For those who carry a concealed gun or have ventured into the world of defensive shooting, dedicating training time to become as proficient as possible with your gear is mandatory. I use all kinds of drills, depending on the skill set I’m working on, but two of the best and most efficient are dry practice and the dot torture.

Dry Run

Dry practice is a training tool I use with all types of firearms. It costs nothing but time and can be done almost anywhere. Dry practice allows you to work on sight alignment, trigger control, draws from concealment, and reloading—with dummy ammo only.

Dry practice has some hard and fast rules: All live ammo must be removed from the training area—no exceptions. The “target” should be something you’d be willing to shoot and destroy in the case of an accident. I prop an old bulletproof vest against the fireplace.

The number of reps you do is up to you. Don’t forget to practice with your non-dominant hand. The last thing I do when I’m done with my dry practice is to say out loud, “No more dry practice.” I then reload and holster the gun.

Shooting Dots

Dot torture is another drill I like because it covers a lot of the fundamentals for running a handgun for defensive purposes with a set number of shots.

The target has 10 dots. They’re arranged in three rows of three, with a single dot at the top. The drills become progressively more difficult as you move through the numbers.

The Dot Torture Challenge
Make the most of your time on the range with this prescribed target-shooting challenge.author photo

Here’s the course of fire:

No. 1: Five shots, slow fire.

No. 2: Draw from holster and shoot once. Repeat for total of five reps.

Nos. 3 & 4: Draw, place one shot on 3, one shot on 4. Five reps.

No. 5: Draw, fire five shots with strong hand.

Nos. 6 & 7: Draw, shoot 6 twice, then shoot 7 twice. Four reps.

No. 8: Starting from the low-ready position, shoot five shots with weak hand.

Nos. 9 & 10: Draw, fire one shot on 9, speed reload, then shoot one shot on 10. Three reps.

There are plenty of different-size dot targets available, and you can vary your distance from the target to increase the level of difficulty. I use a timer so I can push myself faster while maintaining accurate fire.