Can You Shoot Too Much?

9-Jul-12 – 13:32 by ToddG

Caleb posits an interesting question at Gun Nuts: Can You Shoot Too Much?

A similar but different question came up recently on, about feeling burned out (or even injured) and taking a break from shooting.

I’m certainly as guilty as anyone of doing a lot of ballistic dry fire (i.e., using live ammo to practice skills that can be addressed in large part via dry fire). There are multiple reasons for that, perhaps the most obvious is the endurance test I run each year. But if I’m honest with myself, the reality is that I simply have a very hard time sticking with a dry fire routine. It bores the ever loving hell out of me.

Coincidentally, I’ve been planning to use the upcoming Springfield 9mm 1911 test as a reason to put more focus on dry fire. I’m going to need some serious re-thinking of my approach to certain aspects of gun handling and that simply cries out for dry practice. I don’t intend to reduce how much live fire I shoot, though. I simply want to add more time (dry) to the 3-5 hours per week I spend at the range (live).

There are benefits and pitfalls to either approach. The most obvious advantage to live fire is that you’re really doing it, handling the gun in actual recoil and seeing actual results in terms of hits; the biggest disadvantages are the cost and need to be at a range. Dry fire is the exact opposite: advantage is that it’s free and can be done almost anywhere; disadvantage is that it’s far too easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re hitting when you’re not and –just like extensive practice with .22 or airsoft training guns — can lead some people to develop poor recoil management skills. It’s worth noting that a SIRT dry fire trainer can overcome many of the disadvantages of dry practice by giving you both a more realistic multi-shot trigger and feedback regarding whether your uber-cool Watch Me On YouTube sub-second draw is actually a hit or a miss.

So, can you shoot too much? I think so. You can also dry-fire too much. For most people, though, other factors — time, money, interest — are far bigger limiters. But Caleb’s post definitely gave me something to think about with regard to my practice routine. You should definitely check it out.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


  1. 12 Responses to “Can You Shoot Too Much?”

  2. I simply cannot get to the range every day so I have to dry fire during the week if I want to do any kind of training at all. I am finding it difficult to get into a routine though. I even bought a SIRT a few months ago thinking it would make it easier, if only from the stand point that I can leave it out on the living room and not tweak guests out and it has helped but any dry fire I do is fun for like 10 minutes and then I get bored and the next day I tell myself “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

    By Jesse on Jul 9, 2012

  3. I’ve found that I can handle 30 minutes of dry practice a few times a week and it has greatly improved my marksmanship. I also use a lot of .22lr and have seen great improvement when crossing over back over to 9mm. If done correctly and understanding the limitiations to all the different methods you can’t do any of them too much.

    By BW on Jul 9, 2012

  4. That is by far the dumbest thing I’ve read all day. How much stock do you own in SIRT?

    By nothing on Jul 9, 2012

  5. I find that I can do a meaningful amount of dry practice while watching TV/videos. Most TV isn’t really *that* visually engaging; you can spend a lot of time looking at a target posted next to the TV/monitor while just listening to the TV and occasionally flicking an eye over to it. So I wait until I have several things I want to watch, and a moment to watch them, and do my dry practice while absorbing the videos. It’s certainly not as good as focusing on nothing but your shooting, but it’s a heck of a lot less boring and therefore I do it more. I make it a requirement that if I’m going to watch a bunch of video, I will do something more constructive at the same time such as dry practice. So it almost forces me to do dry practice. (That said, I generally only watch a few minutes of video a week so it’s still not like I get much dry practice in).

    Jeff Cooper advocated sitting at the TV with one’s (unloaded) rifle across one’s lap, and when two circles appeared on the TV such as the ‘O’s in ‘Coors’, try to hit both of them with your rifle. Working the bolt in between shots of course. He did point out that this was a violation of the “don’t point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy” rule; but he said he “needed his rifle skills more than his televisor”.

    By Redchrome on Jul 9, 2012

  6. I would love a SIRT if they made one in an M&P flavor. Some of us are cursed with short fingers, that cannot properly grip a Glock.

    By Rob M on Jul 9, 2012

  7. 107 SIRT (M&P platform) are coming. Check NLT’s FB page… they already have the first production batch, I believe.

    By Tam 212 on Jul 9, 2012

  8. First, I like how he coins the term “ballistic dry fire.” Cute.

    He then goes on to discuss some of the benefits and detriments of dry fire and live fire. This is where Press-Out demonstrates that he really just doesn’t get it. He mentions the chief reasons for dry fire being that it is cheap and it can be done anywhere. Well, yeah, those are two nice advantages. But obviously that’s not the whole story. Some of the best shooters in the world have access to private ranges and get ammo for free or nearly free – but they still do extensive dry fire practice. In fact, the two guys who recently junked Press-Out’s FAST drill both claim to dry fire far more than they live-fire practice. Hmmm. How could that be?

