Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dry Fire Dojo

Confession time. You'll recall I wrote about my dry fire routine previously. I was seeing some progress, though the gains were slow. And frankly, the routine got boring. It was certainly easier to skip a day than to get out my gear and practice. After the Steve Anderson class a few weeks ago, I got myself re-motivated with a much better, and more interesting, dry fire routine.

The first thing I had to do was set up my dry fire "dojo" in the basement. Having a dedicated area to practice isn't a necessity I suppose, but it makes for a more convenient routine. All the needed equipment stays in the basement ready for use. Targets were hung over my beer bottle shelves, in standard USPSA El Prez layout. Initially I used some scaled down targets due to space constraints. However, in order to follow Steve's directions more closely, those were replaced with full-size USPSA targets which meant clearing out more space to give me the full 30 feet needed. I also put up some small plates to simulate a plate rack. Eventually I hope to build a simple swinger to work on that specialized skill too. I marked out the needed distances with tape on the floor, and put down a couple of 3x3 shooting boxes made from PVC pipe. Getting set up also required hanging a couple shop lights to brighten things up in the unfinished basement. Perhaps all the prep work also helps to motivate me; I do have time and money invested now.

The bottles are motivation - for a treat after a job well done!

I am working on the drills from Anderson's first book, Refinement and Repetition. In class, Steve suggested we commit to simply doing the first 12 drills in the book repeatedly for 5 minutes each, plus one additional drill for each daily session. Allowing for the time between drills, I find that takes about 75 minutes to do. A good part of the first few sessions was spent learning the drills and determining my base par times. Recently, it's become more familiar and I'm able to focus on the "doing."

I can get down to the dry fire dojo about 5 days a week, given other commitments. Even if I really don't feel like practicing, I'll force myself. But in all honesty, I think that's perhaps only occurred once, as I look forward to my practice time each day. The improvement I'm seeing is satisfying, and very motivational. I'm reminded of my much younger days when I ran cross country in college - if I missed a day running I was miserable. Back then I had to force myself to take one day off a week for recovery. Given the short days of winter, dry fire may well be my only practice most weeks. At least there's no need to clean the gun after dry fire!

6 comments:

  1. That's cool. Do you use one of those snap-cap laser thingies to show your hits?

    Although I think pointing your gun at all that beer and pulling the trigger has got to be some kind of 4-rules violation.

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    1. I don't but I've looked at those. You've hit on a good point that I didn't cover. The secret to good dry fire training is being honest about it. You have to call that you're pushing the trigger on an "A." Try to go too fast and you don't. Still need range time to verify that you are embedding good movements. The dry fire drills serve to get the motions to happen faster - to get you back to the shooting sooner.

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  2. It’s important to remember that dry fire is -an- answer, not the answer. I’ve found airsoft makes a good target to target transition practice tool, but they are woefully inaccurate behind about 25 feet. If you’re lucky enough that your handgun has a very close airsoft replica that will fit in your holster you can practice everything from draw, present to multiple targets, a lot easier than with dry fire.

    That said, the trigger pull on the airsoft guns is almost laughably easier. So I use dry fire for trigger feel work, then transition to airsoft for “target” practice when not at the range. It helps that I have a large enough back yard with a natural back stop.

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    1. It's even much more than trigger feel. Dy fire can help you get better on all those "in between scoring points" things. Draw from holster from different start positions, magazine changes, target transitions, movement, getting into position after movement - all with the same equipment used in competition. It's definitely one tool of many, but a highly important tool.

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  3. Extremely cool! Never used a motivating background before.

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    1. AGirl, motivation comes in many forms. ;-)

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