If you haven't heard, dryfire practice is incredibly beneficial. That is why we have published articles describing its benefits and all the products you can use to make your dry practice even more enjoyable and productive. But if you're looking to improve on some fundamentals, and don't have anything but your firearm, here are 3 dry fire drills that will help develop and improve even the best shooter's skillset.
You all likely know this, but I'll cover it anyway. Every time you conduct dryfire drills, ensure your firearm is unloaded and no ammunition is present. While no product can ever take the place of your safety, we've found the BarrelBlok works very well to ensure a weapon is safe for dry firing purposes. Additionally, choose an area to train that won't have you muzzling your family members or other people.
Wall Dry Fire Drill:
This dry fire drill that is credited to George Harris, is simple yet effective at developing good trigger finger discipline, as well as an understanding of sight alignment. Stand close enough to a blank wall that when you present the gun at eye height, it is only a few inches from the wall. Maintain a strong grip as you squeeze the trigger until the shot breaks.
This is a controlled, smooth trigger squeeze because as you squeeze the trigger you should be focused on keeping your sight alignment rock steady. Ensure your front sight does not move at any point during the trigger squeeze.
Tip: The tendency is to close one eye during this drill. While that is not necessarily wrong, dryfire is a perfect time to start training your eyes to focus on the sights and target with both eyes open. The drill specifically does not include a target so your focus is not drawn away from the sights and to the target. If two eye focus is difficult, don't worry, I am including a great drill to help you with this.
Firearm Draw/Presentation Dry Fire Drill:
Performing thousands of reps with this drill is a no-brainer. Great shooters make drawing from the holster look easy, but becoming quick and consistent requires thousands of repetitions. The draw is where you begin to establish your grip, and how you grip your firearm can really set you up for success or failure when it comes to accuracy.
Anytime you change holsters or where that gun is carried on your body, you should be practicing your draw with the new set-up. Alas, if you are one that alternates between concealed and open carry, you need to practice your draw both ways. I would even go a step further and say that you should practice your draw from concealment wearing different types of clothing that you would typically wear. You would be surprised how much the length, material, or size of the cover shirt effects the draw.
The key to this drill is that you should start with the technique being fundamentally sound before adding speed into the mix. Jacob wrote this article explaining the step-by-step process of drawing your firearm from concealment. Once you have the fundamentals down and your speed is increasing, include movement to your draw process. Similar to moving while performing magazine changes, drawing while moving is a little thing that makes you a harder target to kill.
Convergence and Accommodation Dry Fire Drill:
World class shooter and top-tier instructor Gabe White wrote an incredible article a while back explaining some physiology of the eyes and how that plays into the perception of our sights and target while shooting. The article sincerely revolutionized the way I understood the aiming process and explained it in a way that made sense. There is a lot of technical information and terminology that will help explain how the drill works, so be sure to check it out. But in a nutshell, you need to understand the terms convergence and accommodation in reference to your eyes.
Convergence is where both eyes focus on a single point. Accommodation is the image that is sharp and clear.
First, you must start by identifying your dominant eye. Hold your hand out at arm's length distance and place your thumb over a stationary object. Use only one eye at a time by closing the other and observe the ‘location' of your thumb compared to the object. With one eye closed, your thumb will move several inches off of the object, while using the other eye will keep the thumb over the object. The eye that maintains the thumb over the object is your dominant eye.
This is the eye you should be using to aim. Typically your dominant eye will be on the same side of your dominant hand, but this is not always the case.
Now for the drill:
Choose a target around 10 feet away (light switches are awesome targets by the way). Keeping both eyes open, bring your firearm up to eye level. Maintain a clear target and bring your front sight (which will be doubled and blurry) over the target. Keeping both eyes open, shift your eyes' accommodation to your front sight so you see two sharp and clear front sights, and a single blurry target. If your target doubles, that means your convergence also shifted to your front sight. The key is to move only your accommodation to the front sight.
The inner front sight image is from your dominant eye, and the outer image is from your non-dominant eye. Place the image from your dominant eye over the target, not the other one. You can confirm this by closing your non-dominant eye and seeing that the front sight is still over top of the target while closing the dominant eye will show the sight off to the side.
The key is to train your eyes to shift accommodation while leaving convergence alone and do it quickly. It requires practice and programming the muscles in your eye to work in ways they typically don't. In this article from the Vision Therapy Center, they use a tool called the Brock String which consists of a string and beads to help train the eyes.
Practicing this drill will fatigue the tiny muscles in your eyes, so it isn't something you can do for hours on end. A few minutes here and there will help train your eyes to anticipate the point you are shifting your accommodation to, and thus you will see your sights more quickly.
These 3 dry fire drills are a few that I find myself practicing daily. Make sure you leverage your time away from the range with dryfire because without a doubt it will make you a better shooter. There is no replacement for live-fire range time, but you can build fundamentals and correct flaws away from the range. Then go to the range, apply, and refine your technique with live-fire. This will make your range time much more productive.
If you are interested in all the many tools you can use for dryfire, check out this article.