    He also mentions some detriments of dry fire practice, most notably that you don’t really know if you’re hitting and the propensity to develop poor recoil management. Can anyone who has dry fired extensively possibly agree with that sentiment? Extensive dry fire is how I learned to call shots, which is a key to high speed accuracy. It was during that practice that I learned to stay focused on the front sight as the trigger broke, and that mental discipline carried over to the live fire range. Likewise, extensive dry fire is how my hands learned to mold themselves to the grip, which is a big key in recoil management.

    Press-Out completely misses the fact that dryfire is done in a quiet environment where one can focus on the minutia of shooting improvement. At the range there is ALWAYS a gun going off, and it’s often yours. The noise and the flash and the recoil all help to distract your brain from the incremental things you’re trying to work on. Whereas at home in dryfire you can tell yourself to index the magazine into the gun before slamming it home rather than just trying to chuck it in there, on the range it’s a lot harder to focus on the little things because there are so many big distractions. At home during dry fire I’ve never had to take a break to load magazines or tape targets, I’ve never had to have a 20 minute discussion with a friend right when I felt like I was getting warmed up, and I’ve never had to wait for a lane or a bay before I could start my practice session.

    Ultimately, I think the lesson is to ignore the benefits of dry fire at your own peril, and ballistic dry fire is no substitute, otherwise you may end up shooting 60,000+ rounds per year and never actually improving beyond your current level.

    By Joe on Jul 9, 2012

  9. I never messed with a SIRT pistol but I did watch the video. Just too gimmicky for me. If I need a laser gadget that bad I will spend the cash on a laser/weapon-light combo. I might even have some money left over for some 22lr. Either that or I will just tape my cats laser pointer to the gun and save more cash. What Superman doesn’t mention in his video about the SIRT pistol is that it is freakishly expensive for a completely fake gun that doesn’t give you what many shooters need and that is sight movement. If you can’t learn to watch the sight movement then you can’t begin to understand the dynamics of how “recoil management” works.

    By Shawn Knight on Jul 10, 2012

  10. Shawn, I’ve got a SIRT trainer—and I really like it. I can use it for all sorts of dryfire applications, and it indeed is a good thing, IMO. I don’t use it exclusively (I use my actual pistol about 50-60% of the time) but I DO certainly use it.

    Dryfire _never_ helps with recoil management. And yet, most top-level shooter/instructors (Ex: Sevigny, Stoeger, Seeklander) will tell you that solid, focused dryfire practice will make a huge difference in your shooting ability. So while recoil management must be practiced elsewhere, there is still a lot of things that dryfire practice _will_ do.

    Didn’t Steve Anderson make GM pretty much strictly based on his dry-fire practice? :) I’m thinking right there is good evidence that there is something to dryfire.

    By jthhapkido on Jul 11, 2012

  11. I went from competition once a month and training a few times a month on top of that to nothing for about 4 months last year. My pistol shooting was pretty good before the break (lots of hunting). When I went back to competing my pistol shooting was pure garbage.

    I did a lot of very dedicated and focused pistol dry fire over the next month and I went from horrible to back to my previous standard. I had only one minus 1 on all my pistol targets (multigun) and that was SHO while sitting in a chair.

    Dry fire makes a huge difference when done correctly.

    At the same time I was doing live fire with a Ruger MKII… 22lr 😉

    By Bill on Jul 11, 2012

  12. Tom are you talking to me or the post? I know you got one-o-them-there SIRT thingies.

    I also know the benefits of dry-fire. I also know the downsides of dry-fire. Poor recoil management can be one of them. Can we all make it to GM by dry-fire? No, but it does help a great deal with learning how the trigger in our pistol works.

    Every class I have been too for Competition shooting has been about sight movement. That was the biggest point Manny tried stressing to me was Sight movement. Seeing that front sight jerk upward and equating that to prepping your trigger for the next shot. Manny keeps his GM by Airsoft training. The second thing that Manny stressed was Trigger Prep. I think that can be done easily with the SIRT gadget but i ain’t spending $250+ on one of them just for one aspect of firearms practice/training.

    On a side note, every class I have been to for tactical training (rifle pistol and shotgun)has been about firearm handling and firearm manipulation after the tactics and pie slicing.

    By Shawn Knight on Jul 11, 2012

  13. Dry fire because you need it not because you don’t like it!
    Live fire quallity not quanity!
    You have too pay your dues or get left behind.

    By Brian Ellington on Jul 20, 2012

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