Keeping dryfire interesting

How much you last practiced isn’t as important as when you last practiced.

Tom Givens

One of the Facebook groups I’m a member of is called 1000 Days of Dryfire Challenge. It’s a group whose members have committed to doing my ‘1000 consecutive days of dryfire’ concept. What I found the first time I did the 1000 days was that regularly devising new regimens and switching them around was important to keep the program interesting and avoiding boredom with doing a single regimen all the time.

A regimen I’ve been doing the past few days is a dryfire version of the Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course. The target I made is a reduced scale triple QIT printed on 11×17 paper at FedEx Office. It’s scaled for 2.5 yards. What I do is print the image from a flash drive on 11×17 paper at FedEx office and set the copier to ‘resize to fit page.’ Resizing is one of the menu options when printing from a flash drive. Feel free to download the image and try it yourself.

Triple QIT for legal landscape grey background v2The spacing isn’t quite wide enough on a single piece of paper but nothing is perfect. I punched a hole in the paper at the measured middle point so I can hang it on a picture hanger in the wall. Regular paper tends to sag when hung on the wall, so I stapled it to a piece of cardstock.Triple QIT on wallI’m using my SCCY pistol because it’s DAO with second strike capability so I can pull the trigger on almost all the shots. The only one I have to fudge is the final stage because it involves two strings starting with a slide lock reload. I start those strings with the slide locked back, so the first shot is a dead trigger.

Since the TPC is based on Par times, like most police courses, I set the par times on one of my CED 6000 timers. It’s a great training timer, which isn’t made any more, unfortunately. The CED has an option for multiple strings of par time, which makes it easy to set up the multiple string stages. Like most timers, it only sets par times to one tenth of a second, so I round the times down, e.g., 1.65 becomes 1.6 seconds.

Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course (TPC)

Drill Starting Position Seconds Allowed Total Rounds
One Round (twice). Concealed Holster 1.65 (3.30 total) 2
Double Tap (twice) Low Ready 1.35 (2.70 total) 4
Rhythm; fire 6 rounds at one target; no more than 0.6 between each shot. Low Ready 3.00 6
One Shot, speed reload, one shot (twice). Low Ready 3.25 (6.50 total) 4
One Round each at two targets 3 yards apart (twice). (Use the outer targets. I go left to right for one string and right to left for the other.) Low Ready 1.65 (3.30 total) 4
180 degree pivot. One round each at 3 targets (twice). Turn left, then right. Concealed Holster 3.50 (7.00 total) 6
One Round, slide locks back; drop to one knee; reload; fire one round (twice). Low Ready 4.00 (8.00 total) 4


  1. TIME: Cannot exceed total time for each Drill. Example: Drill #1 – 1st time 1.70 seconds, 2nd time 1.55 seconds; Total = 3.25 seconds = Go. Must achieve a “GO” on each Drill.
  2. ACCURACY: Target is FBI “QIT” (bottle). Total rounds fired is 30. Point value that hit the inside bottle = 5. Point value touching line or outside bottle = 2. Maximum possible score = 150. Minimum qualifying score = 135.

All stages must equal “GO” to qualify.

This is a fun course that only takes a few minutes to do but tests a number of skills and is fun, at least for me.

10 responses

  1. Thanks, Claude, for another dry fire post. A couple of quick questions. How do you account for “hits”? If I use a j frame with a laser sight, I think I can account for a hit as well as follow up shots. However, what do you suggest for a pistol without a laser? Also, any suggestions for pistols such as a 1911 or Glock for the second shot?

    1. In dryfire, it’s important to learn to ‘read your sights,’ just as in livefire. By that, I mean you have a clear visual picture of the relationship between the sights and the target at the moment the hammer/striker falls. It’s almost never going to be perfect, but that’s OK.

      Reading the sights also forces you to perfect your follow-through. On the last shot of every string, which on the one shot strings is also the first shot, I follow-through for a full second. I.e., I hold the pistol on target exactly as it was when the shot broke without moving the sights out of my eye target line. This accomplishes two things; 1) teaches me to read the sights and 2) keeps me out of the habit of yanking the pistol down as soon as I think I’ve fired.

      Lack of follow-through is a difficult stumbling block for shooters trying to improve their shooting. Yanking the pistol down to look at the results on target is a serious flaw in shooting technique. At the elite Rogers Shooting School, I watched people make significant improvements to their scores just by developing the habit of following-through. Dryfire in the evening was one of the methods I used to teach it.

      With guns that have no second strike capability, shots beyond the first are going to be dead triggers. With those guns, I just try to press the dead trigger without disturbing the gun. That’s not quite as good as having a live trigger but I have seen many people who mash the trigger so badly they can’t do it. It really shows up in strings like the six shot rhythm drill. So even working the dead trigger can have some value to some people.

      1. Thanks, Claude. Hadn’t thought about the dead trigger approach. Appreciate your insights and suggestions.

  2. Great article. Dry firing is really helping me; a flinch, blinking, recoil anticipating, trigger jerker. I couldn’t figure out how to pm you, are you sure that is a good photo with your target hanging basically in front of the drawn blinds? I’m sure it was just for demoing the target on a background.

    1. That area backs up to a berm about 20 feet from my apartment. That’s why I like it, any ND is going to be contained.

  3. Some folks may think it’s easy to get your shot on target from 2.5 yards. Let me stand behind you and yell at you while you draw and shoot, maybe pop you in the leg or derriere with an airsoft. Years ago, one of our range instructors used to throw a string of firecrackers at our feet while we tried to respond to the threat. And he was a fan of pinging us deputies with an airsoft while we shot. Practice, practice, practice. And keep it real. How big is the biggest room in your house? You don’t need to practice 100yd or even 50yd shots (though it is fun and educational). Shoot at real-life distances and learn to make every shot count.

  4. Since they don’t make the timer that you use for dry practice anymore is there a similar model that you would recommend.

    1. CED makes a par timer called the Universal Countdown Timer. It’s quite inexpensive ($15) too because it doesn’t track the shots, just gives a signal that the time is up. It’s only adjustable in one second increments but for most people that’s more than adequate. It’s also a good timer for use at indoor ranges where a shot timer is generally of no value.

      It’s also available from Midway USA, if you ever order from there.

  5. […] As Cecil pointed out in his article one small thing a day, and the premise behind Claude’s 1,000 days of dryfire, daily disciplined practice is the true way to mastery. Why should mental training be different? Do […]

%d bloggers like this: