Journey to USPSA Regionals – Dry Fire Drills Revisited

Welcome to “Journey to USPSA Regionals”. This is my personal journal related to my training and competition activities on my journey to train-up in order to compete at a USPSA regional. In this article, I share some updates to my training regimen, particularly my dry fire training.

Things Learned (…so far)

A few weeks back, I posted my training regimen that I would be using in my journey to the USPSA Regionals.  In my regimen, I practiced using both dry fire and live fire drills in a rotational routine. When I implemented the training, I started with the dry fire drills for a couple of weeks before starting the live fire drills. In part, I started this way in order to “shake out” findings/changes (as I am going to share here) and to allow myself to schedule my time appropriately in order to do both drills.  Also, since we have had so much rain this season, my range time has been a bit limited.

Dry Fire, Grip, Pistol, Shooting

Bad grip & adjusting grip while shooting – Why you do dry fire.

In this article, I share with you the updates and knowledge I have gained as I started practicing the dry fire routine. So far, many things have “fallen out” from doing the drills and (particularly) doing the drills in the routine and rotation as I previously identified.

  • Stack skills together into more extensive drills per exercise. For instance, draw skills (timed and untimed) can be combined with many other exercises.
  • Set time aside and stick to it religiously.  Note: there will be a future post on this very topic!
  • The required manual trigger reset with Glock pistols is both good and bad. It is good for it gives you a moment to consider what you just did. It is bad because, in some drills, I can see where it may be “breaking” training and teaching bad things/habits.  Look into using trigger reset tools.   Note: I have and will have some great articles coming up on that!!
  • After starting my drill routine, I realized that I had no weak/strong hand drills – fixed that!
  • Use a timer as much as possible. Do not always rush, but do every drill (you can) at speed periodically.
  • A 5 day rotation was TOO MUCH!
Dry Fire, Reload, Pistol, Shooting

Reloading way low – Another reason to do dry fire.

Actually, 5 days was both too much and unnecessary. After stacking skills together in drills, I found that the last two days were redundant and, after doing the cycle a few times, I was getting “bored” and burned out at the repetition of some of the drills.

 Drill Updates

Day 1 Drills:

  • draw to shooting position x 25 (15 slow, 10 at speed)
  • 10 yard draw to dry fire x 25 (15 slow, 10 at speed)
  • trigger reset drill (dry fire) x 25
  • draw to shooting position x 25 (15 slow, 10 timed) – Not much change other than adding a timed element into this drill. The goal time on draw-to-shooting position is .8 sec. The focus is on getting the gun out of the holster and up to a drawing position fast. Focus on acquiring the sights as you move into the final position and taking slack out of the trigger. The final position should be centered on target, sights aligned, trigger slack removed and then you are ready to fire.
  • draw to dry fire @ 10 yards x 25 (15 slow, 10 timed) – Again, not much changed other than adding a timed element into this drill. The goal time on draw to dry fire is 1 sec. Focus on everything from the first exercise plus getting your finger in the right position to pull without moving the sights.
  • trigger reset drill from shooting position (dry fire) x 50 – Hold the trigger back on the gun, engage the trigger using the slide, move into a two-hand, proper firing position, slowly let off until the trigger resets and then fire. The goal is to learn the feel of the trigger reset and to be able to pull the trigger immediately.

Day 2 Drills:

