Tag Archives: Dry fire

Excellent trigger control drill

This has been one of my favorite drills for some time now. Figuring out the proper hand and wrist positions to bring my pistol into firing position has been a big help in my overall grip technique and trigger control.

If you remain steady up until you hit the trigger break (i.e. the empty shell falls off), move your finger as deeply into the trigger as the first knuckle. It made a big difference for me.

My current dry fire drill

Road construction derailed my trip to the local range earlier this week. Now what? For me it becomes 25 good dry fire reps. Recently I started using the second drill shown in this video- the empty shell method(keep a couple in your pocket to keep the drill moving). You get a few ancillary benefits from this drill:

  • You must hold the gun steady the whole time or the shell will fall
  • Include presentation in your reps. This requires a ton of stability the entire time you clasp the support hand and raise the pistol to your sight picture. This practice can help if you have to take a close-proximity defensive shot or shoot from a restricted position- like inside your vehicle
  • Trigger press needs to stay smooth throughout this drill- that balancing shell is not going to stay upright

 

Trigger Mods for your Glock?

After getting pretty comfortable with my Tru-Dot sights I began to notice a problem showing up in my precision/longer range pistol shots- take a look for yourself: low and left is the theme on center mass and the smaller precision targets.

Initial analysis points to trigger jerk- sometimes when I dry fire I can even see the muzzle dip as I head into trigger break both in my carry pistol and my competition pistol. But nearly any measure these hits are combat-effective. However my goal is to put every shot in a scoring spot, and since I'm aiming at the center of each target this could be improved. What to do at this point? Crowdsource some knowledge of course…

I found plenty of advice suggesting a trigger mod- ranging from simply polishing the existing components to a lighter trigger bar to drop-in kits (my personal favorite) or sets including changing lots of springs.

So why not fix this by adding a trigger kit or mod? This sounds like a good approach and I love my match trigger rifle…but there are two serious risks incurred by fooling with aftermarket trigger parts:

– Attorneys love terms like custom, performance, enhanced, and have a way of making all of them sound like 'intent to shoot someone' to a jury or a judge. Neither is good for you no matter how justified your DGU was.

– Aftermarket parts are not required to be up to OEM specs- and those items tend to have a knack for failing at the worst possible times.

Finally I ran across a brilliant Glock-specific suggestion by someone: adjust trigger finger position to getting more finger on the trigger. This was his remedy for shots grouping low and left. Dry fire practice with this change to my finger placement has been astounding- at varying speeds of aim and trigger pull I have not witnessed a single front sight dip. Free advice and no armorers skills required!

This makes lots of sense: the 1911-era techniques were developed for a heavier pistol with a very crisp trigger pull. I am writing this article in 2013– thats only 102 years later for the mathematically challenged. Technology has changed since 1911- the Glock is a different type of action and has a different trigger, why force operational techniques from a century ago onto it?

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this way. According to the US Army Marksmanship Guide:

Correct Placement of the Index Finger on the Trigger. (a) With Joint of Index Finger. (b) With First Bone Section of Index Finger .

To get results like the ones pictured above I had been using only the very top tip of my finger on the trigger. Using the diagram as a reference I am now pressing the trigger a little lower than position (b). It feels like exactly what I'm looking for…but I will let you know how this works with my speed drills and even give position (a) a try if I see further problems.

 

When you train: Practice Engaging Multiple Targets

This is another good video- Nic Taylor breaks it down nicely by leveraging fundamentals and cueing another component of Operator speed. After seeing this I plan to start working on improving consistent transiton speed (could we call this cadence?) in my next live fire session.
One thing Nic could add to his reps: where was that search and assess after he pulled back to low ready? Train as you fight Nic…

 

Training When You Can’t Find Ammo

Lets try this article again but without the April Fool’s absurdities….Ammo is scarce so keeping your skills sharp is a challenge. Here are some options that are popular for training (The LE crowd uses many of these) along with the Pros and Cons for each option.

Mouse Gun option

Troy-Chassis-T-22-Tactical-1

Lots of training weapons are available that feature controls identical to field weapons but take advantage of low-cost rimfire ammo like 22LR (current supply shortage not withstanding). A particularly sexy option is the 10/22 Troy Industries Chassis or a Smith & Wesson M&P-22. These are sold as plinking guns and and the high quality ones are sold as training tools.

