Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

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Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by zanemoseley on 3/28/2017, 7:02 pm

After fighting like hell with my 45 Sunday at the first outdoor 2700 of the year I've finally talked myself into adding some dry firing to my practice. I've never really understood the benefit of dry firing because I struggle with recoil anticipation, I can't rationalize how dry firing helps that. Any hoo, when you dry fire what percentage do you do against a solid background versus against a bull? Do they achieve the same or different goals? 

I also need to go back to ball and dummy training, I'm not sure if that helped me in the past or just show me how much I'm flinching, it can't hurt though.

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Ed Hall on 3/28/2017, 8:58 pm

The purpose of dry firing without a (distracting) bull is so you can learn what a smooth uninterrupted trigger operation is.

The purpose of dry firing with a bull is so you can learn how to operate the trigger in the same way as above, while hovering over a target.

Dummy round training should never be used to show what you're doing wrong.  It should be used to prove you're doing it right.

For all of the above, you should include a follow through.

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Tim:H11 on 3/28/2017, 9:22 pm

In my own dry fire practice I start with a blank wall for a little then switch up to a dot on a paper hung on the wall simulating a target. 

The practice shows me if I'm making mistakes in my grip, trigger pull, hold, position/stance. It allows me to learn what the mistakes look like and what a correct shot looks like. It does not help with recoil. But it should allow you to learn the above and FOLLOW THROUGH. You need to learn to hold through the fall of the hammer and for a time beyond it. Just cause it went click doesn't mean you lower the gun right away. You should hold after it. Will do wonder for slow fire.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Jack H on 3/28/2017, 11:23 pm

All the above.  But if you are really in the beginner dryfire mode, go a step at a time.  Dryfire with irons and no bull.  Just the front sight is in your mind as you pressure the trigger, click, and follow through.  See the Joe White line below.  Intensely see the front sight in alignment with the rear all the while. 

Add the bull in a next phase.  Intensely see the front sight again. 

Switch to a dot and no bull when you get comfy with a trigger pull that does not mess the sight alignment. 

Switch to dot and bull.  In fact do any one of these periodically as a refresher or where you sense work is needed.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by dronning on 3/28/2017, 11:56 pm

Ed Hall wrote:The purpose of dry firing without a (distracting) bull is so you can learn what a smooth uninterrupted trigger operation is.
I even use blank paper with the SCATT and I can tell you that my traces are much better than when using the bull.  More time on blank paper will train the subconscious what to do and in time overide the bulls power to disrupt your shot.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Froneck on 3/29/2017, 12:00 am

Dry fire is very good for trigger control. But if you are having a problem anticipating recoil that's the area you need to work on. When I was going up the classification ladder I would practice what gave me the biggest problem at the previous match. No matter how much dry fire you do it will not help anticipation.
 You need to identify why your anticipating. Take a box of shell to the range and do a series of one shot drills. Your mission is to shoot 10s and Xes, don't worry about how fast you got the round off, speed will come later. Just get a shot off without thinking about recoil, remember recoil happens after the bullet leaves the barrel!

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by bdas on 3/29/2017, 12:24 am

Dry firing is also an opportunity to practice your shot process, and having and following a shot process WILL help with anticipation issues. You do have a shot process, right?

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by willnewton on 3/29/2017, 3:45 am

zanemoseley wrote:I've never really understood the benefit of dry firing because I struggle with recoil anticipation, I can't rationalize how dry firing helps that.

I also need to go back to ball and dummy training, I'm not sure if that helped me in the past or just show me how much I'm flinching, it can't hurt though.
I think you answered your own question when you stated that dry firing "ball and dummy" shows you how bad your flinch is.

Dry firing has already taught you something, now you need it help you UNLEARN a bad habit.

Once I got some solid dry firing habits started, shooting became much calmer for me.  The common ratio here is 100 dry fires for every live fire.  I have also been taught that one day a week of practice will make you worse at something, three days a week will maintain your level and five days a week will improve your skill level.

