How to Dry Fire

How to dry fire?

Dry firing is the simple act of using your unloaded firearm to practice a series of dry fire drills.  At first glance it may appear that not much is being accomplished but the results are unbelievable. Most of these dry fire drills will end with the gun up and out with the front sight in focus. Seeing the front sight is obviously one of the keys to having good results during live fire. Therefore this dry firing action of seeing the front sight over and over again or whatever drill you are working on will soon become both faster and second nature (part of your subconscious).  After the skills become part of your subconscious, your mind is free to think tactically or strategically as opposed to having to think about how to shoot the firearm.  Dry firing also can hone good trigger control if you decide to press the trigger during any of  your dry fire drills.  While pressing the trigger you should not see the front sight move out of place.  Some don't press the trigger during certain dry fire drills as it can lead to jerking the trigger in order to beat the buzzer.  Keep that in mind while dry firing.


With any firearms discussion we must first talk about the four Firearms Safety Rules:

  1. Treat ALL Firearms as if they were loaded.
  2. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Know your target and what is beyond it.


Before you begin any of the dry fire practice drills, please read:

  • Unload your gun.  You must look and feel for an empty chamber.  Look away and then look and feel again.
  • All live ammunition should be in a different room.
  • Put up some sort of a target.  Area behind target must be able to stop a negligent discharge.  Just drywall does not work!
  • Once you are ready, check your gun again to make sure that it is unloaded and say to yourself, “I am starting dry fire practice”.
  • Proceed with your practice.
  • If at any time your practice is interrupted, you must go back to step 1.  Distractions lead to potentially destructive or deadly mistakes.
  • Once you are done.  You must say to yourself, “Dry fire practice is OVER”.  This is to keep you from doing  JUST ONE MORE part of a drill with a potentially loaded gun.  This has happened.  Someone finishes, loads their gun for duty or conceal carry, gets a phone call and comes back and says, “Just ONE MORE DRAW”.  But this time they are presenting  a loaded gun.
  • Once again, if at any time your practice is interrupted, you must go back to step 1.  Distractions lead to mistakes.

*This is merely a guide.  If you shoot yourself, something or someone else it is your fault.  Do NOT practice with a loaded firearm!


So how do I start dry firing?

Quick start guide for the DASHBOARD

  • Click "new drill" and select a name
  • Plug-in your par-time
  • Select the number of repetitions per set
  • Checkmark the sets you would like to do
  • click "Save Changes”


Naming your dry fire drill

Keep it short and to the point. The draw, reloads, moving A to B, etc.

Deciding your Par-time

Figuring out your initial par time is an experiment when you first start. Be patient and put in a time you think you can accomplish 80 to 90% of your repetitions and then make small adjustments. Be true to yourself and remember ALMOST doesn't count. Those of you that have much room for improvement will have big changes in your times in a short amount of time. Of course the faster you get the harder it is to improve. At some point you will plateau and practice will only maintain your skills. Having said that, there is always room to improve on something with your shooting.

Number of repetitions

Find your balance here. If you decide to do 10 repetitions per set and all five sets, that's 50 repetitions just for one drill. If this is new to you, you're going to be tired if you don't find the balance. If you are in shape and already dry fire on a regular basis, 50 reloads is probably good for you. Find what works for you. A word of caution here. Fatigue during your dry fire can cause you to be easily distracted. If you find yourself getting fatigued, alter your reps and moved to another drill. Usually 5 to 10 reps within a set are adequate.

Deciding how many sets in a drill

Similar to the repetitions, you must find a balance that works for you. You can do up to five sets within a drill but you don't have to do all five. Three should probably be the minimum with one slower than Par, Par and one faster than Par. With "slower than par" you are warming up which is important for your body to feel that perfect motion. Equally important is pushing yourself beyond par so your body feels that as well. Soon your "faster than par" times will become your new par time.


Things you need to dry fire practice

  • Unloaded firearm
  • holster - what you usually use for work, competition or conceal carry
  • spare magazine holder
  • snap caps - not mandatory
  • Targets - use what works for your goals - requal, competition, etc.
  • adequate backstop for negligent discharge
  • sufficient room to move around for your particular dry fire drills