My first post of this year briefly discussed my goal of doing 3,650 minutes of dry practice in 2019. These posts are mostly for my own accountability. Here are my results to this point in the year:
January 1 – 11: 200 minutes
January 12-31: 140 minutes
February 1 to 15: 140 minutes
February 16 to 28: 130 minutes
March 1: 10 minutes, WHO presentation
March 2: 0 minutes
March 3: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger, 10 minutes, two-handed sustainment
March 4: 10 minutes, WHO reloads
March 5: 10 minutes, WHO presentation
March 6: 10 minutes, WHO malfunctions
March 7: 10 minutes, SHO sustainment
March 8: 10 minutes, WHO reloads
March 9: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger
March 10: 10 minutes, WHO malfunctions
March 11: 10 minutes, Two-handed sustainment, 100-round range session
March 12: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger, 10 minutes SHO sustainment
March 13: 10 minutes, WHO reloads, 200-round range session
March 14: 10 minutes, WHO malfunctions
March 15: 10 minutes, two-handed sustainment
Monthly Target: 310 minutes
Monthly To Date: 160 minutes
Cumulative Target: 900 minutes
Cumulative To Date: 770 minutes (12 hours, 40 minutes)
During this period I focused my energy on weak-hand only† (WHO) manipulation of my carry gun. Over two weeks I worked WHO presentation, trigger manipulation, reloads, and malfunction drills. Because I don’t prefer to shoot with one hand if I have two available, I also worked some two-handed sustainment into my routine. Finally, I worked hard on my SHO skills last month, so I worked to maintain those, too.
Weak-Hand Only Work
One-handed defensive shooting – especially one-handed shooting with your weak hand – is probably not the skill you are most likely to use. However, it is not completely ruled out, and since I have ample 10-minute dry practice slots to fill, why not? These skills apply to users of both revolvers and semis. During this two week block I worked on the following WHO skills:
Presentation: I worked on presentation using only my weak hand. Rather than using my strong hand to clear cover garments, I operated under the assumption that if I’m shooting WHO, I might have to do it start-to-finish WHO. This means I’m not drawing with my strong hand and transferring it to my weak hand. I’m drawing with my weak hand, placing the gun between my knees, acquiring a firing grip, and presenting it out on target.
I discovered that acquiring a firing grip with my left hand sometimes resulted in not fully depressing the grip safety on my 1911. After the first day of practicing WHO presentations I slowed down and made sure I was moving my hand upward onto the grip into the beavertail. This ensured a nice, high grip but also ensured I didn’t grasp the gun too high and fail to deactivate the safety.
Clearing concealment wasn’t a big deal when wearing a t-shirt, so I made the effort to spend a few sessions in a heavy sweater and/or coat. This is how I’m normally found outdoors this time of year, and it certainly added a challenge to a clean, one-handed draw stroke.
Trigger Manipulation: I also worked on some WHO trigger control. I did this using my carry gun and my 686. My carry gun would be holstered and the 686 would be lying on the table beside me. I would pick up the 686, present from the #3 position (in the 4-step draw stroke) and work the trigger. I would bring the gun back to #3, and repeat for 5 reps. Then I would set the revolver down, and go back to my carry gun – present, aim, press the trigger. The revolver trigger provides an excellent exercise in trigger management, especially one-handed.
Reloads: As with SHO in the last report, I worked reloads. I transitioned the slide-locked gun to between my thighs, retrieved and inserted a magazine, and reacquired a firing grip. I racked the slide (from the rear sight) off my belt and presented the gun to the target.
Malfunctions: I’m not going to detail single-handed malfunction clearance here. On these days I worked sequence of clearing Type I, Type IV, Type II, and Type III malfunctions using weak hand only.
I spent a couple days maintaining my strong-hand only skills. I began these sessions with approximately 10 draws with my strong hand. Next, I executed five SHO reloads. I would run through one each of the Type I, IV, II, and III malfunctions. This left me with enough time to get five or or six more presentation reps in before transitioning to a minute or so of two-handed draws.
I developed a system of sustaining my two-handed shooting skills. Though this segment has seen me focus on one-handed shooting, in all likelihood I will shoot my gun with two hands should I find myself in a defensive encounter. I sustained this skill in two different ways.
Daily Sustainment: First, I spent the first and last minute of every dry practice session presenting with two hands. This still provides recency on the skill I am mostly likely to actually need. The other way I refreshed two-handed skills was a dedicated session every five to seven days.
Weekly Sustainment: When I spent a full session on two-handed skills (roughly once a week), I made it a well-rounded session. The first minute was spent working presentations. Next, I would do about five repetitions of speed and tactical reloads. Next I would go through one rep each of Type I, IV, II, and III malfunctions. Finally, I would close the session with another minute or two of the two-handed presentation.
It’s not hard to find 10 minutes a day to dry practice. Take ten minutes you’d be spending vegging out on Instagram or in front of the TV and turn it into a tangible skill.
†Weak hand, support hand, non-dominant hand, “other” strong hand…I’m not sure what the cool kids are calling it. You guys know what I’m talking about.