So the math for me works out this way.  I shoot a 60-shot weekly local match.  So I need a minimum of 600 good dry fires. I dry fire 80-100 times a session, five times a week and shoot air pistol 60-100 shots twice a week.  I take a mandatory day or two of no dry fire or shooting at all to prevent burnout and usually work on my guns or reload those days to keep my head in the game.  I try to do a shortened dry fire or air pistol session in the morning before my weekly match.

After getting a good dry fire habit, match shooting turns into a performance of you emulating and recalling the actions and state of mind you had while dry firing. Personally, I find it best to pretend I am shooting an air pistol at the match, not a .22 or .45.  It instantly sets my mind into a state of high focus on trigger control and makes me stop anticipating.  I will raise the .45 and repeat "air pistol", "shoot it like the air pistol", "remember the air pistol" in my head.  I even switched back to irons to replicate my air pistol shooting.

Think about what dry firing is.  It is you shooting at your least distracted and highest focus level.  THAT is what you need to take to the match.

I may be new and hard headed, but I will no longer deny the power of dry fire.  Check my "adrenaline problems" thread in the fundamentals section and see how dry fire changed my shooting experience for the better.

As I stated in the beginning, you answered your own question, listen to what your dry firing self is telling you.  Even though that self has never shot a live round, I promise you, he/she is the better shooter.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Wobbley on 3/29/2017, 8:16 am

Perhaps your next range training session should be on a blank target as well.  Your anticipating recoil because your snatching the shot.  Take 100 rounds and shoot 30 slow, then 35 on a sustained fire pace.  Use the triggering and visualize center holds on a one shot per 4 to 5 second pace. Give yourself plenty of time to get good shots off.  Get the muscle memory of a good shot.   Do the next 35 slightly faster at a timed fire pace.  Repeat this exercise for the next 4 range sessions.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by CR10X on 3/29/2017, 8:19 am

I'm not the best short line shooter there is.  But I've worked hard at and and I'm still working.  Here are some observations, opinions and ideas.  Maybe you can find something here that helps.  If you find a process that works for you, I'd love to hear about it too.   Good luck and keep training.

CR

To answer the original question.  Yes! Dry fire on blank wall and on target.  Dry fire every chance you get.   Dry firing takes away the "BANG!" and lets us train on keeping the eyes open so we can see what we need to see. That is the first area I'd suggest checking. Make sure there is no blinking, flinching, or wavering of the point of visual focus....all the way through the shot. 

But, do you know what you are looking for and what you are supposed to see? 

If you say the gun staying still as the hammer falls, then you are not really getting to the complete answer.  (I know some people say the gun is perfectly still, but I've only seen it very few times and I admired it so much I forgot to pull the trigger.) We cannot hold the gun perfectly still for any appreciable amount of time.  We are actually looking to see that the relationship of the FRONT and REAR sights remains constant.  Wobble is merely a distraction that draws the eye to the target.  That is the power of dry firing on a blank wall. There is nothing else to see but the FRONT Sight.  No specific point to try and hold on, just the exercise of learning how to hold the gun completely parallel to the intended line of flight while completing the trigger process.  (And that takes a LOT of training.)

Then when you use a target, dry firing is to make sure you do not waver in your focus on the front sight or try to hold on a specific point or place. Its NOT to have something to aim AT.  It is there for you to judge your holding area, but stay focused on the front sight. Training with the target is simply completing the same type of trigger process that let you keep the sight aligned during the blank wall dry firing.

Now, on to "fighting" the gun.  I previously posted this in another topic.  It probably deserves some additional discussion but here goes.  My opinion is that if "fighting the gun" means what I think you're trying to convey, I'd look at the grip (make sure its hard enough and constant); and position (getting set up so you can drive the gun back to the center of the aiming area) first.  

