Author Topic: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale  (Read 461 times)

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Offline aflevine

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Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« on: October 11, 2018, 12:20:10 PM »
In the spirit of preventing someone from making my mistake ...

A cautionary tale about the perils of practicing incorrectly.  With a concealed carry course, a few thousand rounds shot at the range, and more than that dry firing from mostly a seated position working on trigger control, I attended my first combat pistol course.  Saying it differently, with that much firing, no coaching, and dry firing that was not founded on disciplined complete techniques, I had unintentionally deeply ingrained a dangerous habit without realizing it.  After a trigger press, I did not unconsciously take my finger off the trigger.  In other words, by just isolating my dry fire practice of aiming and pressing the trigger, I had developed an unsafe habit. 

During a later stage in the training, when working on movement and hitting different targets, I focused on my movement and went on automatic for operating the pistol.  That automatic had me unconsciously leaving my finger on the trigger at the end of a drill.  Part of the exercise was to push students to fatigue so that they then realized where they needed to focus on fundamentals.  For me, that was an extra unintended shot in a safe direction.  Instead of shooting the rest of the class, I ran the drills from that point on dry firing with extra emphasis on finger position off the trigger at the end of each drill and then re-holstering.  After four hours of dry firing, I hope I've unlearned my dangerous habit.  The lesson for me was that dry firing must be done from safe position, through firing and whatever you choose to add, scanning, and then safely re-holstering. 

FWIW, I've now begun practicing based on Steve Anderson's "Refinement and Repetition"
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 02:21:15 PM by aflevine »

Offline baldrage

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 06:53:08 PM »
Thanks for the cautionary tip!  I know I've ingrained some bad martial arts techniques due to lots of solo heavy-bag work, and have had a hard time un-training that sloppy technique once it was pointed out by my instructor.  I can certainly see how that same phenomenon would carry over to dry-fire and pistol handling.

Sounds like you've already learned to adapt your dry-fire practice, but if you're not already thinking along these lines ... perhaps a focus on doing some of the Steve Anderson drills with just a draw and sight picture, but no trigger press, will help "un-train" your habit of keeping finger on the trigger -- the first 7 drills of R&R would easily lend themselves to this approach.  You might also set up a mini-stage in your dry-fire dojo, and run through it several times at the end of your dry-fire session with a conscious focus on keeping your finger outside the trigger guard while moving (i.e., no timer).

Offline aflevine

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 07:24:10 PM »
...

Sounds like you've already learned to adapt your dry-fire practice, but if you're not already thinking along these lines ... perhaps a focus on doing some of the Steve Anderson drills with just a draw and sight picture, but no trigger press, will help "un-train" your habit of keeping finger on the trigger -- the first 7 drills of R&R would easily lend themselves to this approach.  You might also set up a mini-stage in your dry-fire dojo, and run through it several times at the end of your dry-fire session with a conscious focus on keeping your finger outside the trigger guard while moving (i.e., no timer).
Thanks for those thoughts.  You do what you drill and I would be concerned about drilling a technique that is incorrect.  Rather, my focus now is on doing everything correctly, including removing my finger from the trigger after firing, scanning, then holstering safely.  My bad habit came from isolating a small section of a drill (i.e., the trigger press) and repeating it thousands of times.  After doing the full motion correctly for a few hundred presses, I believe I have that bad habit corrected, but remain committed to daily practice.  Also, I bought a MantisX to help.  Just a matter of time.

Offline George16

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 07:57:13 PM »
I can relate to that. I had been dq’ed at a local USPSA Match for having my trigger finger inside the trigger guard while moving from one shooting position to the next. It was a very costly mistake but it made me very conscious after that point.

I made sure I keep my trigger finger out of the trigger guard unless Im squeezing the trigger during my Dry Fire Practice. I had been using Ben Stoeger’s books for my dry and Live Fire practices.

No more dq’s after that.

Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 08:43:18 PM »
In real life, with people shooting at you, would you take your finger out of the trigger guard/off the trigger? 
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.

Offline aflevine

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 09:58:09 AM »
In real life, with people shooting at you, would you take your finger out of the trigger guard/off the trigger?

While being attacked and needing to return fire, no.  It's the middle of the encounter.  That's not what I'm suggesting.

