Dry fire one shot before every string?

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Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 11/30/2017, 4:14 pm

I shot a few years ago next to a HM from a guard team who demonstrated what is now my concrete habit, and I thought it too good not to share.

I imagine some of you already do this, and others may disagree, but it has helped me tremendously not to snatch shots, and with the transition from slow to sustained fire.

At the start of every string, once the command to load has been given, i load the magazine on a closed slide, raise the gun and dry fire 1 shot at the target using a moderate-fast trigger press, i then pull the gun back, and rack the slide briskly with my left hand and the barrel still pointed downrange.
That is how i load, every single time. That way, i never fire more than 5 shots without dry firing and assessing my flinch.

Some have raised concerns in the past that this increases risk of hammer follow; I shoot only roll triggers so I have never felt the need to hold the hammer down while dropping the slide with the release. If you have concerns about hammer follow this may not be the best tactic for you, this is also why I always keep the gun pointed at the target while racking briskly. Have never had an issue with it.

Others have said that the action of racking the slide manually compromises first round accuracy in a slow fire string. For me, I don't know if this is true but it is more important to me to get the dry fire in and reinforce the habit than to gain a miniscule amount of accuracy @50. I find that my first shot is almost always a 10 or X using this technique, then my shots go wide as the string advances and I start flinching/snatching/having mental or vision issues.

I also always use one magazine on the long line, I load with 5 rounds, set 5 loose rounds to the side. I fire four shots, safe the gun and set it down, and reload the magazine slowly while doing some diaphragmatic breathing. I then regrip, load the next magazine and disengage the safety. This habit has helped keep me from rushing too much on the long line.

I do not claim either of these techniques as my own, they have been shared with me by shooters far better; I just wanted to share because I wasted a lot of time in my first couple years shooting trying to figure out a good loading routine and wish someone had told me this from the start. Now that I have this set, structured process, it is a lot easier to get 'in the zone', the winning worry-free mindset.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Jack H on 11/30/2017, 8:00 pm

Can't hurt.  I wonder though if regripping becomes counter productive.  I recall one report of a guy loading the mag after four with one hand while keeping grip.
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by bmize1 on 11/30/2017, 8:52 pm

I shot Zins Monday night informal league this past Monday.
He told me that he dryfires 1 shot every time he loads a mag. 
He also said DO NOT release the grip between mags.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 12/1/2017, 6:39 am

I have heard this as well, that breaking down your grip is counter-productive. For some reason, I have a really consistent grip and have not seen any shift in groups after re-gripping. My problems are usually hold and trigger pull related. I can really see the merit in maintaining the grip though. I would love to learn how to load a mag with one hand though, so I don't have to set the gun down. Whats the trick to that?

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by knightimac on 12/1/2017, 7:18 am

I think this is unsafe practice and should not be allowed.

One bad day and the gun goes bang.

Dry firing should be done only with unloaded weapons that have been checked and rechecked as to their condition.
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Tim:H11 on 12/1/2017, 7:43 am

When we’re given a three minute prep period prior to starting the next agg after switching guns at our local 2700 (we shoot it in one day) that’s when I’m dry firing. And I do it once the slow fire string has started maybe once or twice. But not with a loaded mag in it. I don’t  break my grip either. And after shot number four, I drop the mag using my left hand and insert the next five so as not to have the slide lock back mid 10 shots. 

Dry fire is good to get you into the mindset for what you need to do. But don’t confuse it with “practice” before the match. If you’re not ready when you get to the match you’re not ready for the match.
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by desben on 12/1/2017, 8:48 am

I shoot a lot with a revolver and I always load 5, so I have one free chamber to dry-fire on before the live string. I agree; it really helps.
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 12/1/2017, 5:27 pm

Interesting points all, thanks for the input. I would argue that dry firing, on an empty chamber with a magazine inserted after the command to load has been given, while lined up on target, is not unsafe. This is part of my load procedure, and helps me with the transition from slow to fast trigger press. I consider it more of a check/reminder, not practice, as Tim reminds.

For dry fire practice, i have a magazine filled with lead that I use to add weight. The ammunition stays in a locked cabinet.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Wobbley on 12/1/2017, 6:16 pm

The problem is that if you get forgetful and rack the slide before you “dryfire” you can get disqualified.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by bmize1 on 12/1/2017, 7:27 pm

You have a gun in your hand.........if you get forgetful that easy, you need another hobby. 
Now, that said, you are at a shooting range, at a shooting competition, pay Fn attention to what you are doing.
If you are easily distracted, FIND ANOTHER HOBBY.

