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How Important Is Dry Fire?

This week's blog theme focuses on common questions from students.

Many ways to practice dry fire
There Are Many Ways To Practice Dry Fire

Dry fire is a funny thing. In talking to other instructors, it seems that only approximately half of them encourage their students to dry fire. Of the ones that do talk about it, the consensus is that very few of the students actually practice it. Why?

The belief seems to be that dry fire is not all that effective. I have actually heard people make the argument, "There is no recoil during dry fire, so it doesn't really help you improve." But is that the case?

We all know that you get recoil during live fire. Does it really affect your shot though? The answer is yes and no. If you are using proper marksmanship fundamentals, then you are already in a good stance with a solid grip as you line up your sights and press the trigger. Recoil occurs after you press the trigger. That means that recoil does not physically affect your shot.

Recoil affects your shot mentally. The human brain absolutely HATES recoil. It hates the sudden and powerful movement it creates in your hand just as much as it despises the obnoxious noise delivered when the trigger is pressed. That is why you will notice that as you try to take your time to line up a shot, you feel rushed. This is your brain screaming for you to hurry up and get it over with.

The brain takes over. It starts to tell your hand that there is going to be a violent movement from the gun. It convinces your hand to work harder to control this recoil, even attempting to counteract it.

This is actually the reason that dry fire is so helpful. By exercising a good trigger press during dry fire, the brain starts to become comfortable. Since there is no recoil, it learns how to operate the trigger in a smooth, controlled manner. The brain gets trained to operate the firearm in this manner. When you go to the range for live fire, it translates perfectly.

Using dry fire is one of the best forms of practice you can do to improve marksmanship. In fact, if you are serious about getting better, you should spend 75% of your practice time performing dry fire. Only about 25% of your time should be spent practicing with live rounds.

CAUTION: Before doing any dry fire, make sure you know the 7 Steps To Safe Dry Fire.


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