Dry Practice, Marine Style

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From John Tate

You think “dry fire” practice is new?  Consider this quote about USMC rifle training circa 1950:

“The first week on the range was devoted firing with no ammunition while aiming at large black dots painted on white wooden posts. The second week recruits fired both the .22-caliber and M1 rifles, and worked pulling targets in the rifle range pits.”


Myth of Competition Training Scars


The false claim that competition shooting somehow induces bad habits or training scars for defensive or other uses is popular. It is based on imagined problems and continues because too many people prefer to repeat nonsense without ever bothering to research or participate and learn first hand.

Here is an example how this myth propagates.

Full Auto Fire Demonstration


This is a demonstration of control of fully automatic weapon fired in overly-long bursts to illustrate control.

George Harris of International Firearms Consultants LLC (http://ifcllc.us) shot the AR-10 and Thompson. The AR-10 was shot with a continuous burst of 20 rounds of 7.62 M-80 Ball. It was a beast to control but was controllable. Harris could put all 20 on a 12″ plate at 25 yards without much trouble.

The other demonstrations are of Jeff Brennan shooting an AK, CZ and RPD running wide open.

The point is, if you know what you are doing, (taught by a trainer that knows and can demonstrate how to shoot full auto) it’s really a piece of cake.

Real world practicality is that you had better have a lot of loaded magazines and several guns available if you are going to do a lot of it. This isn’t a practical approach to effective fully automatic fire, just a demonstration of the control that is possible.

More here:


Ammo Count for Competition Shooters


It’s amazing the silly assumptions people unfamiliar with competitive shooting will make. Ammunition expenditure needed to see improvement in competition shooting is an example. People not involved seem to assume competitive shooters fire hundreds of thousands of rounds each year and any amount less than that means you can’t compete.

Here’s an example:


Full Auto Fire Rises Durring a Burst – NOT


I’ve had way too many troops in class claim that all full auto fire is doomed to climb excessively. With good technique, this is not true. Here are some random examples.

Skip to 0:49. A slow motion demo is at 1:26

Long, hand held bursts aren’t particularly useful, but further illustrates the point.

Another demo here:


Best Approach

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Bob Kolesar, a high level competitive shooter, seasoned gun fighter in law enforcement and military environments, LAPD and US Army veteran with decades of experience, penned this treatise on his preferred approach to training:



Winning Mindset


Mindset gets bantered about a bit in the tactical community. While you’ll never truly know how your resolve will unfold until faced with the actual challenge or threat, there is an easy way to build a winning mindset now.

The best way to develop a winning mindset is to do challenging things and try to win at something.

Here is a great video about someone with outstanding mindset. Despite being shot seven times with a .45 at close range, Officer Jared Reston still managed to respond with controlled, aimed fire as he had trained and ultimately put his assailant down.

Notice he didn’t fall victim to the things various self-described tactical cognoscenti (many whom haven’t won anything worth mentioning or been in a serious fight) claim always happens. Despite multiple life-threatening injuries Officer Reston responded to the level of his training and did the things necessary to get good hits and win his fight.

Officer Reston also conducts classes via his Reston Group Not surprisingly, the Reston Group establishes and enforces measurable performance standards for students.


Mindset is not a catchphrase. It is developed by training to a high, measurable standard and attempting to succeed under challenging conditions.

The best way to develop a winning mindset is to do challenging things and try to win at something.

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