May 1, 2010

Tactical Shooting Clinic

Time to get schooled

Start at :24. Watch and listen for the click.


A classic and very common marksmanship error. Shooting can never be learned at a decent level until you can fire live ammo without being subconsciously afraid of the firearm. Any motion or reaction on a "click" when a "bang" is expected indicates this hasn't been addressed and fixed.

Everybody wants to be a gun fighter and hold a "Tactical Clinic" but nobody wants to do the work. Fundamental marksmanship skills can be mastered at home performing daily, organized dry practice for a few minutes per session. Good physical fitness can be achieved at home with no equipment by performing simple exercises and calisthenics daily in an organized fashion.

Yet, fat flinchers abound. Sad.


  1. Yup, I know this "sin" well.

    Dry-firing, if you know it's dry-fire, doesn't cure the fear. While it does train the body, the mind knows the difference, and it is the mind that "jerks".

    "Ball and dummy" drills don't cure, either. They just show -- as happens in the video -- that the problem is there.

    I'm still shooting -- live fire -- to cure my bad habit. I get some good shots as well as some bad. And I shoot Bullseye (aka, Conventional Pistol) so I can see the results. (Unlike steel where the little jerks can still hide.)

    Any tips other than to practice good skills (not jerking, in this case) while pushing a lot of lead downrange?

  2. Your comments on quality dry practice are spot on. It helps overcome a flinch by training the skills, but won't cure it entirely.

    Ball and dummy tests if you flinch but won't fix the problem. Ultimately, the shooter has to reprogram his/her reflexes, teaching the subconscious mind to react to live ammo as if dry firing.

    The solution is to skip load. Fill a magazine or cylinder with mostly dummy rounds and only one or two live rounds mixed in randomly. A ratio of 4:1 (dummy to live) or higher is good. On every click dry fire an additional three shots before continuing.

    A 4:1 mix fills a ten round magazine with only two live rounds. In addition to the eight dummies the shooter is dry firing an additional three times on each giving the training benefit of 34 shots for every two live rounds fired!

  3. Made it to the range last night with a bunch of freshly minted dummy rounds and started the skip load practice. Man oh man, that's a lot of dry-firing for the rare bang!

    But I see the point. You begin to expect the dry-fire and so the flinch slowly ebbs away with click after click. And when the bang comes, it's unexpected, and it's clean, no flinch.

    At least, that's where I think this is going.

    But last night, it was pretty embarrassing with the other shooters -- some of whom are High Masters -- seeing my spasms out of the corner of their eye. Of course, they'd never say a word but, still, I know they know.

    When my hold and release are good, it's a thing of beauty to watch. And there's that beautiful X at the end. I've watched myself shoot some wonderful targets and know I can someday get a Master class rating.

    But I need to blot out all vestiges of the "jerk".

    So, I'll find some solitary hours, and hours, and hours, at the range to get this down.

  4. Two hours at the range skip loading Friday last week and I totaled eight, count them, eight live shots. Man, that's a LOT of dry-fire! But I saw the "jerk" [way too often] and he is me. Much more range time needed but, yes, I can see this will work. Earned my Expert card yesterday but need to lose all vestiges of the "jerk" to reach Master. Thanks for the coaching!

  5. >> You begin to expect the dry-fire and so the flinch slowly ebbs away with click after click. And when the bang comes, it's unexpected, and it's clean, no flinch.

    That's the idea. XTC-great Dennis DeMille says,

    "The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then you will eventually become a High Master."