Integrating Dry Fire & Live Fire with a Metronome (part 1 of 2)

Ox here…co-creator of Tactical Firearms Training Secrets and Dry Fire Training Cards.

One of the biggest I get about dry fire training is whether or not it will carry over to live fire training.  Specifically, they bring up the fact that you can squeeze the trigger faster when doing dry fire than when you’re doing live fire and have recoil to contend with.

Today, I’m going to show you how to integrate your dry fire training and live fire and help you smooth out and speed up your technique at the same time.

Keep in mind that it can be a little tricky to know just how fast you can really press the trigger and still keep your rounds on target.  And there are A LOT of factors that go into the “right” cadence to shoot at, but today, we’re going to focus on the size of the target and the distance to the target and the impact that this has on cadence.

You may have seen the video I did awhile back where I shot 17 rounds into a 1″ target at 11 feet in 10.8 seconds with a Glock 17 full size 9mm after taking 6 months off of live fire training and exclusively doing dry fire training with Dry Fire Training Cards.  That works out to an average of 1 shot every .67 seconds.

That was starting from full extension with time to get the exact grip that I wanted before I started the timer and started shooting.

Here is a 5 shot string at a 1″ target that’s 15 feet away with a Glock 26 subcompact 9mm from a Serpa retention holster.

You’ll notice a few things…namely the impact that adding 4 feet to the distance, using a smaller pistol, and drawing from a holster had on both accuracy and splits.  Increasing the distance, on it’s own, makes the relative size of the target 45% smaller and the splits averaged out to .85 seconds.  The shots still all touch the 1″ target, but they’re not all in one ragged hole like before.  So let’s see how much of a difference a slightly bigger target makes.

Here’s the 2nd string–a 5 shot string at a Dry Fire Training Card measuring 2.15″ X 3.125″.  Still at 15 feet drawing a Glock 26 subcompact 9mm from a Serpa retention holster.

This time, I kept everything the same and opened up the acceptable accuracy a little bit and dropped the time from beep to bang from 2.87 seconds (for the 1″ dot) to 2.15 seconds and lowered the splits to .285 seconds.

And here’s the 3rd string–a 10 shot string at an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper with a playing card and a dot in the middle for reference.  And, to answer your question…yes, that’s a shot timer on my wrist.  It’s the Shotmaxx from DoubleAlpha.biz.  It rocks and it’s the same (or less) than the other big name shot timers out there.

This time, the results are dramatically different, with a beep to bang time of 1.29 seconds and all 10 rounds hitting the target in 2.83 seconds with an average split time of .17 seconds.  Why 10 shots?  To illustrate that with a larger acceptable group size that I could put 10 shots on target in the same time that it took me to put one accurate shot on a 1″ target.

FYI, that works out to about 350 rounds per minute.  The full auto Glock 18 cycles at about 1200 rounds per minute, so you could easily shoot 2-3 times faster than I am in this video.

There’s a couple of ways you could interpret this…

1.  To stop a threat as fast as possible, you want to start putting rounds on target as quick as possible, which means you need to shoot center-of-mass.

2.  With a blown out heart, an attacker can still be a threat for 5-10 seconds, so it’s worth it to take the time to make a precise shot to the central nervous system.

Which is right?  I don’t think you can answer that question definitively.

Other than me just being a pompous ass and showing off with a gun, is there a point to this?  Yes 🙂  The point of this is more than simple entertainment.

I want to suggest that as you’re going through your dry fire drills from Dry Fire Training Cards, 30-10 Pistol, or Concealed Carry Masters Course, that you start using a metronome to pace yourself.  You can get free metronome apps for your phone or do a search for “free metronome” to find an online metronome that you can use on your computer or mobile device.

Using a metronome will AUTOMATICALLY help you eliminate wasted movement, smooth out your technique, and get rid of inconsistencies.

Once you get your technique into rhythm with the metronome, you’ll be amazed how quickly this process happens.

There are 4 specific drills that I’m going to share with you.  I’m going to start you off today with a drill that corresponds to the 3 videos above and share the other 3 drills tomorrow:

For safety reasons, I suggest that you ONLY do these drills with an inert training platform, like the SIRT, unless you’ve been through live training with an NRA/military/LE instructor and they’ve walked you through proper dry fire safety procedures and say you are good-to-go doing dry fire on your own.  Remember, YOU are responsible for every round that leaves your gun and dry fire, by definition, means that all ammo has been removed from the area.  Be safe.