Bill Drill, IPSC, Target

IPSC Target with Zones

  • static hold wobble drill with laser 30 secs x 25
  • timed dry fire reset drill x 50 (determine base time)
  • timed 10 yard draw to dry fire (1 sec and under goal, starting 1.2 secs, video here)
  • timed draw to 30 sec wobble drill (normal gun) – As I began to do my drills (this one being a good example), I realized that I could stack skills together to gain an advantage. Use the time (plus .1-.2 secs extra) from your other timed draw exercises for your time. Hold in “X” ring for the entire drill. Note: I use my normal gun now versus the laser. I did not find any value in the laser and I was burning up the battery. Start with 10 repetitions as you work up to 25 – level out between 15-25 for the normal drill.
  • timed ready, fire, reset x 50 (laser) – I switched this out to the laser because I can see where it “hits”. Start at 5-7 yards at 1 sec par (time window), then work down to .8 (or less). From the ready position, push the gun out and focus on acquiring the sights as you push to shooting position. Dry fire and reset the trigger in the time window and keep on a 10 ring or under.
  • draw to strong hand dry fire x 15/draw to weak hand dry fire x 15 – With the Day 1 changes, I realized that the original exercise was a repeat of Day 1. Also, I noted that I had not added any weak/strong hand dry fire.

Day 3 Drills

dry firing, shooting, pistol

Dry Firing: Working on bad habits, creating good habits.

  • reload drill x 25
  • jam drill x 25
  • mag fall out drill x 25
  • reload supreme drill 25R/10W – As I have indicated in this article, I am attempting more often to stack functional training into my drills – even the dry fire drills. Given that, for my reload drill I came up with a supreme version of this! 🙂 The supreme version consists of a weapon with the slide in rear position as the last round is fired. Point at a target, as if shooting, and hold (like wobble drill) on the target for 10 secs (this also helps reset the pretext activity muscle memory). Move into a reload drill, making sure to remove all extraneous movements. I do this drill with my magazines in the pouch the correct way (25) and the wrong way (10). In doing it the wrong way, my hands have learned, on touch, to distinguish between the two and adapt the magazine on the movement to the gun. I do at speed, sometimes slow, to find extraneous movements and to refine my movement. I will be producing a video of the key “time wasters” in a reload.
  • jam/misfire drill 2.0 – Wow, I thought jam drills would be easy!  Coming up with one that teaches the correct techniques is a bit harder than I thought. With a Glock, some of the traditional ones did not work. Here is the one I developed. Load 1 dummy round in 3 magazines and put one in your gun (dummy is not loaded, but the trigger reset).  Point the gun at the target, pull the trigger and mentally think that you hear a “clink” as if the round jammed or you have a dud.  As best as possible, keeping your gun on target with your weak hand, function the slide to clear and load another round (dummy). Pull the trigger, then “hear dud”. Function the slide to load the round. Slide locks (empty magazine), do reload drill. Repeat with each magazine. This teaches you to clear and function the slide while keeping your gun on target and to move into reload drills.

I did have a few things I learned about these drills. They include:

  • As I do drills, I practice with a bulls-eye target as a backdrop to practice keeping my eye on the target.
  • I added doing 10-15 slow and 10-15 timed with each drill. It is important to have a time to work towards. It is equally important to do the techniques slowly in order to identify any (possible) wasted movements.
  • I added a white strip to the strong side, bottom of the magazine in order to give me a visual queue to focus on when I do the drills (and in actual scenarios).

Future Changes

  • As part of the ” things learned”, I realized that I need some trigger reset “abilities” with my Glock pistols. There are some simple drills that non-double action pistols are limited in doing. Also, I began to realize training in the drill-reset-trigger mode was teaching me some potentially bad habits.
  • The SIRT pistol has a lot more “abilities” than I suspected. I am exploring these abilities and may add some additional drills in the future.
  • I am going to find and add some additional training target styles as backdrops that I use for focus – simply focusing on a bulls-eye target is limited.

Read the other “Journey to USPSA Regionals” articles:

Rebuilding the Core Basics
My Best Worst Day of Shooting
Establishing Training Regimen

One Comment

  • Sadie says:

    In case you are not aware, here’s the standard recommended “fix” for dry firing a glock:
    Dryfire a Glock /
    From Triangle Tactical / 2 years ago

    Video Summary: We get a lot of questions about how to dryfire a Glock since there trigger doesn’t reset after the first trigger pull. It’s easy, just shove some cardboard in between the breech and barrel…

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