Lesson 1: Dry Fire is Boring AF

I am two days into my dry fire practice and I am not going to lie: it is BORING AF! I can already tell that this is going to test my patience, my dedication, and my desire. Blogging about it will no doubt help me with my accountability.

Recall that following Dustin Salomon’s advice I picked for my training one platform (Glock) and one system (Mike Seeklander’s American Competitive Shooting Society and his IDPA Mastery Series). The goal here is to become a better shooter and to work up to competition shooting over the course of this year.

Seeklander’s Session One is the two-handed grip. I begin the session with his 11 minute video in which he demonstrates how to get a proper grip on the pistol. I realized from my first round of baseline shooting drills that getting a good grip on the gun was a problem for me so it was excellent to go back to the basics here.

I discovered that I have a tendency to wrap the fingers of my support (right) hand too far around the fingers of my grip (left) hand so the heel of my hand is not where it is supposed to be on the grip. In his video, Seeklander advises to situate the heel of the support hand on the grip and then work backward to the fingers to see where the fingers should be.

From there he advises using a “trigger guard index,” figuring out where the support hand should come up to and contact the trigger guard in order to get the support hand in the right position.

Next you squeeze the grip hard (harder than you think, he says) as if it is a walnut and your hands are a nutcracker with your fingers acting as the hinge. (I don’t know how common the analogy is but I have also heard Travis Haley use it to describe the grip.)

Dry fire practice with SIRT pistol. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane

The dry fire practice that goes along with this video lesson is “Extend Prep and Press.” Beginning with the gun in a compressed ready position to the side and with the hands at “trigger guard index,” extend and dry-fire one shot.

Using my SIRT pistol, I do this very deliberately 10 or more times. Beginning from the trigger guard index it is easy for me to get my support hand situated properly on the grip. The dry-firing reinforces the feeling of doing this properly.

Although Seeklander suggests using a small IPSC/IDPA target, I had to change targets to maintain my level of interest.

Carved wood coati targets. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane

After doing this deliberately, I follow Seeklander’s program and set my timer for a 2.0 second par time and then drop the par time as I am able to make good dry-fire hits on my target. I get down to 1.4 seconds, but at 1.3 seconds I start to get sloppy (perhaps also getting fatigued).

Seeklander’s IDPA Mastery Series course has 24 sessions and is meant to be completed in 6 weeks, but given my time constraints, I am going to cover the 24 sessions some time in September (less than one session per week). That means I will have plenty of time to repeat this dry-fire session and continue to improve my grip.

Following the coaching about dry fire I received from Steve Hendricks of Custom Tactical Services, I am trying not to rush through the process just to get it over with. Instead, as he instructed, I try to learn something from every dry fire repetition and from the session as a whole.

Using the timer helped to reveal issues with my mechanics that inhibit going faster while maintaining accuracy, in particular building consistent pressure on the grip and seeing the front sight quickly.

I realized that one of the reasons I tended to grip so far around my base hand with my support hand is that my grip strength is poor. A couple of clicks on the WWW and help is on its way in the form of the Gripmaster Prohands hand exerciser – SPECIAL OPS edition!

15 comments

  1. David,

    How long is each of your sessions? Claude Werner recommends doing it for a max of 10 minutes each session, and I think I’ve heard him say 5 minutes might be better. He also has a dry-fire program available that you might want to look at if you have not already done so.–Robert

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first session was about 5 minutes, and second session 10 to 15. I try to monitor my level of mental focus and physical fatigue. I don’t want to end up going through the motions and doing more harm than good. Am thinking of picking up another set of dry fire drills to supplement Seeklanders and definitely like the Tactical Prof. But I am also mindful of NOT ending up a DIY mess. Salomon really encouraged me to pick one system and I think Seeklanders is a good one . So far so good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • While riding my bike to work one day, I was suddenly cut off by a high school girl who was apparently quite hungry and who made a right turn into a diner from the left lane of traffic, with me in the bike lane to the right of the other travel lanes. It all happened real fast but I flicked the handlebars and my weight and did an “instant turn” at a tighter radius than she could turn in her car, avoiding catastrophe.

        A fellow bicyclist was in a car behind all this and saw it unfold. He called me at work and asked how the hell I did that. I replied “situational awareness and practice, practice, practice”.

        Same sort of thing in both cases. Be ready for that Holy Shit Moment with plenty of advanced preparation. WYOR works in all cases.

