The Desired Outcome of Dry fire

I think the majority of gun owners and serious shooters understand that there is great value in dry-fire training. Despite this, I've found that for many shooters, their dry fire experiences are relatively confined to a few simple drills or exercises.

My intent in today's article is to outline the various reasons we dryfire and make the argument that each of us should greatly diversify our dryfire training plans to better achieve ALL of these outcomes.

So Why Is Dryfire Training So Important?

More Total Time on the Trigger:

We train dry (without ammo) because if we only get firearm practice when we have the time to go to the range and the money to pay for ammunition, then none of us are likely to get enough time on the gun to build strong shooting skills. Thus we rely on dry fire training to augment our live fire in order to build deeper skills.

Training Things You May Not Be Able to Do Live:

We train dry because many of us don't have access to live fire ranges where we can practice critical skills such as target transitions, moving while shooting, 360 degree environments, use of cover, low-light, weapon transitions, and much more. Thus we rely on dry fire to train these skills and activities that we otherwise would never be able to practice.

Overcoming Shooting Problems Caused by Live Fire:

We train dry because there are some skills that can be better practiced via dry fire. Dealing with recoil anticipation for example is much easier to practice dry where there is no recoil. Some trigger manipulation drills can also be more effective in dry fire where recoil doesn't interrupt the drill.

How Does That Influence the Way We Practice?

As you read the above did you think of a few gaps in your training? We all know that a self-defense shooter needs to be able to do far more than just stand still, shooting at a stationary target. Real life is dynamic and your practice and training should be also.

Let me recommend a skill based approach. We have recommended an outline of about 17 unique shooting skills for you to learn. If you focused on each of them for a week then you could focus on each 3 times per year. As you consider any given skill and you practice that skill in your home you will get the variety that you need to build deeper and more dynamic skills.

For example, if you decide to work on the use of cover for a given practice session you might consider a few different types of cover in the home to work with. A doorway, a large piece of furniture, and a stairwell may make good possibilities. Workaround those points in order to achieve all the objectives.

This will likely mean using a variety of different training tools and methods to make your practice sessions unique and valuable.


Both live and dry fire practice sessions need to change and be dynamic in order to be as valuable as possible. What are some of the things you do to increase the value of your dry fire practice sessions? Let us know in the comments below.

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. Bob Williams on January 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I fully agree with your assumptions and comments. I have invested in a number of dry fire programs involving laser targets and weapon attachments but they all are static…in other words they don’t move. I purchased an interesting unit at a gun show recently which enables the user to attach a target along with a special program Ap on his Iphone and fire a laser insert in his pistol at the stationary target while the hits register on the Iphone Ap. When some one comes up with something that takes the same innovation an adapts it to something moving, they will corner the self defense market.

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