Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been shooting as much USPSA as my schedule allows. Aside from being rusty from a winter filled with everything but gun handling, it has become abundantly clear that I need to start a dry-fire regiment.
Last night I loaded up Ben Stoeger’s Dry-Fire Book (The first one – I haven’t purchased the second one yet) and picked out a drill to get started. I wound up going with Single Target Gun Handling and printed out a Third Scale Target.
The Single Target Gun Handling Drill consists of three parts with separate par times for each. The first part is to Draw, Fire 6 Shots, Reload, and Fire 6 Shots. Beginner time for this drill is 6 seconds, Intermediate is 3.5 seconds, and Expert is 3.2 seconds. My first couple attempts were pretty rough and I was struggling with the 6 second par time. After a few repetitions I was able to reduce the time down to 4.3 seconds before I reached the point of failure (where I wasn’t able to consistently beat the timer).
The next part of the drill called for drawings and getting a good sight picture. Times for this drill were 1.5 (Beginner), 0.9 (Intermediate), and 0.6 (Expert). I was able to dial back my time to 1.1 seconds before failure.
The third part of the drill called for holding a good sight picture then, at the buzzer, performing a reload and getting a good sight picture. Times for this drill were 2.5 (Beginner), 1.3 (Intermediate), and 1 (Expert). I was able to get my time down to 1.5 seconds before failure.
The last part of the drill called for Drawings and Firing 6 Shots. The times for this drill were 3 (Beginner), 1.8 (Intermediate), and 1.6 (Expert). I was able to get my time down to 2 seconds before failure.
This whole process was humbling. As a B Class Production Shooter, I was expecting to meet the prescribed intermediate times. However, my lack of dry-fire left me short in every drill. I think my times could have been batter in the later parts of the drill but I was fatiguing.
I’ve always had a bad habit of keeping a loose to medium grip on the gun while firing. I’m trying to break that habit and was exerting far more force during dry-fire. I’m hoping I can create a habit of this and it will transfer over to live-fire.
Another issue I was having involves a brand new holster (brand new to me, I bought it from a fellow shooter over the weekend). The Drop & Offset is new to me and the fit is rather snug. I can’t cleanly draw the gun when it is pressed completely into the holster (I always wind up double-pumping to clear the holster). Another problem was that my EDC belt (which I normally use for USPSA) is far too flimsy for this sort of holster and twisted during the draw.
I ordered a DAA Belt and a set of Ghost Magazine Pouches from the ben Stoeger Pro Shop. I’m expecting these any day now and I’m hoping that the belt prevents twisting and I’ll be able to clear the gun without issue.
When it was all said done, I dry-fired for roughly 30 minutes. I didn’t follow the prescribed repetitions in the book and kept working on each part of the drill until I couldn’t consistently beat the timer.
My plan at this point is to dry-fire at least 5 times per week with sessions ranging between 15 and 30 minutes. I don’t know if I’ll be able to mix in the Live-Fire practice (due to lack of free time and ammo), so I may have to test the results of dry-fire during monthly matches.