Dry Fire Methodology

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Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 9/23/2014, 8:39 pm

My scores have been going up each week and I know the trend will end, but i attribute that to spending the majority of my time in the "Fundamentals" section of the forum vice "Equipment".  

I've created a dry fire range in my home and I typically spend around 30-45 minutes of dry fire.  I've been trying to create a routine, but I don't know if 1 it's too much or 2, I'm not replicating my match adequately and therefore not exercising my shot plan to ingrain the habits.

1) Holding Drills: Hold with follow-through for 60 seconds, rest for 120 seconds and repeat with 6 repetitions
2) Blank Target: Dry firing on a blank target to focus on your sights for 30 seconds, with 60 second rest, 6 repetitions
3) Reduced Target: Dry fire on reduced slow fire target with focus on shot process, 10 shots in 10 minutes, goal is 5 perfect shots in a row.

Appreciate any help in developing a good routine!
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Rob Kovach on 9/23/2014, 11:48 pm

I think it's more important to just repeat the shot process, over and over.  Ingrain that process into your subconscious.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by davekp on 9/24/2014, 7:20 am

Rob Kovach wrote:I think it's more important to just repeat the shot process, over and over.  Ingrain that process into your subconscious.

Yes.
Separate shot process training from strength training.
Do your entire shot process for each shot initially. Later on, you can just do the part of the process from raising the pistol through lowering the pistol. Remember, breaking the shot is not the last step of the process. After the shot breaks, return to the target, then lower the pistol.
Repeat.
I do 10 shots at a blank wall, 50 shots at a target, 10 more at a blank wall. Then I do 30 shots with a revolver double action, to a recording of rapid fire commands.
Twice a day.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 10/13/2014, 5:05 pm

So as a follow up.  My thought was to break my training into 2 sessions.  Appreciate any advice as always.

Prior to work, strength training.

1) Holding Drills: Hold with follow-through for 60 seconds, rest for 120 seconds and repeat with 6 repetitions on reduced target.
2) Blank Target: Dry firing on a blank wall to focus on your sights and trigger pull for 30 seconds, with 60 second rest, 6 repetitions

After work, shot process

3) Reduced Target: Dry fire on reduced slow fire target with focus on shot process, 10 shots in 10 minutes, goal is 5 perfect shots in a row.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by mspingeld on 10/13/2014, 6:46 pm

Tony Brong recently wrote an interesting blog post on holding/strength training drills. Worth a look: Holding drills

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 10/13/2014, 7:18 pm

Interesting, the focus for Tony is repetitions vice the article I read from Keith Sanderson.   I wonder if its because the type of shooting is different or the normal multiple paths to the same goal.

http://www.usashooting.org/library/Instructional/Pistol/pistol_sanderson_sept_oct_2009.pdf
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Ed Hall on 10/14/2014, 9:53 am

I would add that you should not do holding on a target, reduced or otherwise, without dry firing.  Holding on vertical/horizontal lines is better.  Holding only on a target will help promote holding without firing during competition.  Note that Sanderson suggests the dry fire shot prior to the holding portion of the exercise.  He also mentions lines can be used.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 10/14/2014, 10:43 am

Thanks Ed, much appreciated, I think I'll shift to the line to be safe and it will fit into the second component of the blank wall well.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Motorcycle_dan on 10/14/2014, 3:07 pm

Rob Kovach wrote:I think it's more important to just repeat the shot process, over and over.  Ingrain that process into your subconscious.

Plus 1 on this.  Make it like the chorus of a familiar song.  I don't like the holding drills.  No reason to hold when there are triggers to squeeze and sights to align.

Hold for muscle strength and the ability to stand still makes some sense.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 10/14/2014, 5:20 pm

Dan,

Would I be better off doing the holding drill with a 5 lb weight to avoid reinforcing bad habits, ex. holding the shot too long?
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by mspingeld on 10/14/2014, 5:22 pm

The Brong blog post said the opposite. The weight of the gun strengthens the large muscles needed to support the gun and, at the same time, all of the small muscles needed to stabilize it. Sounds logical. A larger weight would, theoretically, upset the balance.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Jack H on 10/14/2014, 5:51 pm

You need to somehow train the holding muscles to do exactly what you want.  How much shoulder tension, and forearm, and thumb ham etc
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by knightimac on 10/15/2014, 7:49 am

The advice given here is very helpful for me.

