Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

SHOT Show

One of the best things about the SHOT for me is getting to see and actually talk face to face with people. I meet the media people I work with to discuss future projects, I get the lowdown from the guys that make the gear I use on their new products coming out, and I get to see quite a few Shootrite alumni and catch up with them.

After the “hello and how are you?” with students the next thing that occurs is their confession about not having practiced since they last came to a class. “Ammo is expensive,” they explain. “My range won’t allow me to practice tactical stuff,” they tell me. “I just haven’t had the time,” they say, shaking their head. My reply is always the same. “Dry practice,” I patiently explain, “is the easiest, most affordable, and very best way to work on the skills necessary to fight with firearms.” I’ve said it in the past, I’m saying it now, and I’ll keep talking about it until I find something that works better.

Shooting is a small part of fighting, and the other skills required – manipulations, movement, communication and the use of cover – can be practiced dry without having to buy ammo, travel, or deal with the range regulations. With dummy weapons and ammunition you can work on all your fighting skills, including marksmanship, getting the repetitions necessary to truly learn these skills.

Load up a mag with dummy ammo, then set the pistol up with an empty mag in it and the slide locked to the rear. For ten to fifteen minutes practice empty reloads, and only empty reloads. The next time you practice a different skill, such as drawing, obtaining a good sight picture on the light switch in the wall, and smoothly pressing the trigger. Each practice session is short sessions and focuses on only one skill. Specifically focusing on one technique helps you actually learn that particular skill. A “learned” skill is performed at a subconscious level.

Once your individual techniques work well and feel good you start performing dry drills that combine multiple skills. Using dummy ammo you set up a Type 1 malfunction and holster your pistol. (Type 1 malfunctions occur when there’s no round of ammo in the chamber, usually because the mag isn’t seated properly, or it can be a defective round.) You present your weapon while moving, press the trigger, and get a click. Immediately you tap to seat the mag and aggressively cycle the slide, continuing to move to cover, in this case a bookcase in your hallway.

There are a lot of reasons for not shooting at the range. There is no excuse for not practicing your fighting skills. You can even just pretend you’re using a weapon, performing the mental and physical steps of the various skills. A few short sessions a week, every week, will give you reflexive skills. When it is time to fight, there won’t be any time for excuses.

(Note: Your number one consideration when dry practicing is safety!)

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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