I started the group out by letting them fire a few rounds to get back into the swing of things and then got them on doing Ball & Dummy Exercises. For those of you who don't know what Ball & Dummy exercises are, or have never done them yourself, they really work wonders to improve your shooting, and the results are immediate. Basically you have someone else load your magazine with live and inert (dummy) rounds staggered throughout the magazine. When the shooter pulls the trigger on a dummy round the shooter will actually get to see and feel if they flinch or have poor trigger control. Until some shooters see this for themselves, you can tell them until your blue in the face what they're doing wrong but it may not sink in.
Within three or four magazines this particular shooter was shooting one jagged hole in the 10 and X-ring at regulation Off-duty match distances. The improvement was rapid and remarkable. These drills also made the entire group focus on weapon malfunction clearance skills (Tap-Rack-Assess). If you doubt that these drills work, try them for yourselves.
We then started working with the Remington 870 Tactical shotgun. Since we were being pressed by others for use of the range, I had to have this group fire the NRA Law Enforcement Instructor's Shotgun Qualification course cold. I had drilled them on the operation of the Remington 870 in my classroom for a couple of hours with dummy rounds. This was a couple days prior to our outing in
, so this was all the training they basically got on the shotgun. I wanted them to warm up shooting some drills with light Trap loads but no such luck. On the first attempt all three passed the Rifled Slug course with a 100% score. When I took the LE Instructor course back in June, several LEO’s failed the course on their first attempt, and one instructor candidate quit without even trying to qualify. Sad really, considering that two of my group in Kankakee were women who had never fired a Tactical shotgun or Rifled Slugs before. Kankakee
By the way, the Hogue Over-molded shotgun stocks with 12" LOP work great for students of smaller stature, and for shooters wearing body armor, of which we had both.
We then worked on the AR-15 rifle. Again, these shooters were drilled in my classroom for about an hour on the nomenclature and operation this great rifle. The range wasn't conducive to tactical shooting so we had to fire from a bench without support. Even though all three shooters were new to the AR-15 they all fired fairly tight groups at 50 yards. One was routinely making head shots. For a powerful, high-capacity rifle, the AR-15 is a joy to shoot, especially for new shooters.
The entire group did exceeding well and everyone present enjoyed themselves. We were all ecstatic with their performance.
The point of this story is that Dry Drills do work wonders! You don't need to fire live rounds to become a proficient weapon handler, especially at first. On the contrary, I believe new shooters need to learn how to operate whatever firearm platform they are intending to use, dry with dummy rounds long before they ever step foot on a range to fire live ammo. Dry practice will give them the confidence required to operate the firearm safely, efficiently and exceed as marksman and top-notch gun handlers.
At least that's my opinion.