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Bob Whaley of Gunsite says shooters should use a 70/30 mix of dry fire to live fire practice to keep your skills up to par. I’m probably more in the 5/95 neighborhood. You? Not that I really have a good excuse. Dry fire’s free and you can do it at home just about any time. The NSSF produces some pretty good training and safety vids covering everything from maintenance to better wingshooting. Check em out here.

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  1. I got a laserlyte target system for Christmas and have been using the heck out of it. We live in the north country and the laser system allows me to practice a lot more than I normally would in winter. Not to mention, I don’t have to pick the brass for reloading out of the snow.

    One other thing is my right wrist (dominate hand) is in pretty bad shape. I will be getting cortisone shots in it but may have to get some of the bones fused. So, I am now “teaching” myself to shoot primarily left handed. Has anyone ever gone through this that can share their experience? The laser target seems it will be ideal for getting the hang of things. I can already see improvement in my shooting using the system.

  2. The laser system is good, just don’t fall into the trap of becoming target focused. Always focus on a perfect sight picture.

  3. The prolific ivory hunter Walter Bell was an eminent professor of the rifle. His advice for advancing hunting skill was exactly that: Snap-shoot with an unloaded rifle at randomly-chosen targets as often as possible while walking in the field. We may have to be more discrete these days, but the advice seems sound to me. If there is lots of time and you have a scope, shooting a deer is simple. If you have a fleeting chance on a hunt or in defense then speed getting the gun up and on target is the the thing. Nonetheless, I fail to make enough time for this activity.

    • Airsoft can work well if the Airsoft model closely mimics the real gun. The thing to watch out for with Airsoft (or even .22 conversions or training pistols) is that any sort of follow up shot work is not a good idea. You want to focus mainly on your first shot and marksmanship, but avoid anything where the lack of significant recoil can build bad habits.

      Todd Green has a decent article on using .22 for training that would apply here to an extent:

      • Yeah, I would assume it would be in the context of training your trigger pull, grip and draws. I’ll check out that article thanks!

      • Correct, only small children and ninjas *play* Airsoft.

        The technology has many applications for training. It can serve in place of Simunitions if sims are unavailable for some training and it can be used in place of dry fire in some cases.

        It cannot replace live fire training but it has its uses.

        • I didn’t want to respond to the troll attempt above, but I’m far from both a mall ninja or a small child and I play airsoft. I am actually part of group that hosts games at Fort Ord and we routinely draw several hundred adults of various backgrounds to our games.

          It can be what you make of it. We have guys with lots different back grounds, and our staff is made up of mostly prior military. It can be good way to keep your skills sharp especially in regards to movement and communication.

        • Oh, I can see reasons to mess about with airsoft; I just don’t understand the people who go and get all kinds of mall-ninja gear JUST to play airsoft.

          I mean, it’s ONE thing if you have good-quality equipment intended to be used for real firearm accessories, and you use that gear for airsoft.

          I just don’t understand the people who get the Wal*Mart-special accessories and play with them.

          If you’re doing the former (using airsoft to become more familiar with the equipment you use for real gunwork) then it’s TRAINING, and if you’re doing the latter, then you’re just playing around and there’s no value to it, and you should just play paintball.

        • What’s wrong with playing around, as long as you know that’s what you’re doing? So what if some friends want to go out and shoot at each other with guns that looks like Sig P226s without actually shooting their friends with actual rounds?

          I haven’t played Airsoft, but I can definitely understand the appeal. When it comes out, I’m thinking of getting the Airsoft version of the XDm.

  4. Recently I’ve been spending more time dry firing, and dry practice in general. Not only can you improve your draw stroke greatly through dry fire, but I find that I can work on the smoothness of my reload dry as well. Saves me a ton of money, and lets me practice more often. Its hard to get to the range more than once a week.

  5. Dry firing a revolver is great, not so great with a semi-auto. Racking the slide of the semi-auto to reset the trigger seems counter productive. Some semi-autos have an external hammer that may be cocked, again, not a good thing to get in the habit of doing, I would think.

      • Honestly though, I refuse to have any hybrid-trigger guns.

        Single-action-only triggers can be fairly nice, and are generally fairly consistent and predictable, and have a short reset.

        Double-action-only triggers can be fairly nice, and are generally fairly consistent and predictable.

        SA/DA triggers are either good in SA or DA (generally DA), are only consistent in one form of operation (generally DA), and are generally only predictable in one form of operation (generally DA).

        A classic example of this is the Sig P226 a friend of mine picked up recently: Nice consistent DA trigger pull with a smooth, crisp, and predictable break. After the first shot though, it went into SA, and everything went to hell — long and non-tactile reset (I.E., none of us could reliably tell when the trigger had reset), along with an inconsistent/unpredictable break that was only compounded by the lack of good trigger reset.

        The result was that all of us could put rounds wherever we wanted them when the trigger was operating in DA, and not when it was in SA.

        Honestly, the drive for DA/SA pistols for duty use is likely a large part of why some cops have such horrible accuracy….

  6. +1 to all the above comments about dry fire practice. More is better.

    It’s easy to find time for 15 minutes of dry-firing in the basement, harder to get to the range frequently. Most ranges will not allow you to practice the things you need to practice to remain ready for real-world defensive situations. And the ammo costs are much lower 🙂 with dry fire too.

    I think an 80%/20% ratio is barely adequate. 90/10 is better.

  7. For you Glock guys, you need to check out the sirt pistol from next level training. I got one off of eBay and love it. It has a resetting trigger and two lasers. One laser comes on when you begin to prep the trigger. The second one comes on when the trigger breaks. A little pricey but well worth it IMHO.

  8. Maybe this would be more appropriate for a Ask Nick: feature but…

    Dry fire aficionados… do you:

    1) use snap caps or not?
    2) why or why not?
    3) can extensive dry fire (talking thousands of repetitions) *without* a snap cap damage a firearm?

    • I use them, because I’ve heard that not using them can damage the firing pin. I don’t know how true that is, but that’s why I do it.

  9. striker fired pistols do not need snap caps…no matter what the internet experts say. I’ve dry fired both Glocks and S.A’s thousands upon thousands of times without any ill affect. Anything that uses a hammer to ignite the primer needs snap caps to prevent damage from excessive dry fire.


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