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Training Tuesday: ‘Focusing on the Basics Until you are a Master:’ Dry-Fire

“We don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan”

-Denzel Washington

For Training Tuesday, we will be reinforcing that we must incorporate dry-fire into our training plan. Leaders in the Army need to realize we have to make weapons mastery a priority in ALL units in the United States Army. This is important for 3 reasons: 1. All Soldiers, regardless of MOS, are tasked with winning the nation’s wars. This means at some point, they may have to use that assigned weapon to engage the enemy. 2. Weapons mastery is a perishable skill, just like PT is. If you don’t put in the repetitions, you won’t get the results needed to be proficient with the weapon… PERIOD. And that leads us to 3. The only way to win wars is to be able to engage an enemy threat with the weapon in your hands, with fires that either fixes them so that maneuvering forces can then finish the job, or your fires take care of it for them.

We all agree that range time is precious and sporadic. So how do we maintain proficiency with weapons? Dry-fire. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, 41-year-old Hoang Xuan Vihn of Vietnam won gold on the final shot of men’s 10-meter air pistol. This is impressive, considering that he was limited to less ammunition in a week than his competition would shoot in a day. How did he win the gold? Dry-fire and visualization.

To put this into perspective, Hoang beat competitors from across the world. He beat competitors from the United States, who have ready access to ammunition and can train with live rounds whenever and however they want.

Not having the limitations that Hoang has at shooting, what is our excuse for not using one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to improve our skill, and get above the mediocrity of training to the qualification rather than training to the standard? Simply put, there is none.

Dry-fire must be incorporated into PT circuits. Dry-fire must be incorporated into waiting for the armorer to return to turn in weapons during maintenance days. Dry-fire must be incorporated into ruck march days. Dry-fire must be incorporated into waiting at manifest for a jump. Dry-fire must be incorporated into any situation you have access to your weapon and time. Our Paratroopers have to put their assigned weapon at least once a week to conduct dry-fire. Leaders need to plan for it to happen… or it will not take place.

These are just a few recommendations on how to incorporate dry-fire preparations for qualification into your calendar. Check our past posts here https://primaryandsecondary.com/training-methodology-for-dry-fire-in-a-unit/ and here https://primaryandsecondary.com/how-to-implement-dry-fire-for-large-groups/ here for other ideas. Doing this will make Soldiers actually want to pick up their weapon, pick up a TC and learn something. And dare I say it, it is fun.

If you want an ‘advanced’ skillset for dry-fire, look at the incorporation of a system like MantisX. It gives Soldiers a metric to train to, and an element of competition. Soldiers will want to do it more often for both those reasons.

There is no excuse for not doing dry-fire. It is only a priority if we make it a priority. If it seems I am giving a sermon repeatedly on this topic, its because I believe in the value it provides, and I won’t stop talking about it until units actually start doing it.

#weaponsmastery #dothereps #NCObusiness

Raymond Miller
82nd Airborne Division Small Arms Master Gunner: primary weapons trainer, force modernization for individual weapons, and range liason for the 82nd.

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