Thanks Jay hawk navy for bringing this up.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by BE Mike on 10/15/2014, 8:10 am

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:Dan,

Would I be better off doing the holding drill with a 5 lb weight to avoid reinforcing bad habits, ex. holding the shot too long?
Some folks used to use an old magazine filled with lead.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Ed Hall on 10/15/2014, 9:24 am

In all my formative years of shooting, the only weight I ever used for training was that of the guns (and ammo).  Even though that was all I ever trained with, my muscles developed such that I was able to hold bowling balls and dumbbells, up to 20 lbs, out in the pistol stance.  I DO NOT SUGGEST YOU DO THIS!!  I am merely noting that the weight of the pistols (and ammo) was quite sufficient for developing my muscles.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 1/1/2015, 6:54 pm

davekp wrote:
Rob Kovach wrote:I think it's more important to just repeat the shot process, over and over.  Ingrain that process into your subconscious.

Yes.
Separate shot process training from strength training.
Do your entire shot process for each shot initially. Later on, you can just do the part of the process from raising the pistol through lowering the pistol. Remember, breaking the shot is not the last step of the process. After the shot breaks, return to the target, then lower the pistol.
Repeat.
I do 10 shots at a blank wall, 50 shots at a target, 10 more at a blank wall. Then I do 30 shots with a revolver double action, to a recording of rapid fire commands.
Twice a day.


Gentleman,

Somewhat thread necromancy, but for my own thread.  I've taken and applied the advice and my 22 scores have are much better, but leveled off at the 265 range, probably not great for many, but I'm sill working my way through the basics.  My SF has improved greatly, which I attribute to the dry fire, but I've noticed that my shot process for the TF/RF needs work.  I've been using my shot plan for dry fire for the last several months to replicate SF, but I think I need to use the method Dave mentioned to move forward. 

Should I replay the command for each shot or finish all 5 shots in the string and then start over?

Cheers,
Derek
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by davekp on 1/2/2015, 7:01 am

I do my revolver rapid fire drill for 5 shots. Helps to get the timing in my subconscious.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 1/2/2015, 7:41 am

Do you do the same with the 1911 or just execute the first shot and replay the commands?
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Ed Hall on 1/2/2015, 8:55 am

I do sustained dry fire training with a string tied around the rear sight (or, somewhere on the slide).  I have the other end tied to a magazine and held in my off hand against my chest with some slack.  When the hammer falls, I hesitate a moment for follow through and then tug on the string to cycle the slide.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by davekp on 1/2/2015, 9:19 am

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:Do you do the same with the 1911 or just execute the first shot and replay the commands?

I don't because  I shoot on turning targets, and firing on a horn is not the same. For semi-autos I do only live fire for rapid fire training.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 1/2/2015, 11:44 am

Ed Hall wrote:I do sustained dry fire training with a string tied around the rear sight (or, somewhere on the slide).  I have the other end tied to a magazine and held in my off hand against my chest with some slack.  When the hammer falls, I hesitate a moment for follow through and then tug on the string to cycle the slide.

That's terrific!

Thanks gentleman for the expert advice as usual.

Cheers
Derek
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by CR10X on 1/3/2015, 8:02 am

"I've created a dry fire range in my home and I typically spend around 30-45 minutes of dry fire.  I've been trying to create a routine, but I don't know if 1 it's too much or 2, I'm not replicating my match adequately and therefore not exercising my shot plan to ingrain the habits.

1) Holding Drills: Hold with follow-through for 60 seconds, rest for 120 seconds and repeat with 6 repetitions
2) Blank Target: Dry firing on a blank target to focus on your sights for 30 seconds, with 60 second rest, 6 repetitions
3) Reduced Target: Dry fire on reduced slow fire target with focus on shot process, 10 shots in 10 minutes, goal is 5 perfect shots in a row.

Appreciate any help in developing a good routine!"


I've been watching this thread and I'd like to make a couple of comments.  


First great idea to dryfire, it is the path to getting better with a pistol!


Start off with training to get into a good position.  Get your basic alignment of body and grip, close your eyes and raise the gun into your natural shooting position.  Open your eyes and see where the gun is pointing.  Back foot goes left or right address lateral position.  You can get some vertical by moving the back foot fore or aft a little, but may need to work on body position, slightly back or more upright at needed.  Don't strain the neck muscles, but remember the closer we can get to 180 the more the body can soak up the .45 recoil.  There will be a middle ground so don't sacrifice body tension for getting way behind the gun.  Moderation is the key.  Be sure to stand "bone on bone" from the feet / legs up.  Less tension in the body is better.  (For pistol shooting you're going to need that energy for the eyes and brain over that 2700 match, so conserve every bit of energy you can.)


