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Underground Tradecraft: Daily Dry-Fire Training

December 16, 2013

(A reader asked recently about my daily dry-fire practice regimen. My initial response to this question is to advise the study of two extremely well-done books: Your Competition Handgun Training Program by Mike Seeklander, and Refinement and Repetition: Dry-Fire Drills for Dramatic Improvement by Steve Anderson…..This article is a description of what I actually do. –J.M.)



As much as I would like to be able to spend 2-3 hours every day performing dry-fire practice sessions with my sidearm and rifle, like most of you, the realities of family and work-related time constraints simply do not allow me to do so. Instead, I consider myself lucky and blessed to fit in 20-30 minutes per day, five or six days per week.



The vast majority of my dry-fire practice is conducted with my pistol. The simple reality is, due to time constraints, I have to focus on the more important weapon. While the “pistol is there so I can fight my way to my rifle” (Yawn…), the facts are, a) I am far more likely to be carrying my pistol on any given day than I am a rifle (since I don’t walk out of the bedroom without a pistol on…), b) if I need a gun, like right-the-fuck-now, it’s definitely going to be an asshole-puckering, oh shit, do-or-die survival situation. I don’t want to be wondering if I should have spent more time with my pistol and less with my rifle in the moment of truth, c) I’ve got thousands of man-hours more behind a rifle than a pistol. I KNOW I’m far beyond good with a rifle, and d) some seriously skilled, lethal motherfuckers with more real-world experience than I’ve every had—or will ever have—have demonstrably proven that expertise with a pistol transfers to the rifle far better than the reciprocal.



The most important aspect of fighting with a pistol is—of course—hitting what the fuck you’re shooting at, followed at an intimate distance with being able to get the gun into the fight: drawing the weapon. Speed reload when you’ve shot the gun dry are—at best—a distance tertiary concern, but technically difficult enough to warrant regular practice. Seriously…you’re in a fight with a pistol in your hand…A Glock 19 hold 15+1…If I run THAT dry, and am still alive, I’d better be running like a raped ape, or be able to pick up a gun from a dead dude if I’m so pressed for time that my speed reload will be the determining factor in living or dying.



I use my shot timer for my dry-fire practice, in a manner describe in Repetition and Refinement. I perform a minimum of thirty repetitions of each drill. To begin, I perform 10 flawless repetitions at a reasonable speed of the drill, focusing on perfect motor movement execution. Perfect practice makes perfect, after all.



I follow the initial set of 10 (which could be considered a “warm-up” if you will, by setting the timer at my current speed standard of execution for that particular drill (for instance, if I can currently hit 0.95 seconds for my draw stroke to sight picture, I’ll set the timer at 0.95 seconds). I then execute 10 repetitions that meet or exceed that time constraint. It’s stupid simple to know if I’ve achieved it or not…If the timer beeps before I’ve completed my action, that repetition doesn’t count.



Once I’ve got 10 repetitions performed to the standard, I will reduce the time hack on the timer by 0.05-0.10 seconds beyond my current standard. I will then perform 10 repetitions striving to beat the new time. I don’t insist on actually achieving it for 10 repetitions. If I could do it flawlessly, THAT would be my time standard, right? I just want to push my boundaries of performance.



Beyond that, my DAILY dry-fire practice is retard simple:



  • draw stroke from concealment to sight picture

  • draw stroke from concealment to first shot break

  • strong hand only draw from concealment to first shot break

  • draw stroke from concealment to first shot break, stepping left

  • strong hand only draw stroke from concealment to first shot break, stepping left

  • strong hand only draw stroke from concealment to position two/retention shooting position.

  • Speed reload from clandestine carry.

  • Speed reload from clandestine carry, stepping left.



Sure, I could spend a lot more time on it. I could do weak-hand only shooting, I could do side stepping to the right. I could do weak-hand only, performing a double back flip to the splits position….But why? This is an abbreviated routine intended to give me the most bang for the buck in the least amount of time possible.



Sure, I could get shot in the shooting arm and have to resort to weak hand. It’s been my experience though that if a dude is shot in the arm, one of two things takes place…


  1. He’s so fucked up and in pain that he’s not doing shit except trying to keep from passing out.

  2. He’s fucked up, but still has enough control to think his way through his problem. In this case, everyone I ever shot who took a round to the shooting arm was still able to shoot with it.



Or, as Pat McNamara points out, I could focus more on my fundamentals by doing only weak-hand skill development. This is just what I choose to do. I can get the fundamentals development this way, because I exercise self-discipline to make sure I don’t cheat myself during the training. I tape a quarter dollar to a silhouette target, across the room (15-20 feet away), and use that as my aiming point. I call my shots even during dry-fire.



This training session will take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on my personal performance on a given day.



Adding the Rifle to the Mix


If I’ve got additional time during the week, I might add a session of rifle dry-fire practice to the mix. If not, I’ll give up one pistol dry-fire practice session per week and do rifle skills instead.



My rifle program runs exactly the same as my pistol program, except instead of standing still, I drop into a firing position. I might do a set of dropping into the prone, one of the kneeling, and one from rice-paddy prone. I might perform my speed reloads from one of these positions, using a different position each week.




