Help a Junior Shooter - Please make a generous Donation to the Camp Perry
Dry Fire Drills
for Highpower Competitors
by Stuart A. Leach a.k.a. "the Colorado Gray Fox"
"Dry firing", i.e. without
ammunition, can be a very valuable training technique for the across the course
NRA Highpower Rifle competitor. Dry firing makes use of an old training
principle- frequent repetition at short intervals builds and maintains skills
better than long sessions widely spaced.
The following exercises are
designed to ingrain proper position building and rebuilding, sight alignment,
sight picture, focus, trigger release and calling the shot.
Dry firing can be done
indoors or outside. To get the most benefit, use all your usual equipment. This
will teach you to set up your gear quickly and efficiently, and get you
accustomed to the feel of the coat, glove, sling, etc. Shooters with M14- and
M16- type rifles will want to insert a coin under the lips of the magazine to
hold the follower down and simplify operation. For targets, a 3/8" diameter
black thumbtack centered in a 2¼" square of manila file folder gives the right
perspective at 18 feet. At 36 feet, a black ¾" round target paster on a 4½"
square is excellent.
Offhand: Set up scope and
stool as usual. Concentrate on building a good position, and testing the Natural
Point of Aim (NPA). Test by building, aiming, and then closing your eyes for 4-5
seconds. When you open your eyes, where was your front sight? If high, bring
feet closer together; spread 'em if you were low. Move your rear foot forward or
back slightly to move the NPA horizontally. Test again. When you get it right,
dry fire at least ten times. Go through the same motions as would be used in
live fire. Focus on sight alignment, and reducing your wobble area. When the
trigger releases, maintain the hold for two or three more seconds to build a
good follow through pattern. Call each shot out loud. Really!- say "9 at 3
o'clock" (or whatever) right out loud. Plot in data book. Be honest.
Sitting: Set up as usual.
Build a good position, and test the NPA. Rise, and drop back down in a
controlled fashion at least five times. Concentrate on getting smoothly back to
position, with a quick test of NPA. Each time, do what you would do in a match.
As getting back to the same position after reloading is critical to good rapid
fire scores, do at least five more reps where you reload and rebuild the
position. Call your shots. Simulate the breathing and trigger stroke of strings
of 2 & 8 or 5 & 5.
Prone rapid: Same as sitting.
Pay attention to rebuilding, and a quick test of NPA after the reload.
Prone slow: Similar to
offhand drill. Be sure to set up all your gear, including the spotting scope.
Practice scoping the target, loading and mounting the rifle, and firing with
follow through. After a few repetitions, test your NPA again. Does the front
sight still move straight up and down through the target? Or did your position
change slightly as you went through the motions? You may find that you have to
build and test the position for each shot.
Finish by doing ten more
offhand. Everyone can improve their offhand performance.