Incorporating Movement and Exercise Into Dry Fire Drills
Let’s get back to dry-fire practice with some movement drills. While it seems most drills are static, we wanted to show how movement can be incorporated into dry fire. Moving with a handgun requires solid footwork and the ability to stay on target or get back on it quickly. These dry-fire drills are designed to be inexpensive and effective ways to improve transitioning with movement. Plus you can treat it like a workout and kill two birds with one stone!
These are based on lateral movement, increasing in distance. We will start with a simple sidestep, then a shuffle, and finally a running transition. By practicing these movements with your handgun you’ll start to learn how to transition efficiently and regain your sight picture.
1. Before running any dry-fire drills, visually and physically inspect your gun is clean and then clear the area of all live ammunition.
2. If you can practice outside, that is ideal. Ranges typically have loose surfaces and will call for more stability muscles than when running inside.
3. Make sure you are aimed in a safe direction.
4. Set up two dry-fire targets at opposite ends of the room.
5. It’s great to treat dry fire like a workout, use whatever rep methods you prefer, I like to do sets of five with slower movements and the remaining five picking up the pace. This allows you to slow down and build proper technique while working on how to go faster. Accept slipups, that's part of the process! But get back on track and focus on technique.
Drill 1: Side Step
The side step is more about getting used to wide target transitions. Start aimed at the first target, move your eyes to the next target, then drive your sights to the target and move one step to the side. Repeat this process until everything can be done in one quick step and your sights are on target every time.
Over the course of various dry-fire sessions work up to wider steps. It’s good to understand how far you can transition with each movement. From building stage plans for a competition or moving on the fly, establishing good spatial awareness and gauging your stride all add up in being able to move well.
Drill 2: Shuffle
When a transition is too large for sidestepping, the next lateral movement is shuffling. Maintain the same technique for eye movement and driving the sights back on target. If you are moving right, push off with the left leg, drive the right leg out, bring the left back in and push off into a soft landing with your right leg. Make sure to practice in both directions. This is ultimately an agility drill, similar to what is often seen in football (but with a gun).
These movements should be as smooth as possible, jerky movements will make it harder to get back on target.
Drill 3: Running Transition
Running transitions require a lot of power. Your goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible while establishing a sight picture on the next target before fully stopping into the next position. Just like with the shuffle, push off your left leg when transitioning right and break the grip so you can turn your body to run. Pick up the next position with your eyes then look to the target.
When coming into the next position, slow your momentum with a stutter shuffle step and bring your hands together to establish grip again. Do this so when you stop into position, the gun is on target. What you do not want to do is run to position, then establish grip and sight while standing still. This drill requires more steps and coordination. Slow it down to get the foot and grip work done, slowly ramping up speed. The goal is to sprint from one position to the other.
Being able to save on ammo and focus on movement makes dry-fire movement drills a great way to practice honing your body mechanics. Maintain proper technique and build up to faster speeds. Quick movement is important both in competition and tactics.