Here’s the deal with personal training practice: don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. If you KNOW what you need to be able to do with your weapon, then do it. Set time standards for yourself and follow-through on trying to achieve and then exceed those standards. It’s not rocket science.





John Mosby




From → Uncategorized

  1. Could you please explain clandestine carry?

    • Fenris permalink

      Concealed carry. Unless Mosby is talking about something deeper?

      • Nope. Concealed carry it is. Clandestine carry just sounds cooler, right? Right? Buehler? Buehler?

      • Was just thrown by the conflicting verbiage used in the same drills. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. Attack Company 1/75 permalink

    I’ve been waiting for this article for a while. Thanks JM.

  3. Adam permalink

    Are all shot timers created equal for dry fire practice? Are there any smartphone apps that would suffice?

  4. Erik permalink

    Is there any particular reason you practice stepping left over right, or is that just the direction you chose?

    And could you explain what “rice paddy prone” is?

    • By far, the vast majority of people are right handed. By stepping left, I make them work harder to get sight alignment on my precious body.

      Rice paddy prone is an old military term for the squatting position. I prefer it to seated for most combat rifle applications. Done properly, it’s a superbly tight firing position, but is significantly faster to get into and out of than the seated.

      • I hope people are also PT’ing and working on mobility as well.
        Curious how many people can properly squat while firing a rifle.

      • If they’re not, then they’re idiots. It’s an equine that I strike repeatedly on a regular basis.

    • Attack Company 1/75 permalink

      In my prior occupation (16 years ago), I went through a “preparation for armed confrontation” course. In the 2 day course one of their topics was on what direction to move if the “bad guy” was armed. They explained that if the “bad guy” was right handed to move around to his right (your left) and vice versa if he was left handed. As JM said it is “harder to get sight alignment.”

  5. mosaic wolf permalink

    Excellent and simple training program. Repetition is the key to developing great skills. As GEN Rommel said, “The best form of welfare for the troops is first class training.”
    //mosaicwolf sends//

  6. Mervo permalink

    Fantastic post Sir. Thank you for the insight.


  7. BC Joy permalink

    Wondering if you have ever done any Soft Air Training,, saw this video on You Tube,, Its a “WE Glock 19” Pretty impressive little rig,, sells for under $80,, Michelle has it hooked up to a continuous gas supply,, they can operate by gassing the mag,, with 25 shot mag capacity and steel construction, it looks interesting.

  8. RobRoySimmons permalink

    Pellet gun in my suburban back yard has helped a great deal resuscitate my once above average rifle shooting skills from atrophy and this includes attaining field positions. A note I maintain very friendly relations with all neighbors, meaning I don’t run my yapper bout shooting statists, pigs or democrats. CSG had a tip posted about bright nail polish on the front sight that helps attain a quicker sight picture with my pistol (which I don’t use in my backyard).

    • Yup. I use the Gammo BigCat myself here in the yard to conserve ammo and use the battle rifle or pistol with lasers in the house for dry fire training. I need to have a firearm in my hands daily and nightly just for GP’s. >:)

      • BC Joy permalink

        .38 S&W for me,, kinda wimpy, but I can put all five rounds into a door knob at twelve feet,, fast. Sleepy time, its a M21 Glock. I sleep well.

      • .38 S&W? I have one of those old shooters. Great Uncle left it to me-he was in the mob during Detroits prohibition boot-legging days. Hard to find ammo tho.

  9. JM,

    Here is a method of Keeping You Honest.

    Go buy a 30 day dry erase calendar and mount it where you will see it as often as possible. I mount mine right next to the door leading from the garage gym/dry fire/air gun range to the house. Since we come and go via this way and our extra freezer is right below it I see it daily. Mark on it in different colors, I use different colors for Strength, Conditioning, Pistol training, Rifle training.

    The Brightest Color Is For Missed Workouts. Even rest days are marked as missed workouts to Scare you into paying attention to your PT and Marksmanship training.

    It stares you in the face and reminds you.

  10. thespartanmonkey permalink

    One dry-fire technique I use:
    When you point to something with your dominant-hand trigger finger, your body instinctively does it fast and accurately. So, if you’re doing the right thing and hold your pistol with your index finger indexed on the frame (and **parallel** to the frame), then you can practice instinctive pointing. Some folks recommend indexing the tip of your index finger into the ejection port – I don’t do that – if I did, this technique wouldn’t work. You don’t need to hold gun, you can practice with your hand in the shape as if it were holding it. Of course it’s better to actually hold your gun, but you can use the empty hand technique pretty much anywhere/anytime. If you do it while holding your gun, I’d recommend loading it to capacity with snap caps, or if you know what the fuck you’re doing and don’t send a round into your house, live rounds.

  11. Gm2011 permalink

    Great post

    Thanks! Time to step it up on the dry fire

  12. Grendel24 permalink

    I’m thinking Clandestine Carry is equivalent to Concealed Carry. He’s just putting some fancy words on it to make it seem ninja-esque 😛

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