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Why Dry Fire Helps

Guardian Nation Dry-Fire Course

Here is Jacob doing some dry fire practice.

I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't dry firing as much as the rest of the team was–not until lately, that is. It's not that I didn't see the value in it, it's that I didn't have the time to do it. But recently, I thought I'd dry fire a lot to see just how much it helps.

I've been dry firing daily for about a month now using different guns and different feeling triggers, etc. What it has done for me, personally, I can feel from the time I pick each gun up. The way I grip the gun. The way I press the trigger. My confidence with that gun. All of that has improved. Don't get me wrong, I did dry fire before, just not as much.

As I dry fire I watch my front sight. If it moves at all I figure out why. Is there anything wrong with my grip? Anything wrong with my trigger press?

More often than not, with me at least, my issues were coming from two different places.

My first issue, is that I wasn't always pulling the trigger straight back to the rear of the gun. A lot of the time, I'm pushing the trigger to the left. Because there is so much going on during my live fire training while at the range, I was never able to properly diagnose that I was doing this.

Things like recoil and muzzle blast are distracting to the eye and cannot really allow the shooter to figure out why his/her shots are going off from where they're supposed to go.

I had a double whammy, though. My trigger finger pushing left wasn't the only issue. I was also tightening my grip as I pressed the trigger. I was able to figure this out because my strong hand thumb sympathetically moved as my trigger finger did its thing.

This was also pushing my shots to the left on paper.

I'm unable to see that with the distractions of shooting a gun, and had I not noticed it while dry firing, I may not have realized I was doing it. This is actually still an uphill battle for me, but I have just about completely eradicated my trigger woes.

I strongly urge you to start dry firing your EDC (everyday carry gun). And, if you already do from time to time, I urge you to do it more. You'll see an improvement if you're looking for ways to improve. Actually pay attention to what your front sight is doing. Pay attention to your fundamentals. It will help.

If it helped me, which it did, it'll also help you.

Something else that some people don't think about is dry firing in between strings of live fire while at the gun range. You may end up getting some strange looks, but I actually ran a bunch of ammo through a gun I was testing, dry fired a few times, and found myself making small mistakes that I didn't realize I was doing.

I think the reason why this helps is because dry firing at home is one thing. Live fire at the range is another thing. And, doing both at the range is something totally different. What I mean is, I got used to the muzzle blast, recoil, etc., and then threw a wrench into it showing off my lovely flinch–which I thought I had overcome.

Here are some resources we've put together on dry fire training to help you out even more:

Learn more about dry firing, here.

Tools of dry fire training.

3 dry fire drills.

Dry fire with laser simulation.

Leave any dry firing tips you may have in the comments below.

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9 Responses to Why Dry Fire Helps

  1. Jason Adams August 1, 2019 at 4:20 pm #

    Dry fire is something that I just started doing, but I can already tell a difference in my live firing already. After reading this article I’m going to start doing it even more and use the tips to improve. I’ve been thinking about getting one of the laser training tools out there to maybe make it more fun, but I haven’t decided on which one yet. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to them.

  2. Alice Fernandez August 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm #

    I have been dry firing as a training tool for many, many years. I used to use dummy rounds with all of my guns during dry fire practice. When the Glock E Trainer came out, I switched to using that. I try to make my dry fire practice sessions as realistic as possible. Therefore, I use various techniques for my dry fire practice. I keep a practice gun next to e in bed .withe Glock E Trainer, it is easy to tell this gun is unloaded and the E Trainer is installed and ready. I use my television, with its moving targets as one of my dry fire drills. I also,practice from a lying down position in the dark. I have a target attached next to the door jam to simulate someone coming in. I also have dual targets set up to practice multiple targets. These are just some of the ways I use dry fire in my own training for home defense. I am a certified NRA instructor and teach these techniques to my students, emphasizing the importance of dry fire practice.

  3. Betty Neal August 1, 2019 at 6:21 pm #

    Had always heard it was not good for guns
    To dry fire, is that not true

    • Jacob Paulsen August 1, 2019 at 6:32 pm #

      Betty, there has been debate as to the potential to do damage to the firing pin in a gun by dry firing the gun. A few things to note. First, less and less professionals in the industry think this is a real concern. Second, if it is a concern then using dummy ammo so the firing pin has something to impact would eliminate the concern. Third, if it is a concern and one does nothing to mitigate the potential for damage then you are probably talking about 10,000 trigger presses before any damage would be likely.

      • Phil R August 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

        I think you should qualify your answer just a bit. Dry fire won’t damage most center fire guns. It’s not generally a good idea with rim fires – i.e. .22s and the like.

        • Jacob Paulsen August 12, 2019 at 8:12 am #

          Super valid! Thank you for adding that.

  4. Matt Benore August 1, 2019 at 8:05 pm #

    I purchased the SIRT pistol when they first were offered through I dont dry fire daily however I try to weekly. I definitely notice a difference on my accuracy.

    I’ve started taking thos SIRT to the range with me. Before going with live rounds, I did some practice paying attention to the laser on the SIRT. It was very telling.

    End result was I was shooting live a bit more accurate 10 yards out. I was using my EDC, P365.

    I’d recommend dry firing as much as you can.

  5. Alice Fernandez August 3, 2019 at 5:23 am #

    To the question about dry firing being harmful to the firearm: I have read most of the manuals for the most popular brands. The only manual Imhave read so far that does not prohibit consistent dry firing is Glock pistols. I am a Glock enthusiast, as well as a certified firearms instructor. I do caution people against practicing dry fire without a way of protecting the firing pin from bending or breaking. A good brand of dummy rounds works well. There are even very good videos on making your own dummy tounds. Just be sure the issue of protecting the firing pin is covered. There are also some good dry fire devices on the market. They are not all good. Some are. Just be descerning; use good judgement, and check out the return policy Before you buy. Dry fire, dry fire, and dry fire. It is a must!

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