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The Power of DryFire

It is most likely strange to you that an article from an ammo manufacturer is discussing on dry fire (training without live ammunition). However, if skill improvement is really the focus, then we would be remised not to discuss this valuable tool. Dryfire is talked about in many circles of the competitive and tactical communities. Opinions and use vary across the spectrum and are often polarizing. Let’s be honest, putting thousands of rounds down range requires, a lot of ammo and a lot of time. These 2 components are often not available in large quantity for most people out there pursuing excellence in a shooting discipline.


Dryfire allows an individual to acquire a very large volume of repetitions of key skill sets required in most 3gun, USPSA, IDPA and Precision matches. The term “muscle memory” is often used to describe the benefit of this activity. The better explanation is getting enough reps that you can turn what started out as a conscious action (or something you must think about in detail to achieve) to a subconscious action (something you do without thinking about the specific mechanics of the operation). THIS IS HUGE in practical application.

The complexities of executing a stage plan occupy all the availability of the conscious mind, so to maximize this stream of data in your mind, you do not want to be thinking consciously about the mechanics of a good draw, or a pistol mag change or how to dump a shotgun and remember to actuate the safety. These actions need to happen on their own due to significant repetitions and the driver is the most economical method to acquire these skills.

If you have been convinced by the arguments above that dry fire is a practice you need to adopt, you are probably asking yourself how to structure this and what this training looks like. The good news is there are a lot of resources out there that give you good direction. Ben Stoeger has several books on the topic for USPSA that can easily be adopted for 3Gun. Dry fire targets are available through several resources as well. One key point to consider, is that a dry fire session does not need to be lengthy to be successful. 15 to 30min is a lengthy session when you consider how many pistols, draws, mag changes and gun manipulations can be done in that period of time. Fatigue will bring about bad habits to be thoughtful as to how you are feeling as you start to build a program for yourself. In conclusion,don’t, forgot this valuable tool. Dry fire is not a substitute for live fire, but rather a valuable addition to your overall training regimen.

Josh T.