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  2. When I qualified for carry in 2016 we fired something like 250 rounds over a 12 hour day. Night firing was the last part that was why it was so long. By the end fatigue was affecting my grip so I was causing failure to feed. I had never fired that many rounds over that length of time before. So when I practiced I tried to fire minimum 150 rounds and made it take some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Those drills, are keys to Life. If fatigue sets in early, as it will with inexperienced ones and experienced ones, manual dexterity and strength can be developed with a section of rope line. It could be thin line, or it could be stout line. Start off with simple knot making. Get the fingers and hands manipulated. A slip knot, then untie it. A bowline, then untie it. Repeat, only adding quicker time and secure the lays of the line, making real working knots. Then figure-8, and figure-9 knots. Again easy at first, because strength building takes time and practice. Then move to dropped loop and barrel knot. After about a day, your dexterity and hand strength improves.
    If you have a wood stove, get an axe and sand the lower section of the handle for good purchase on the handle. Then split wood. Your hands should feel an ache. Muscles developing. About six sandbags will also build strength. Move the bags from one place to another some feet away. Lay the sandbags down flat and smack the flat of the bag to spread and set the sand. Build a small tier. Interlock and adjust the sandbags. Hand and wrist strength increases. Then take one sandbag in both hands and raise it above your head. Hands holding securely. Do sandbag presses. Your body core starts to build strength. Those are all motions of manual labor. After three days, the handgun that you are training with, can be securely gripped. Not only for shooting. For the event of violent physical confrontation, should an assailant attempt to disarm you.
    Decades ago, while on Patrol, Central gave a job of a shooting inside of a residence around midnight. My sector. We pull up to the job and ring the bell and knock, announcing, “Po-Leece. Open the door.” A little old lady about 5’2″, with blue hair, slowly opens the door. She was shaking. I ask, who was shot and she says he is in the kitchen. Male subject, around early to mid-30s, face down on the kitchen floor. One gunshot perforation through the heart. I ask, what happened. Her husband died some years earlier. He had a gun. She obtained a pistol permit after his death and kept the gun. She was 80 years old. S&W Model-36. That night, she went to bed, and was awakened by the male who was on top of her, pulling her pajama bottoms down. She reached for the night table and got the snubnose. In the fight, the male grasped the revolver from over the top strap and was yanking the gun out of her hand. She had a firm grip on the revolver and threw her body weight, going on the floor but she still had the gun. She ran into the kitchen the male following. The woman raised the revolver and fired one round of ammunition, the bullet going through the male’s heart and he fell face down. I look around and see the backyard door was forced open. Wood splintered. Who is the guy? She never saw him before. I reach into his pants pockets looking for identification. Wallet. ID, drivers license. I call Central for License & Warrant information. Career criminal. Drug possession. Burglary. Assault. Sexual Battery. Parolee. The old woman said, “I know, I’m in big trouble.” I stooped down and kissed her on the forehead. She was shocked and stopped shaking. I walked outside with my partner, as the detectives were pulling up. They double parked behind the patrol car. We lit cigarettes and I told them what happened. The sergeant was pulling up and in the distance red lights clearly marking the outline of a bus (ambulance). If the old woman did not have strength in her hand, fear or adrenalin, she would have been the one occupying the autopsy table instead of the male subject.
    Hand strength, is vital. Revolvers, are also designed for hand-to-hand fighting. Not semi-autos. In the Academy, I recall being taught that the point under the crane, in front of the trigger guard, is there prominently, so in hand-to-hand combat, you strike the eyebrow ridge and open it, sending blood into the opponent’s eyes, blinding him. You can also strike anywhere above the shoulder causing damage to the skull or throat. You must have strength in your hands. Nothing concerning any practice, is boring. You only have not recognized the importance of the training drills, that MUST be mastered.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Then you’re doing it wrong.
    1. Use your other hand, you freak!
    2. Don’t count reps. Set a timer on your phone and then do reps until the timer runs out.
    3. Don’t speed up the timer. Set the timer to your par time and try to beat it. If you beat it consistently, THEN shorten the par.
    4. Don’t try to get faster AND maintain accuracy at the same time. You can’t do both. Learn how to be fast FIRST. Your eyes will catch up with your hands and you will be able to be accurate.
    5. If anyone says “Slow down and get your hits,” punch them in the face. They are wrong.
    6. If anyone says “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” punch them considerably lower. They are as wrong as is possible to be.
    7. Buy some small size targets from Ben Stoeger Pro Shop. They’re $10.
    8. Seriously, how do you expect to get better when you use the wrong hand?

    Liked by 1 person

    • All those great tips and you don’t plug Steve Anderson?! DLR’s ancestors speet on your haircut! haha

      Absolutely all for timed drills v. reps.

      That being said, I think it’s more important for David (or anyone) to ‘stick with one program’ and beat that dead horse to death (with a broken record!) before getting creative.
      He’s picked some great mentors and Seeklander is a great shooter and teacher.

      Dance with the girl who brung ya.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sean thanks for the feedback. I’m left eye dominant so just have to roll with the shooting wrong handed!

      As I know you dryfire on the reg and have used the Seeklander program, I trust what you say is good advice. Dropping the par time is in the Seeklander program, so as Yojimboblog says (and following Dustin Salomon’s advice) I am going to stick with one program and not try to confuse myself too much. I really am at the point of trying to begin from square one: get a good grip on the gun, get the gun on target, and make a good trigger pull. I really want to do it right before I get too concerned with doing it fast vs. accurate. Of course, I’m just a couple days in so what do I know!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For grip strength exercises, Mike Seeklander recommends holding the exerciser in full compression just like you would grip the handgun for as long as possible for each rep (isometric) rather than contract and release. Those simple grip exercisers work just as well as the Gripmaster and are a lot cheaper too. Don’t forget to use rubber bands for finger extension exercises too. You might be interested in Seeklander’s Daily Dry-Fire Challenge (live on facebook). He is covering both competitive and defensive training exercises and is a great supplement to his training programs. Keep up the good work.

    Like

    • Thanks for these thoughts, Alan. Already got the Gripmaster so will make the best of it using the Seeklander idea you relayed. Because I bought the American Competitive Shooting Society package I am in his Facebook group, but haven’t done the daily dry-fire challenge. I am working my way through the dry fire exercises in the IDPA Master Series part of the ACSS resources. Per Dustin Salomon’s advice, I don’t want to jump around too much, but instead work my way slowly and methodically through one system. I am working on one-handed shooting this week. Looking forward to seeing if it helps!

      Like

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