To determine what might work for you when it comes to going to the range to practice the fundamentals with live fire, a presumption must be made that you’re doing dry fire a couple times a week for at least 10 minutes a session. Yes, boring, repetitious, and tedious, but you need to accept this as a minimum if you want to master your weapon of choice and become very, very good at applying the fundamentals you practice in live fire. And truly, that’s all renowned shooters are doing when you see them performing very fast and very accurately on the range:
They are simply applying the fundamentals in a quick, effective manner. Nothing more, nothing less. No secret techniques, just mastery of the fundamentals.
So, how much range time? I’ve found that for me to ensure personal proficiency, I’m expending at least 50 to 100 rounds of whatever I’m primarily carrying every 4 to 6 weeks. If it’s monthly, a box of 50 is fine, if it’s every 6 weeks, 2 boxes of 50. I might even go as often as every 3 weeks, but that’s because I’m stoked, but it’s not all the time, and no matter what, I do the dry fire as often as I can. It’s all based on balancing my schedule (personal and professional obligations) and checkbook (even bought by the 1K round case, ammo gets expensive!), and need for simple relaxation.
So, what’s the take away here? Simply this: Make the practice of handling/shooting your weapons part of your normal routine. The skills you pick up are perishable by nature, and if you aren’t careful, life has a way of overcoming your practice, and the next thing you know, you haven’t touched a pistol, rifle, or shotgun in months! Do not let that happen!
Minimally, if you dry fire routinely (twice a week, 10 minutes each session), you can get away with every 6 weeks. For self-evaluation, every other range session put yourself through a 50 round ‘qualification’ course. With a pistol, at 25 yards/meters; with a rifle, do an AQT or NRA High Power type course. Doing so will have you ‘qualifying’ every quarter, which is much, much better than 95% of all shooters will do. Your skill mastery will show it, too!
Discipline is key here, because if you’re like me, dry fire gets to be very monotonous. However, without it, those perishable skills you’ve picked up will deteriorate to one degree or another. I’d prefer disciplined monotony to suffering regret when or if I need to employ those skills. Just sayin’. One way I keep it interesting is only doing dry fire with one platform a session. One day I might be using my M-Forgery; another a pistol; another, a bolt gun. I also add different miniature targets any time I can.
One thing in my dry fire that is not negotiable is the application of safety practices:
- NEVER MIX ALCOHOL WITH DRY OR LIVE FIRE! It should go without saying that if you’re going to drink, do it after your practice or live fire shooting.
- ALWAYS remove any magazine before dry firing to ensure it’s empty.
- ALWAYS check the chamber to ensure there isn’t a round hiding in it (Remember, ALL weapons are ALWAYS loaded until you ensure they’re not!!)
- NEVER point your weapon at another human being you don’t intend to shoot, even in dry fire practice (tv/movie characters are different – it’s a projection).
- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ‘ACCIDENTAL’ DISCHARGE – IT ALWAYS COMES DOWN TO NEGLIGENCE!
See you on the range.