger.

Working with a free shot timer app on my phone (or the range timer if you have one) I can set a par time and try to beat it.

If you’ve never timed yourself, start at 3-second par time. If you are consistently under that, then drop the par to 2.5 seconds.

Once you can get to 2-second draw time very consistently, then keep dropping the time by 10th of a second.

The key is to not just hit a goal once but to do it every time you draw the gun.

Once you get your time where you want it, you’ll see your draw to the first shot on

Dry Fire Tip #3: Work Your Malfunctions

Clearing malfunctions are never fun.

But the more you practice clearing them, the more you know your firearm.

Setting up different types of malfunctions can help you work techniques and speed through them.

You can also set a par time like drawing from a holster.

Once you set up a malfunction, whether misfire, stovepipe or other, be sure to press the trigger as if you just tried to fire and got a malfunction.

Then fix the malfunction and press the trigger once your sights are back on target. The time should be from trigger press to trigger press. Work it thoroughly and keep trying to improve your time to fix malfunctions.

Just Do It

Dry fire doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. You can work your fundamentals for 5 minutes one day and do holster work for 5 minutes the next.

You’ll be amazed at your improvement with consistency in gun handling and shooting and as a result, you will be more accurate, more efficient, and a better overall shooter. Go dry fire today and see the improvement tomorrow.

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