How important is dry firing to you and could you explain what's most useful about it? Would you mind giving examples of dry fire routines that you used to help improve your skills? Also could you educate me on the risk to the internals of the 1911 due to dry firing?
Dry firing is only important if you want to achieve excellence.
It is the perfect opportunity to self coach and self critique.
We should not pay lip service to this necessary component of training. It should be done with cognitive thinking. You need to be able to sustain attention and stay on task. Do not simply go through the motion.
Contrary to popular belief, muscles do not have memory (unless you are talking about recovering from atrophied muscles). Only our brains have memory.
There are certain facets of gun handling that need to be performed intuitively or at a subconscious level. Dry fire performed correctly will build on developing a working memory and a long term memory depending on the correct repetitions performed.
Once we have these skills, through dry fire, etched in our command center's hard drive, we can access this information when necessary and perform these tasks, grip, site alignment, trigger control, etc, at a near subconscious level.
Second question. Yesterday I dry fired for thirty minutes in ten minute segments. I did this with my M9 since I've got some mil courses coming up. The ten minute drills escalated from single shot out of the holster to single shot, mag change, single shot, with multiple sight pictures.
Now, because I was not paying lip service to the drill, I demanded that I maintain accountability. Perfect sight picture every time, near perfect trigger squeeze, perform a focal shift when necessary.
In addition, every shot, since it was an M9, was double action. Why not? After all, it is the bane of the pistol, and first shot out of the holster. This first shot is the most important shot because it sets the tempo for the gunfight. Hell, it might end the gunfight.
To answer number three, I've been dry firing a 1911 for about twenty years without worrying about damaging internals. A gunsmith might advise otherwise, but I doubt it.
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