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 to 15: 160 minutes
March 16: 10 minutes, Two-handed presentation/trigger
March 17: 10 minutes, SHO presentation/trigger
March 18: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger
March 19: 10 minutes, USP: seated
March 20: 10 minutes, USP: kneeling
March 21: 10 minutes, USP: prone/supine
March 22: 10 minutes, USP: seated
March 23: 0 minutes
March 24: 10 minutes, USP: kneeling
March 25: 10 minutes, USP: prone/supine
March 26: 10 minutes, two-handed sustainment
March 27: 10 minutes, USP: seated
March 28: USP: 10 minutes, USP kneeling
March 29: USP: 0 minutes
March 30: 10 minutes, USP prone/supine, 10 minutes revolver maintenance
March 31: 10 minutes, two-handed sustainment, 10 minutes revolver maintenance
Monthly Target: 310 minutes
Monthly Actual: 320 minutes
Cumulative Target: 900 minutes
Cumulative Actual: 930 minutes (15 hours, 30 minutes)
During this period I focused my energy on drawing/shooting from unconventional positions. Every session during this period began and ended with approximately five two-handed presentations. I also worked in some sustainment of two-handed and SHO/WHO skills, though not as much as I had planned to. The further along in this I get, the more stuff it seems there is to sustain.
You will also notice that during the last couple of days of the month, I did some “revolver maintenance”. This involved nothing more than spending a solid ten minutes presenting the revolver and dry-firing strings of 1 through six shots. This is for three reasons. The first is to help my trigger control generally. Secondly I have several revolvers here for T&E and need to be on my game if I’m going to review them fairly. Finally, I recently learned I need to keep working with revolvers – you guys will read about why soon.
Unconventional Shooting Positions
I had been considering dry practicing in some unconventional positions when I ran across two good motivators in the same week. The first was an article on Active Response Training that recommended practicing shooting while sitting. Two days later the Rangemaster Newsletter featured an article on a variety of kneeling positions. I broke these unconventional shooting positions (USPs) down into a round-robin of three training sessions: seated, kneeling, prone/supine.
Each of these sessions were slightly different. Rather than simply sit/kneel/lie down and do a bunch of draws, I questioned the circumstances under which I might find myself in each of these positions. The answers to those questions drove my training, as will be explained below.
Seated: During these sessions I focused on drawing the gun. I divided seated draws from concealment using between two different chairs. One is a fairly low barrel-style chair with arms that is in our living room. In this chair I varied my start position between feet flat on the floor and legs crossed (in every combination I could think of). The other chair(s) I used is a barstool at our dining table. I didn’t find drawing from either of these positions terribly difficult.
I changed things up slightly at the higher dining table chair. Instead of sitting only in the two seats that gave me the most advantageous drop on my target, I spent about 90 seconds in each of our four seats. This forced me to present at awkward angles. I set the table up so I had a direct shot, and one to my left and right, and one behind me. When my back was completely to the target I found it much faster to draw and present one-handed.
Kneeling: During these sessions I focused less on drawing the gun and more into getting into a kneeling position. I spent most of my time on the “speed kneeling” and “double kneeling” positions (see the Rangemaster article linked above). Even though I might use these positions because of available cover from which I might fight and as a result have to reload and clear malfunctions, the body mechanics of those actions don’t change significantly significantly. I chose to omit them and focus on drawing and getting in and out of the positions safely and quickly.
Prone/Supine: I assessed that I am most likely to need one of these positions if I have been knocked down or am injured. It is also possible, though somewhat less likely, that I will utilize one of these positions to take advantage of available cover. Because I may have to fight for my life in these positions, and because the mechanics of reloads and malfunction clearances change drastically, I spent a few minutes of these sessions going through them.
I found the prone position to be my least-favorite of these by far. My draw was drastically slowed, and I was forced to roll onto a side to have much hope of engaging close range targets. Clearing malfunctions and reloading also takes some work from this position. If you’ve never worked through drawing, engaging, and manipulating your firearm in prone and supine, you should spend a few minutes with it.
My performance so far…
I missed two days during this period. Both of those were very long (12+ hour) travel days. Thanks to some two-a-days I still managed to slightly exceed both my monthly and cumulative targets. My personal goal is to not miss any days, but that’s also why I went with a number of minutes per year rather than trying to hit consecutive days. For me it’s infinitely more sustainable.
In three months with a very minimal expenditure of time I’ve managed to get almost two full work days’ worth of dry practice in. 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.