It is hard to say what are the best dry fire drills. But these drills are 3 that I use routinely in my dry fire practice routine. If you haven't heard, we think dry fire practice is incredibly beneficial for anyone who shoots. Over the years we have published so many articles describing its benefits. And a host of information on all the products you can use to make it even more enjoyable and productive.
So you want 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 skill set.
The Dry Fire Safety Consideration
You all likely know this, but I'll cover it anyway.
- Every time you conduct dry fire drills, ensure your firearm is unloaded and no ammunition is present. While no product can ever take the place of you handling the gun safety, I love the BarrelBlok. It blocks the chamber and ensures the gun 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 is credited to George Harris. It works primarily on developing your understanding of how to press the trigger without disrupting the sights. It also helps a bit with understanding sight alignment.
Stand close enough to a blank wall so 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.
The trigger squeeze should be continuous from beginning to end. As you squeeze the trigger you should be focused on keeping the sights aligned. 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, dry fire is a perfect time to start training your eyes to focus on the sights with both eyes open. The drill specifically does not include a target so your focus is not drawn away from the sights to the target. If two eye focus is difficult, don't worry, I am including a great drill below to help you with this.
Some folks like to use a laser cartridge like this one while performing this drill. There isn't anything wrong with that, just make sure you are not shifting your eyes at the last second to focus on where the laser is appearing on the wall.
Firearm Draw/Presentation Dry Fire Drill:
Learning how to have a sub-second draw from concealment doesn't happen overnight, it is a process. I have found our Draw Like A Pro course to be a fantastic resource for anyone looking to develop a faster draw and not sacrifice accuracy.
Okay back to dry fire. Performing thousands of reps with this drill is a no-brainer. Becoming quick and consistent requires thousands of repetitions and routine practice. 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 the gun is carried on your body, you should practice your draw with the new set-up. Alas, if you alternate between concealed and open carry, you need to practice your draw both ways. It isn't that you will forget one way because of the other, but don't forsake one for the other.
I'll take it a step further and say that you should practice your draw from concealment wearing different types of clothing that you would typically wear. The length, material, type, and size of the cover shirt can impact 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 basic, step-by-step process of how to draw your firearm from a concealment holster. 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 increases your chances of survival.
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. In the article, he explains 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. In a nutshell, you need to understand the terms convergence and accommodation about your eyes.
Convergence is where both eyes focus on a single point. Accommodation is where one eye is basically focused on a distant object and one at a closer one.
Some folks may not realize that eye dominance is an important consideration in how we see our gun's sights.
How to Determine Which is Your Dominant Eye
First, hold your hand out at arm's length distance
Second, keep both eyes open
Third, place your thumb over a specific spot on the wall
Use only one eye at a time by closing the other and observe the ‘location' of your thumb compared to the object.
With one of your eyes closed, and the other one open your thumb will appear to move several inches off of the object. When doing the same thing with the other eye the thumb should stay over the object.
The eye that when opened maintains the thumb over the object is your dominant eye.
This is the eye you should be used 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 your focus on the target. This means the target should remain in focus.
Next, while maintaining focus on the target, place your sights over the target. Think of overlaying the sights onto the target.
If you are following along and keeping your focus on the target, you may now notice that your sights are doubled, and slightly out of focus. Additionally, recognize that one of the images of your sights is more clear than the other. This image is the one coming from your dominant eye. The objective is to train your eyes and brain to ignore the image coming from your non-dominant eye. You can confirm this by closing your non-dominant eye and seeing that the front sight is still over the top of the target while closing the dominant eye will show the sight off to the side.
What you are doing is shifting your eyes' accommodation to your front sight so you see a more clear front sight, superimposed over a target that remains in focus.
If your target becomes out of focus, you have shifted the focus of both eyes to your sights.
Learning how to shoot with both eyes open takes time.
It requires practice because you are using your eyes 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're not yet convinced, Jacob may be able to persuade you.
If you want to really step up your dryfire game, check out Tools of Dry Fire Firearm Training.