I would make a couple of suggestions.  I don't think anyone can really focus on the front sight for 30 seconds or even 10 or 5.  By focus I mean actually see and keep the front sight in absolutely perfect focus without letting the eye drift to the target, rear sight or just go slightly out of focus.  So, I would suggest the time be as long as the front sight or dot is in absolute focus.  When you drift out of that, simply rest and start the shot process over.  You will build up strength and endurance through repetition of the lift and hold better than with a static hold. 


The most important part of this training is for the mind and eye to keep the dot / target (your choice with dot) or front sight (no choice) in perfect focus for as long as it takes to get to the smallest wobble and get the sear to trip at that time.  Too soon and the shot could have been better, too late and it will always be worse (better to be a little early, if late then learn to start over (which will eventually be the hardest part to master since we've already invested all that time into the shot).  But you have to do that to shoot 10's at the long line.  If the shot isn't the best in terms of timing and wobble, keep the potential 10 points in the gun rather than trading it for a 7 or 8. 


I don't think you need to hold the follow through very long either, just get back to the proper sight alignment as quickly as possible and hold for a few seconds. 


To, me the best result of holding and dryfiring on blank targets is to understand what your individual wobble looks like, how long for it to get smaller, how long before it starts to get bigger and use the repetitions to get consistency in how you can hold the gun.  All without that big bang and recoil that cover up that flinch and blink and gives us the chance to see what the sight is actually doing and positioned at the moment of truth. 


As mentioned, if there is a target in place, then complete the process and activate the trigger or abort.  Don't train holding on a target without completing the shot, chicken finger is bad enough without practicing it.


Time wise, I've gotten the best results from about 20 minutes daily, rather than longer times on alternate or once or twice a week.  I really couldn't get better training only once or twice a week, but that doesn't mean shooting.  It means dryfiring, just like you have planned.


Be sure to keep a journal or diary and set up a goal for each session.  I'm a big proponent of working on only one thing at a time for each session.  


Last thought, additional 20 minutes dryfiring for every post on the list as a guideline.   Off to do mine now.

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by Ed Hall on 1/3/2015, 10:16 am

CR10X wrote:...
As mentioned, if there is a target in place, then complete the process and activate the trigger or abort.  Don't train holding on a target without completing the shot, chicken finger is bad enough without practicing it.
...
I'm glad you mentioned this, Cecil.  I was afraid I was going to have to. Smile

Personally, I have added in some extra trigger operations during the follow through for my dry fire shots.  I keep the trigger finger moving as though I am firing subsequent shots and work toward minimum movement.  Sometimes merely releasing the trigger pressure will identify an imbalance in pressures, by showing a drift.  I then work to eliminate the drift and reinforce a trigger operation that keeps the sighting system aligned with no disturbance in the natural hold pattern.

Comments on the above?

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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 1/3/2015, 2:46 pm

Cecil & Ed,

Thank you for the guidance.  As always it's appreciated to get input from the Masters.  Early on I was doing exactly what Ed was warning against, holding on my reduced target on my indoor dry fire range, but ceased after Ed's post in October and my scores have increased, mostly because I stopped practicing the "chicken finger" with my dry fire drills that I was doing in error.

I'm glad to hear 20 minutes is adequate, I have tried 30 minutes, and that seems to be the most I can do, but I tend to get "sloppy" near the end and I felt that I may have been doing more damage than good and went back to 20 minutes.

Thanks as always for the help, and looking forward to this Bullseye season, it will be my first full season for competition.
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Re: Dry Fire Methodology

Post by KenO on 1/3/2015, 6:54 pm

I'm a rifle shooter, and a long time ago I was squadded with Julia Watson, the Marine lady that has won the service rifle championship a time or two at Camp Perry.

We spend as much time in the pits, as we do shooting, so we get to make friendships while we are pulling. We kept in touch by email for quite a few years. I'm classified Master in HP rifle, the off-hand has held me back from getting the HM. I asked her what she does to shoot such good off hand scores.

I got a real long email, that should be published or put in a book, I read it often, and should have printed it out. My powerline got hit by lightning last year, and fried my laptop, and lost it.

I'll try and get the gist of it across, so bear with me. Off hand rifle, is a lot like pistol.

She said dry firing 20 minutes every day was her routine. Don't ever break a shot, unless its a perfect X, otherwise your training your mind to accept a less than perfect shot. If she only gets one perfect shot in the 20 minutes, than that's just fine, much better than breaking 10 shots in the 9 ring.

You need to train your mind to do the trigger pulling, if a word like "now", "pull", or any such word comes in your mind, put the gun down, and start over, you will be "behind" the shot, and be lucky to get even a 9 out of it. Keep doing it until your mind automatically pulls the trigger.

My mind is blanking out for the rest, I wish I could remember it all, and lost some real good advice.  Maybe this will help someone.

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