There are also several ‘training’  mods/conversion kits for AR-15 and pistol platforms that use nearly standard mags. These also can be nice because they allow you to use same rifle and sighting system as your standard weapon system because it IS your standard rig.

Mouse Gun PROS:

  • Live fire beats dry fire every single time
  • With high-quality trainers or kits you can use your typical rig or realistic weapon controls to minimize training scars
  • Accuracy is similar since the trajectory on 5.56 and 22LR is similar
  • When you can find it, ammo is cheap and abundant

Mouse Gun CONS:

  • Follow-up shots are unrealistic because the recoil of live fire can’t be simulated
  • 22LR Ammo can be unreliable (especially when you go cheap like I do- I love buying 22LR at $.04 per round)
  • Speaking of 22LR ammo, nowadays you can’t find ammo unless you pay $.015-$.040 /rd when $.03-$.06 was going rate 6 mos ago
  • 22LR is a dirty round! Cleaning becomes a mandatory event after each session due to all the fouling caused by this round.

Verdict: Mouse guns can be very effective but should be supplemented with live fire on your primary weapon system- think of it as extra reps while conserving that AR fuel.

Air soft option

kwa_lm4_ptr_01_517_215_100

It sounds ridiculous at first mention- how could airsoft be a suitable option for live fire simulation? Actually, it is pretty feasible. In fact Tatsuya Sakai won the 2004 Steel training at home in Japan with an airsoft pistol. Pistols are illegal in Japan so this was the only option. Tatsuya came over to California about a month before the match, bought a real pistol and that was all it took to rocket to first place and become the new World Speed Shooting champ. A growing number of LE trainers are using airsoft for their sessions. Despite the new technology the police still won’t arrive in time to stop a violent crime…better take responsibility for your own self-defense.

The KWA PTR (pictured above) or PTS seems to be the weapon of choice for realistic airsoft trainers. I couldn’t find many other options that weren’t too much like toys for my liking.

Airsoft PROS:

  • ammo is cheap, abundant and even reusable if you have a trap or sticky target
  • training rigs offer same controls as real weapon systems
  • a decent number of drills can be executed with an airsoft

Airsoft CONS:

  • Need to either transfer existing sights from your weapon system or buy additional sights for consistency in training
  • Weight not the same between airsoft & the real thing
  • Mags can be different and different can lead to training scars
  • These rifles are not exactly cheap:
  • Even farther from live fire experience than 22LR options (no bang, no recoil)

Verdict: They are expensive and while the y do offer value you still need to mix in live fire to effectively train. If ammo remains scarce this could be a feasible option…it depends on how you feel about the cost of entry into a good airsoft rig.

Dry Fire/ Laser Training system option:

LTS target

A firing pin/striker-activated laser that makes a sound and shines down the bore of your weapon system to illustrate the point of impact from the “shot” using a special target that registers your hit. From LaserLyte’s website :

“The interactive system works in two modes; reaction and training. The reaction mode features random LED signals in intervals of three to seven seconds that can be shot with any of the LaserLyte® Trainers. When a hit is made the target celebrates with two beeps and a LED flash. The training mode allows the user to practice trigger control and accuracy with an always-on and ready-to-be-shot mode. When a hit is made, the target sounds two beeps and the LED flash…The LaserLyte® Reaction Tyme Target allow for new and experienced shooters to gain increased levels of confidence and skills in the comfort of their own home while saving money on ammunition.”

Laser Trainer PROs:

  • it’s cheap to feed- batteries are likely to remain abundant and unregulated for the foreseeable future
  • You can see the point of impact
  • Target offers several modes, can use multiple targets – versatility is good

Laser Trainer CONS:

  • For semi-auto weapons you have to rack charging handle to reset trigger EVERY SINGLE TIME- this could quickly become a training scar
  • Buy-in is around $300-$350 for the equipment
  • Another step away from live fire: no bang, no projectile/reloading exercise, no recoil

Laser Trainer Verdict: I am convinced that the training scar problem is a serious deal-breaker. How do I know? I racked my slide after a live shot at the range a few weeks ago and watched a live round fly out. The reason why is because I had been practicing 50+ dry fires per day for the previous 10 days. Training scars are real boys & girls…avoid them.