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The downsides of dry fire

This week, on the podcast, Facebook, and blog, we’ve been extolling the virtues of dry fire for making you a more gooder shooter and overall raising your effectivitiness, but we would be remiss if we didn’t cover, at least in passing, the serious negative consequences of regular, focused dry fire. Sure spending a mere fifteen minutes a day with just you, the target, and the gun, and a holster, and a timer will be a rising tide that floats all boats (of your skill), but at what dire consequences?

Well, first off, you’ll put a lot of highway miles on your most expensive piece of hardware, the gun itself. Everyone knows that kydex holsters are notorious for wearing the finish of your gun, and additionally that leather holsters are reknown for rubbing off gun finishes like sandpaper. When you have a beautiful masterpiece of industrial design like a Glock or a Sig as your trusty hip iron, it’s not worth the damage of working the action and grinding the barrel against the slide any more than you really need to. After all, with an expected service life of thirty or forty thousand rounds, why shorten it with practice it really wasn’t designed for?

If you undertake consistent, rigorous dry fire even knowing the damage it does to your precious tupperware shooter, you won’t even have to wait for it to wear out to feel it right in the pocketbook. You’ll most likely find pretty quickly which parts of your carry/competition/operator system are woefully deficient and feel forced to replace them with funds from your already scarce ammo budget (hey, the gun was “the big splurge”). This belt allows the holster to move too much? These mag pouches tuck in too tight to your body? Those sights are really inscrutable during a less than 2.0 second draw? Before you know it, you’ll be tinkering with your gear that probably came set up just fine from the factory, where they know how to make things because that’s their job. What’s your job, again? Thought so.

This is all not to mention that the decisiveness and quick action that you learn while (harmfully) practicing watching the sights and waiting for just the right moment to break the trigger and no later will have an awkward and anti-social effect on your interactions with others. Just like you will develop a keen sense for when you can acceptably break the trigger and land an A-zone hit, you’ll find yourself patiently waiting through meetings and social interactions, watching your conversator like you watch the front sight, paying full attention to them (like the front sight) until the moment the interaction ends at which point you’ll immediately shift your focus to the next task (target) and quite likely quickly and efficiently leave the room (shooting position). Although you will know that, for the exact amount of time the social interaction (shot) took, you were dedicating your full attention to your target (target), they will perceive you as flighty and aloof. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

And finally, not even your shooting career–which you set out to improve–will be spared the pain. When you step up to the line, clear your mind like it’s just another dry fire drill, listen to the sound of a buzzer you hear hundreds of times a week, draw the gun like you could in your sleep and efficiently transition from target to target until you find yourself unloading and making clear, you’ll think Well that didn’t seem very hard. By practicing daily, you will push so much of your beloved shooting sport to your subconscious that you won’t even think about it as you do it, instead noting how squishy the gravel feels, or how there’s a piece of lint on your front sight. Ah, must be the holster. Time to try a new one. Speaking of a new one, I should try that new Mexican place down the road. And so on. Obviously, this will rob you of the satisfaction of having your earnest efforts rewarded as match performance that once took intense concentration comes easily and naturally.

And even after you start consistently finishing above where you were when you started, you’ll still be twenty classifier percent away from making GM. So really, why bother?

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.

One comment

  1. You forgot tendinitis as a side effect of dry fire, it hurts a lot and take a long time to get over.

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