A month of dry fire – a review
For the past 4 weeks I’ve been following TLG’s dry practice routine.
I’m ashamed to admit it’s the most religious I’ve been about dry practice.
First, the frequency. This program has me practicing 5 times a week. In the past, at most I’d work 2-3 times a week, if that often.
Second, the duration. In the past when I did practice, my sessions tended to be longer. These sessions don’t take more than 10 minutes, if that.
Third, the solid program. In the past when I did dry fire, there was no formal program — I worked on whatever I felt I needed to work on at the time. If I didn’t have something solid to do, I had a few simple routines, like one from Tom Givens, that I would run through. But often that would cause me to gravitate towards specific things, and certainly other skills would be neglected or not get enough of the focus they deserved. On this program, just about everything gets covered and in a reasonable proportion.
TLG makes it clear this is an example program, but I think it’s a good one and certainly would recommend it as a starting point for others. I like that it focuses most essential skills like trigger press and sights, and on the press out. I like that it works a full set of skills so even “less important” skills like flashlight work isn’t forgotten, but it’s also not emphasized. I like there’s some flexibility to work on other things, like I used those sessions to work on the basics with my snub. My take is one should try the routine as-written, then see from there how it could change. I wouldn’t change anything too radically, but you might see that wow, my WHO really is bad and perhaps add a little more WHO time.
I think what opened my eyes to this approach was all my weightlifting. Since my teenage years, any time I picked up iron it was always some willy-nilly routine probably based upon whatever I read in that month’s Flex or Muscle & Fitness. It never took, and while I saw some progress, I see now that progress was merely because ANYONE will see progress in that initial beginner phase because the body easily adapts. But once you get through that phase, you need some greater smarts about how to progress — if only I had Rippetoe and Wendler, Starr and Tate, WFAC and EliteFTS back then. Following a solid program has made all the difference in the world. And the right thing to do is find a solid program created by someone else — not just anyone else, but someone who has a clue. They will probably create a program that’s right and correct. You follow it, you get your results. You stay in the game long enough, you’ll be able to formulate your own that best suits you. It’s the sort of progress I hear about all the time for lifters, and the concepts really are the same in any field so it applies just the same here to shooting.
I can see solid improvement in my skill. I still have a long ways to go, but improvement is there and I’m happy. I attribute it to a solid working of fundamentals AND that it’s done often. Again back to lifting… to see strength gains you have to lift, recover, and then during the period when your body “supercompensates” you lift again… so it’s always this level, dip down, peak up, and then continue progressing from that peak. That’s how you progress. If you lifted say only once a week, you will have come down off that peak when you start again and so at best you’ll maintain. If you lifted once a month, you’d never see any progress. And so it is here, dry practicing every day leading towards gain, instead of a couple times a week and merely maintaining. I would say that if a couple of times a week is all you can do, that’s alright — it’s a minimum to maintain your skills. If you want to improve, you gotta do more. I want to improve, I gotta do more.
The road ahead is long, but the journey is good.
I’m going to stick with TLG’s routine as is for now. I don’t see much reason to change. The “shooter’s choice” Fridays might change up a bit as I get to them (e.g. drawing from an off-body carry mode that is used on occasion; perhaps transitions from primary to BUG), but for now that’s all I can see changing.