Drill #1.  Use the metronome for your trigger press.  Start with 30 beats per minute, or one beat every 2 seconds and focus on pressing the trigger, while keeping your sights aligned, every 2 seconds as the metronome clicks.

Focus on being smooth and keeping your sights perfectly aligned through the whole process.  I like to aim at a white/light background and focus on keeping the gaps on the left and right side of the front sight perfectly even throughout the process.

If you are using a single action or double action only trigger, don’t have an inert training platform with a resetting trigger, like the SIRT or an airsoft platform, and you’ve received proper live safety training and decide to use a functional firearm for this drill, simply remove all ammo from the area, keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction and do this drill on a “dead” trigger and re-rack the slide every 3-5 repetitions.  This is definitely a compromise, but when you think about it, all training is compromise in one form or another.

Once you’re smooth and clean with your trigger press, start speeding up your cadence by 10 beats per minute.  If you know your live fire cadence, start with that cadence.  To get your live fire cadence, time a 5 or 10 shot string and go with the average split.  You’ll want a shot timer for this and remember that you’ll have 1 fewer splits than you do shots, so for a 5 shot string, you’ll have 4 splits and for a 10 shot string, you’ll have 9 split times.

Your cadence will be faster or slower based on the size of the target you’re shooting and the distance to the target, and you’ll want to work on having 3-5 cadences that you can default to.

Beau Doboszenski, one of the Concealed Carry Masters Course instructors, and I were bouncing emails back and forth while I was writing this and we both have a stock set of cadences that we use… .17 seconds, .25 seconds, .5 seconds, and 1 second.  With those 4 cadences, we can engage targets ranging from 1″ to 8 1/2″ x 11″ at almost any defensive pistol distance.

It’s incredibly likely that you don’t really have a cadence and that your splits are all over the place, depending on your grip, whether you bounce your focus back and forth between your front sight and the target, and more.

A lack of cadence is just as bad with shooting as it is with dancing or music, and it’s something you want to work on.  It will force you to get rid of wasted movement, smooth out your technique, and make you a faster shooter with more predictable results.

If you can’t seem to do dry fire at the same cadence as your live fire cadence, slow down.

Consistent live fire splits are an indication of a consistent grip, trigger manipulation, consistent visual focus, consistent mental control, and consistent technique in general.  It’s also an indication that you’re letting the sub-conscious drive the gun, which means that you’ll perform under stress closer to how you perform in practice.  The more inconsistent you are, the more likely your form will fall apart under stress.

At some point in your dry-fire cadence training, you’re going to realize that the pace that what used to be “pushing it” now seems slow and you’re going to feel like turning things up a notch.  When you can keep your sights perfectly aligned through 20 reps, increase the speed.

Tomorrow, we’re going to cover 3 more metronome drills that will help smooth out your drawstroke, speed up your ability to focus on the front sight, and eliminate overtravel on multiple target transitions.

If you own a set of Dry Fire Training Cards, you’ve been doing these drills for up to a year or more–just without the metronome.  Don’t have a set of Dry Fire Training Cards yet?  If you’re a serious shooter, that’s just silly.

They’ve been tested and recommended by the National Tactical Officers’ Association.

Tier I and Tier II units from multiple countries use them in their training…even with nearly unlimited budgets.  In fact, one senior 18B special forces instructor has made Dry Fire Training Cards almost mandatory for the guys on the teams before he’ll work with them!

Law Enforcement agencies (and individual officers) across the US are buying them in bulk to maintain and improve their officers’ and deputies’ shooting skills in a time of shrinking budgets.

And competitive and concealed carry shooters are buying them in mass because they know they need every training edge they can possibly get.

To check out the special pricing and get yours now, head on over to DryFireTrainingCards.com

Questions?  Comments?  Any experience with training with a metronome?  Please share by commenting below:

Comments

  1. I have always wondered how one truly practice dry fire training with a DA/SA like my P226. Isn’t their a problem with the variance in trigger-pull and distance to travel? How does one overcome this?

  2. Great article, but in reality, if you put 10 shots into a perp. The prosecutor is going to put you in jail for a *very* long time… Especially in states like jersey, ny, commiefornia…

    • Why would you put 10 shots into an attacker? Just because you have the ability to, doesn’t mean that you should. As I said above, I shot the 10 round string to illustrate that I could get off 10 accurate center of mass shots in the same amount of time that I could get off a single 1″ CNS shot.

      Most use of force expert witnesses suggest shooting in 2, 3, or 4 round strings, stepping off to the side, switching to the next attacker or assessing the first one to see whether they’re still a threat before firing more rounds.

  3. Excellent article and demos, Thank you!

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