Basically, there are about 4 things to address - grip, position, trigger control and actively driving the gun back to the target.  If you have a consistent grip and good position; it doesn't matter where the gun winds up in recoil, as long as the trigger control is consistent, starts on the way back into the black and we're actively driving the gun back to the center hold area.  We don't really "control" recoil as much as set ourselves up to direct it into as much of the body mass as possible (getting a position as comfortable as possible "behind" the gun (a much mass as we can in parallel with the line of sight), without inducing neck / shoulder / arm / torso stress that makes the position uncomfortable or introduces additional tremors, stress, etc.  

As shooters progress, gain strength and mobility in the shooting position, they will generally be able to move the position more and more in line with the recoil.  Some people can shoot great with a almost square to the line of sight, some get to about 45 degrees and stay there, some get between 45 and almost parallel to line of sight, etc.  Most of the best .45 sustained fire shooters I've seen are pretty well behind the gun and absorbing the recoil almost directly back into the mass (between 45 and almost completely parallel to line of sight).   



As for anticipation and flinching. First wear plugs and muffs, the best you can get.  Second, shoot a .22, a lot, but with specific training goals, do not practice mediocrity. Find the weakness, develop a specific area to address. and train on that one thing.

I've previously voiced my opinions in the area of anticipation and hesitation and how it was addressed for me.  Here is part of the observations.  


What’s Follow Through Got to Do With the Shot?
 
"If you’re really in a hurry to move up, get an air pistol and learn about what real follow through means."  We’ve all heard that.  And I’ve heard some people say that the bullet leaves the barrel so fast that “follow through” is not important or necessary. 
 
Funny thing about “follow through”; in my opinion it’s probably not that important for the shot you just made, but it is really important for the next shot.  What?  How does that work?  OK, here’s my take on this one.  Yes, people are right that the bullet leaves the barrel pretty fast, and the primer ignites pretty fast, and the sear trips pretty fast, and the trigger should be activated pretty fast, and the time it takes for the mental assessment of a visual input (recognizing what you see) is pretty fast.  BUT when you put all this together you have a process that can take something longer than an instant.  Well, to me it just shows that we always operate in the past, not the exact present.  So how can we shoot, hit a golf ball, or catch a pop fly so well if we are operating in the past? Projection and visualization are the things we have to use; but they can be both good or bad depending on what and how we project (visualize) or train (prepare for an action). 
 
So does all that stuff going on with the shot put “follow through” even farther away from the time the bullet leaves the barrel?  Well, from a real time perspective, yes.  But remember that for our purposes (that is to get better) follow though has nothing to do with the shot that just left the barrel.  That shot is over with, done and gone to the great target in the sky.  Sometime between when we thought we tripped the sear and we actually began to react to the recoil, our influence on the shot ended.  Think about that for a minute.  The shot is over with when the bullet leaves the barrel and we can no longer influence its trajectory BUT we don’t know exactly when that millisecond occurs.  So the first part of follow though is to make sure that we attempt to keep the system as stable as possible so we don’t improperly anticipate (react) inappropriately just in case the bullet can still be influenced by our (re)actions. We should continue to project that we are still steering the bullet, even if it’s already gone.
 
But to me the important thing about follow though to me is that it is the very first part of the NEXT shot.  Follow though is the training you are doing right then, to prepare your body and mind NOT to anticipate too much and negatively affect the next shot.  If you also think of the rest of your follow though as the first part of the next shot, you can use it to prepare for a correct shot process and reduce things like flinching, hesitation or anticipation that produce less than acceptable shots.  Follow through ain’t just holding the gun out there like a statue and waiting for the pigeons to land.  It’s preparing you to properly achieve and maintain a stable and consistently reacting platform or system (body, mind and gun) for the next shot process.  Just because Zins says that he does not come back down onto the target does not mean that he did not follow through past the trigger and sear and the bullet leaving the barrel with the best sight alignment possible. And he is a hell of a lot better at this than I am.  Again, follow through to me is not coming back on the target and setting up for another shot like a statue.  It's making sure that we didn't stop the shot process too soon.
 
“Anticipation, Anticipation Is Making Me Wait….”
 
