While the saying “you never forget to ride a bike” has some truth to it, riding a bike is still a perishable skill. You may remember the basics and pick it back up rather quickly after a hiatus, you won’t be as good as you once were due to not practicing it for a while. Shooting skills are no different. If you don’t train and keep your skills sharp, they will slowly fade.
It is important that shooting enthusiasts, especially conceal carriers and police officers, train regularly to keep shooting skills sharp. Hitting the range at least once a month is a simple and enjoyable way to retain your muscle memory. Going to local shooting competitions on the weekend is even better. But due to how expensive ammo can get, not to mention the time investment, we often can’t do that as often as we would like. Thankfully there are plenty cheap, at home dry fire drills we can do for just fifteen minutes a day to become better shooters.
1: Draw from a holster
This drill is obvious, but the important part is to do it slow and deliberate to avoid building bad muscle memory. If you rush and draw faster than you are capable of, you can develop bad muscle memory that hurts your skills in the long run. Even though I’m approaching a sub one second draw time, I always start out my draw from concealment drills slow and deliberate – incrementally getting faster during my training session. I rarely do draw “training” as fast as I can.
2: Multiple target transitions
Obtaining a fast sight picture is one of the most important skills in shooting sports and self defense shooting. It allows you to get on target and transition between targets quickly and accurately. You train this skill during the draw from concealment training, but specifically training transitioning between multiple targets is an excellent additional drill – one that can even be paired with the drawing from concealment drill.
This drill is a lot easier with a double action trigger allowing you to pull the trigger repeatedly without having to rack the slide.
3: Move and shoot
Moving and shooting is a skill you can’t practice at most shooting ranges, so it’s a good one to practice at home. This can be paired with the drawing from concealment and multiple target transitions drills.
Place targets around your house, ideally in a circular pattern, that allows you to move throughout the home engaging the targets while walking. Try setting it up so you have to shoot while moving straight towards the targets, back up away from the targets, and cross horizontally from the targets.
This is also easier with a double action trigger.
4: Shooting around cover
The ability to shoot around obstacles is needed in som shooting competition formats as well as in self defense situations. It is also easy to practice in the comfort of your own home.
While practicing your moving while shooting, also place some targets in places where you must engage them from around corders.
5: Penny on the front sight
Having a smooth and consistent trigger pull is important for accurate shot placement on both pistol and rifle. Place a coin on the front sight of your firearm and a hold it outstretched. Keeping the coin balanced while the handgun is outstretched is a skill in of itself. When you’re able to keep the coin balanced, pull the trigger while trying to keep the coin balanced on the end of the handgun.
Never stop training
If you are serious about using firearms, be it self defense, hunting, duty, or competition – it is paramount that you keep on training. A one hour training session once a week, or fifteen minutes a day, can make a huge difference.
Dry fire training is never a good substitute for life fire training. While you can hone many shooting skills without ammo, dry fire doesn’t compare to live fire. Keep heading to your local shooting range.