First off, I’m genuinely surprised I spelled “equivalent” correctly in the title of this post on the first try. But anyway, on to the point. I’m not going to do a post on whether or not dry fire is useful, because duh and or hello it is. Whether you believe that dry fire is a place to practice getting faster at draws and reloads, or a place to perfect the motions at a slow pace, dry fire works. It has its limitations of course, you can’t get better at Bill Drills doing dry fire. I think a lot of people who dismiss the utility of dry fire aren’t really involved in other sports training, because every sport has its own version of dry fire.
We’ll start here, because it’s what I’m spending a lot of my training time on right now. When you’re lifting, one of the most important things that people frequently get wrong is form. There are thousands of videos of people lifting with poor form on the internet, all of which will eventually result in injury if not corrected. So we train for good form by lifting with a broomstick or just lifting the empty bar. If you can’t do a proper form deadlift with a 45 pound bar, you’ll never do it with 200 pounds.
Here’s another easy one: no, it’s not sparring. Sparring is like shooting a club match, a better comparison to dry fire would be either shadowboxing or bag work. I personally like bag work as a comparison, because like in dry fire you can either go full speed and work on improving power, or you can go partial speed and work on improving form. This could be either a heavy bag or a speed bag, when you really think about it.
Uh, batting practice? Yeah. Batting practice.
The point that I’m driving at here is don’t let people pooh-pooh dry fire to you as a waste of your time and energy. It’s a useful tool that when employed correctly will help you get better at manipulating your gun. Take my current situation as an example: my local range doesn’t allow holster draws during public use hours, so the only place I can practice my draw is in dry fire. When I’m at the range, I’ll start “holster” drills from the #2 position (or whatever you want to call it) and work it from there. Dry fire: it works, and it works best when you understand its limitations. You’ll never get stronger just lifting the bar, and you won’t get better at shooting El Pres just from dry fire either. At some point you’ve got to make a loud noise with your gun.