My IDPA Dryfire Rules

Posted: June 21, 2009 in IDPA

I don’t dry fire every day, in fact I usually dry fire about 3 or 4 times per week. I found that if I dry fire too much, I loose the edge and it becomes a mundane routine. This is the worst thing that can happen to your dry fire session because you loose focus and aggression and then complacency sets in, where waving the gun in the general direction of the target and slapping the trigger becomes acceptable. Even though you may know deep down that it’s not, you can’t be bothered to practice properly. At this point you’re simply going through the motions, ingraining lack of self discipline and bad habits.

Half size IDPA targets for dry fire

Half size IDPA targets for dry fire


In order to get the most out of my dryfire sessions, I follow these four rules:

1) Wear the exact same gear (except ear protection) that I wear during a match. Footwear, concealment, eye protection etc. I want to simulate and get as close to match conditions as possible.

2) I do some warm up strings, then decide that the next X number of strings are going to be under match conditions. Just as in a real match, I will run through my pre-performance routine for every match condition string.

3) Any fumbles and large errors during warm up I stop, clear my head and restart. But during the match strings, I try to work through them and complete the string trying to stay in the zone. The warm is important because you’re preparing your muscles for the work they’re about to do, so you need to complete the entire string so that you can work out the bugs and also get it figured out in your head. When it comes down to the match strings, well, unexpected stuff happens during matches too and you have to learn how to deal with them. Doing tap/rack drills and malfunction clearances are not hard. I find the hard part is recovering and getting straight back in the zone. Ideally I want to recover and get back into the zone, forgetting the issue that just happened and only think about the task at hand. What’s done is done, there’s nothing you can do to change it and you certainly can’t go faster to recover the time. So the only thing you can do is to continue being in the zone and continue shooting at 100%.

I recently shot an IDPA match at Circleville and during one stage I stumbled very early on, but caught my footing and continued with the stage. I ended up posting the second fastest time of the day on that stage. At the end of the stage when the scoring had just been completed, a couple of my squad mates commented “nice save”. I had completely forgotten about the stumble. As soon as they mentioned the stumble, I grunted, shrugged and then put it out of my mind, instead replacing those images with my arriving at P2 and quickly engaging the targets which I felt was done really well. This type of situation is happening more and more in my shooting (where I get right back into the zone after a fumble) and I know that it’s because of my mental approach and dry fire practice.

4) Switch around the dry fire routines to challenge myself and work on some of my weaknesses. No two dry fire sessions are the same. For me that would spell trouble and train me to follow certain specific timings and routines. Shooting is not like that, since every stage at a match poses new movement and target challenges. Although I do start my sessions with simple draw and reload drills, which are the most fundamental of tasks, I also try to switch it up part way through with different movement and target positions.

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