We all WILL have a ND at some time or another if we shoot long enough. 
Try your best to be the guy that NEVER has one.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by SmokinNJokin on 12/1/2017, 7:48 pm

Racking the slide is a pretty deliberate action with my 45, I don't think that I would ever accidentally do it out of sequence. That being said, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to modify the sequence and dry fire the single shot, then insert mag. That would remove any possibility of a disqualifying shot.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by james r chapman on 12/1/2017, 7:59 pm

SmokinNJokin wrote:Racking the slide is a pretty deliberate action with my 45, I don't think that I would ever accidentally do it out of sequence. That being said, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to modify the sequence and dry fire the single shot, then insert mag. That would remove any possibility of a disqualifying shot.
BINGO!
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Rob Kovach on 12/2/2017, 8:15 am

This is my shot process as well ^^^^^^^^^^
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Keyholed on 12/3/2017, 5:32 am

SNJ is correct: there's no need to have a magazine inserted. And I would suggest it is inadvisable to do so since it's unnecessary.

Either order, however, is safe. The gun isn't being handled with people downrange, and it's being pointed in a safe direction (the target). The risk is that (a) you could screw it up and get embarrassed/DQ'd, (b) fire the gun when someone didn't have their hearing protection on. When it comes to safety, BE is relatively simple.

Of course, people still manage to be jerks about "safety". I once observed a shooter, during slow fire, form a grip, take a stance, raise his pistol, and sweep it left and right perhaps 15-20 degrees. At most, he may have "muzzled" the targets in adjacent lanes, but he was a long way from covering even the left and right sides walls of the range. I believe he was checking something with his "natural point of aim" or his sights or some such thing--it was clearly part of his shot process. In any case, his finger was on the trigger when he did this.

One of my ROs, known to be an IPSC shooter, practically ran over to the guy and began berating him about trigger discipline. I told the RO to cool his jets. Got the same berating repeated back to me.

I pointed out that

(a) we were in Slow Fire, so shooting was allowed
(b) the shooter's gun was pointed in a safe direction throughout
(c) the shooter only put his finger on the trigger after he attained the "firing position", and as such was compliant with Rules 5.3 and 5.5

Got more carrying on, about how your finger isn't supposed to be on the trigger until you're ready to shoot.

"How do you know he wasn't ready to shoot?" I asked. RO promptly smirked and replied that the shooter's pistol was unloaded.

After that, I decided I didn't need this guy's help.

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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by mikemyers on 12/3/2017, 11:27 am

I've got a question about something I continually read, including in this discussion.

Most everyone agrees that once you grip the pistol to fire a shot, it is better not to need to re-grip it again, maybe between magazines.  

Presumably one is picking up the pistol properly, and is reasonably close to having the same grip each time (although there will probably be changes for many/most of us).

My question - it is assumed that the "first" grip is better, and the second  "grip" the gun may be "off".   As I see it, it's just as possible that the first time you grip the gun might be "off" and the second time might be better.

If the goal is all 10 rounds into one large hole, the first way is better, but in Bullseye shooting, either the first or the second "grip" might be better.  What counts more for a higher score is "accuracy", not "precision" (although it's nice to have both!).  What am I missing?
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by willnewton on 12/3/2017, 2:08 pm

SmokinNJokin wrote:At the start of every string, once the command to load has been given, i load the magazine on a closed slide, raise the gun and dry fire 1 shot at the target using a moderate-fast trigger press, i then pull the gun back, and rack the slide briskly with my left hand and the barrel still pointed downrange.
That is how i load, every single time. That way, i never fire more than 5 shots without dry firing and assessing my flinch.

Some have raised concerns in the past that this increases risk of hammer follow; I shoot only roll triggers so I have never felt the need to hold the hammer down while dropping the slide with the release. If you have concerns about hammer follow this may not be the best tactic for you, this is also why I always keep the gun pointed at the target while racking briskly. Have never had an issue with it.
If you rack the gun before resetting the trigger, the hammer will not follow.  It CANNOT follow.  After firing, while the trigger is still fully depressed, the disconnector is under the sear feet and the sear nose is jammed under the hammer hooks by the sear spring.  There is no way the hammer can fall.  

You can still have conditions that allow hammer follow, but even though it sounds dangerous, racking with the trigger pulled will never be one of them, unless you have an extreme failure.

Watch this GIF.

https://goo.gl/images/zkb8Pm
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by Jon Eulette on 12/3/2017, 2:16 pm

I've dry fired a shot before each new target almost as long as I've been shooting BE. Highly recommend it. 
Jon
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

Post by willnewton on 12/3/2017, 2:20 pm

Zins agrees.  In his class, he said it was a free practice shot you got every round.  Why not take advantage of it?
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Re: Dry fire one shot before every string?

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