Offline aflevine

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 03:30:12 PM »
I can relate to that. I had been dq’ed at a local USPSA Match for having my trigger finger inside the trigger guard while moving from one shooting position to the next. It was a very costly mistake but it made me very conscious after that point.

I made sure I keep my trigger finger out of the trigger guard unless Im squeezing the trigger during my Dry Fire Practice. I had been using Ben Stoeger’s books for my dry and Live Fire practices.

No more dq’s after that.
Thanks George.  I'll look at Stoeger's books down the line.

Offline Atomic Punk

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 09:40:26 PM »
Thanks for the cautionary tip!  I know I've ingrained some bad martial arts techniques due to lots of solo heavy-bag work, and have had a hard time un-training that sloppy technique once it was pointed out by my instructor.  I can certainly see how that same phenomenon would carry over to dry-fire and pistol handling.


That's funny. First time I really sparred with someone I noticed that every time I went for a leg kick I got punched in the face. After that, I asked the kid "Am I dropping my right when I kick?" He just smiled and said, "Every time." We call that negative reinforcement.

Offline mike72ss

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2018, 09:02:23 AM »
Glad everyone was safe.   

I'm looking to pick up a dry firing traing book.  Is either of the books mentioned from Steve Anderson or Stoeger better than the other or are they pretty much all the same.

Thanks.
Mike

Offline aflevine

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 10:57:48 AM »
Glad everyone was safe.   

I'm looking to pick up a dry firing traing book.  Is either of the books mentioned from Steve Anderson or Stoeger better than the other or are they pretty much all the same.

Thanks.
Mike
Mike, I went with Steve Anderson's book because it came highly recommended by my instructor.  I suspect you're comparing chocolate to vanilla. 

Offline Walt Sherrill

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 03:54:19 PM »
Quote from: aflevine
While being attacked and needing to return fire, no.  It's the middle of the encounter.  That's not what I'm suggesting.

I suspect that if we are being attacked IN a REAL WORLD shootout, some of  our "training" may not kick-in, and if it does, it may get in the way.   (I never did USPSA, but did shoot a lot of IDPA, and some of the rules -- like NOT dropping a empty mag if there's a round in the chamber [ i.e., no slide lock] -- which implies "round counting" -- can keep you from doing things in the game that you MIGHT want to do in real life.)  In the real world, if you've GOT the presence of mind to count rounds, there's no disadvantage to doing so.

Muscle memory, I think, is a powerful tool when you're dealing with relatively simply procedures that require HABIT as much as thoughtful actions, but I think that's different than some of the more complex procedures we learn which remain "semi-conscious" acts that require a bit of attention.  (I'm saying that we probably move from one "muscle-memorized" act to another "muscle memorized" act when we we have to react to more complex situations.  In the gun games you now you've got to move to the next station, and when you do that, you PLAN a bit and a different "memorized" habit takes over.  Saving time is as important (if not more so) than being very, very accurate. But in a real conflict, you may not plan at all or even have the time to do so, and you may find yourself needing to take more time IF you can.

(The USPSA or IDPA rules are really there to keep the gun-game environment as safe as possible for those participating and observing -- and some gun-game rules or practices may (or may not) make some of us less safe in a real-world battle if they are totally internalized.)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 04:16:10 PM by Walt Sherrill »

Offline Matt101

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 09:14:16 PM »
You have to learn to slap that trigger! Even in dry fire


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Offline Grizzlie

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Re: Dry Fire Training Cautionary Tale
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2018, 11:03:30 AM »
I can't help but point out that there are two sides to this.

Holding the trigger down after firing and not instinctively letting go/reseting, is great...for slow, precise firing. Think sniper/olympic/long distance. You definately don't want that trigger and finger slapping back, nor forward. You've honed a great technique.

On the other hand, a 'press and reset' is fundamental for dynamic shooting.

I believe that these two skills can be achieved and used independently of each other, but only with conscious practice. Keyword "concious". Sitting on the couch and mindlessly pressing the trigger (and, God forbid, while watching the/a game) is setting yourself up for mindless skills. We want mindful skills that can be exercised effortlessly. Shooters who say that this is impossible probably haven't practiced effectively. (It's almost like saying I have poor penmanship because I've practiced coloring so much that I simply cannot write legibly).

n.b.
I'm not saying you sat on the couch and mindlessly pressed that trigger. But maybe it wasn't done mindfully (?)
'...if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence'