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 to 31: 160 minutes
April 1 – 15: 140 minutes, April 16-30: 160 minutes
May 1: 10 minutes, SHO presentation/trigger
May 2: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger
May 3: 10 minutes, reloads
May 4: 10 minutes, SHO reloads
May 5: 0 minutes
May 6: 10 minutes, WHO reloads
May 7: 10 minutes, malfunctions
May 8: 0 minutes
May 9: 10 minutes, WHO malfunctions
May 10: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger
May 11: 10 minutes, WHO presentation/trigger
May 12: 10 minutes, revolver trigger maintenance
May 13: 10 minutes, SHO malfunctions
May 14: 10 minutes, L/R barricades, 10 minutes revolver trigger maintenance
May 15: 10 minutes, unconventional shooting positions
Monthly Target: 310 minutes
Monthly to Date: 140 minutes
Cumulative Target: 1510 minutes
Cumulative to Date: 1,340 (22 hours, 20 minutes)
This was a rough two-week period and it wasn’t as coherent as I would have liked. During this period I had to paint and pack my apartment in preparation for a interstate move. I also had to spend four days with 6+ hours in the car driving to and from work engagements. I had intended to maintain all the skills I’ve worked so far, but I didn’t quite get there. There were a few highlights that worked their way into my practice routines during this two-week period, though.
Sustainment & Reduced Light
I’ve worked on a lot of skills this year. Since I’ve dedicated a week or two (or more) to most of these skills, I want to refresh them periodically. This will probably be a trend over the next seven months: spending a few weeks with “new” skills, and dropping back to sustain “old” ones. I tried to hit all of the following, at least briefly: presentation, reloads, and malfunctions (two-handed, SHO, and WHO), barricade shooting, and unconventional shooting positions. I was also able to add a small additional element into these sessions.
The added element this time was “reduced” light. I’m choosing my words carefully because I wasn’t in total darkness and I’d hesitate to even call it “low light.” But, I closed the blind and turned all the lights off. This made my dry practice space darker than you’d expect. Though I didn’t need a flashlight (I’ll get to that soon), light was reduced enough that I could see the glow of my night sights. I also had trouble seeing the dark-colored A-Zoom snap caps in the chamber and had to introduce tactile press-checks when ascertaining the status of my handgun.
Even a change as mild as this one required some modification to my techniques. If you haven’t done any practice in lowered lighting, you might consider it. Dry practice is the perfect venue for practicing such a skill, because I have yet to find a range that would turn out the lights for me.
SHO & WHO Reloads
I also worked some different techniques for one-handed reloads. I have been holding my pistol between my thighs/knees for years as I was trained to do in the military. This is kind of a clunky technique. It takes a lot of time, and introduces all kinds of chances to drop the gun or acquire a sub-optimal grasp. I am very open to updating my technique here. Recently I ran across a video detailing shoving the gun back into the holster (strong hand) or into the belt (weak hand). It seems to make sense, so I this is how I spent my SHO/WHO reload days.
I had a problem with SHO. I found that my cover garment garment would frequently fall back over the pistol while I grabbed my magazine. This was especially true in cooler weather when I frequently wear a Merino wool sweater. Unfortunately this isn’t addressed in the video; the shooter is using one hand to hold his cover garment well out of the way. If my hand is available to clear my cover garment, why not just do a two-handed reload? I found doing the full process with only one hand a bit more difficult than the demonstration.
I did not have this issue on my weak-hand side. I have a couple of theories. Because the gun is not the holster the butt is kicked out; it is possible that this is helping to hold up my cover garment. The other possibility is that my spare magazine (which is carried on my left side) is also helping to hold up the cover garment once its up and out of the way.
Further, I found another reason to really like this technique on my weak hand side. The butt of the gun is held mere inches from my spare magazine. Getting the magazine into the gun was much faster and more efficient than my old technique of holding the gun between my legs. I’m still trying various techniques and I’m open to suggestion if anyone has anything; the same goes for one-handed malfunction clearance.
Extra WHO Work
You’ll notice I spent five of these 15 days working WHO stuff. That’s because when I got to WHO malfunctio drills I wasn’t pleased with my performance and decided to spend a few additional days with WHO. Expect to see a full two-week WHO block coming up in the near future.
Speaking of the Future…
What else can you expect to see in the future? I mentioned early in this post that I moved. I moved from a one-bedroom, urban apartment to a freestanding house with two acres outside of a town of just 5,000 people. This has got me thinking a lot about my long gun skills, so you can probably expect to see at least one two week block, and day a week (or so) thereafter dedicated to long gun work.
Aside from that, I’m going to continue progressing with my EDC gun. I’ll continue to sustain skills, as well as working in low light and adding in movement. Since I have two country acres to play on now, my sessions may get a bit more interesting. Stay tuned!
If you aren’t dry practicing. . . why not? 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.