My basic routine focuses mainly on some basic skills used in competition. It only takes about 15 minutes do. In a typical session, I do 20 reps of drawing the pistol, finding the sight alignment and making one "shot" from each of the listed start positions.
- Facing the target with hands at side
- Facing the target with hands above shoulders
- Facing away from the target with hands at side, turn and draw
- Facing away from the target with hands above shoulders, turn and draw
- While stepping left
- While stepping right
- While stepping forward
- While stepping backward
In each of these drills, the goal is to get the gun smoothly and quickly on target, in this case a 4" square, and dry fire the pistol without losing the sight alignment.
The next exercise practices reloading skills. I work through all the positions of the mags on my belt. The goal is to pull the trigger, drop the mag, and smoothly load a new magazine, and regain the site picture.
I finish with the Wall Drill. This involves repeated trigger pulls while focusing only on the sight alignment. This is done using a two-hand grip, as well as strong hand and weak hand only. When I first started this drill I was shocked to realize just how much I moved the pistol while pulling the trigger.
Most of the time, I do the drills using my USPSA gear, complete with eye and hearing protection. The idea is to get as close as possible to actually shooting in competition. A couple of times a week I add in some practice with the leather holster I currently use for IDPA. And yes, on occasion I also practice with my conceal carry gear.
There's a lot written on dry fire and a quick internet search can bring up much information on various drills and the benefits. I adapted my basic practice session from the Sig Sauer Academy Dry Fire Routine and the previously mentioned Wall Drill from pistol-training.com.
There are also some good books that go into in-depth training using dry fire. A few I've enjoyed are "Your Competition Handgun Training Program: A complete training program designed for the practical shooter" by Michael Seeklander, and "Refinement and Repetition, Dry-fire Drills for Dramatic Improvement" and "Principles of Performance, Refinement and Repetition 2", both by Steve Anderson. I am not following the specific programs from these books, but have gleaned many tips and useful insight from the authors. I think they are worth reading even if you don't have the time or resources to follow their timetables and exercises exactly.
No matter what dry fire routine you practice, safety is the most important rule. Be sure your weapon is completely unloaded and double-checked before doing any of these drills. Keep all live ammo in a separate room.
I've seen noticeable improvement in my ability to obtain and keep a good sight picture after practicing with these drills. My reloads are getting better as well. I intend to keep it up and even expand my practice routines. Next, I want to set up a couple of targets outside in order to practice moving from one shooting position to another. It's a good thing my back yard is fairly secluded from the neighbors' prying eyes, at least until the trees lose their foliage.