Remember Zins’ comment on anticipation being the root of all those problems on that “wheel of misfortune”?  I’ve come to believe that HESITATION is the father of Anticipation.  Don’t hesitate on the trigger and you will not be able to anticipate.  At least that’s my plan.  Follow through on that last shot is one of the training techniques I use to try and remove anticipation to keep from “triggering” those problems.  I’m at a loss for words to describe this any better than what I’ve already said.  Just try it and remember that follow through is the start of the next shot.  For me the better the follow though, the better the next shot will be.  Let the last shot go and think of follow through as a new beginning and just go ahead and do it.
 

By the way, you know you are getting there if you can accurately describe the size, color and characteristics of your muzzle flash.  Certain .22 powders have some really nice “shooting star” type of sparks.  This is mostly on indoor ranges, although I have sometimes seen in outdoor settings without extremely bright sunlight. And sometimes, you can even see the flash through the ejector slot in a .45 slide if you’re really seeing everything.

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Froneck on 3/29/2017, 8:24 am

Dry fire is very helpful. I do it often and know that those at the very top do it also! But it will do little for recoil anticipation. One of the best ways is to shoot with a couple "Dummy" rounds in the magazine. Reload a empty case and used primer with a bullet the same as you are shooting. Mark them well so they are not used mistakenly as loaded. Load your magazine with your eyes closed or have a friend load it for you so that you do not have any idea which ones are the "Dummies". Then shoot as I mentioned before.

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Aprilian on 3/29/2017, 8:39 am

Froneck wrote:Load your magazine with your eyes closed or have a friend load it for you so that you do not have any idea which ones are the "Dummies". Then shoot as I mentioned before.
Another option is using 4 mags and load them with the dummies in different positions.  Then mix them up so you don't know which one you are grabbing.  Don't shoot the last magazine, you mind will know which round is the dummy.  Repeat.
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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by zanemoseley on 3/29/2017, 11:23 am

I've done that exercise before, heard it called "ball and dummy". I look down the range and load the magazine randomly with dummy and love rounds. I need to do more of it again.

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by bdas on 3/29/2017, 2:31 pm

zanemoseley wrote:I've done that exercise before, heard it called "ball and dummy". I look down the range and load the magazine randomly with dummy and love rounds. I need to do more of it again.
Keep in mind that the ball-and-dummy drill is a test that will show you whether you are flinching or not, but it is not training to SOLVE the flinch if you have one.  The solution is to develop a shot process (it helps most people to literally write it down), practice and refine it during dry fire, and then implement it during live fire.  

As I tell the juniors that I coach, if they have flinching issues... "Your job is to align the sights as best you can, center your wobble area on the target, focus on the front sight, and pull the trigger straight back towards your eye, smoothly, until the gun goes off.  Don't worry about WHEN the gun is going to go off, or WHERE in your wobble area it happens to be pointing when it goes off.  You've done this before, so you know that nothing bad is going to happen when it goes off.  The gun is going to do what it's going to do; but it's not going to hurt you.  You need to focus on the front sight and smooth trigger pull.  If you do that, all your shots will be in your wobble area, and that's the best you can do today."

It's the beginning of putting a rudimentary shot process in their head (or at least getting them used to the idea that they should be focusing on something other than the bang).

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Re: Dry Firing.. Against a Bull or No Bull

Post by Froneck on 3/29/2017, 3:46 pm

I agree that Ball and Dummy is a good why to detect recoil anticipation. Actually it better done without the shooter knowing there is a dummy. Recoil anticipation then becomes evident to the shooter and anyone watching him. Shooting with known dummies is some what different. The shooter knows some rounds will not shoot. Knowing that will strive to pull the trigger with out responding to recoil that may or may not happen. Another variant is to load only one live round and all dummies. Best to use at least 6 or more in the magazine and shooting only 5. Better when shooting at a target so that the shooter will experience an Ah Ha moment when a live round is fired without anticipation and shoots a good scoring shot.

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