If you’re anything like me, then the great ammo shortage of 2020 has been putting a significant damper on your range time. I have a healthy stash set aside, for sure, but the general turmoil I’m seeing out there makes me reluctant to start using it until there’s a ready replacement. So what do we do?
Perhaps not surprisingly, my answer is to take more advantage of dry practice. It’s a valuable tool in the box for working on fundamentals, and it’s pretty much free.
I recently received a message on my Instagram account asking if I had any leads on scaled targets for dry practice at 10 feet or so. That led me on a goose chase to find something, only to come up short. I was on the verge of putting something together myself until site supporter Pete dug something up from the Appleseed forums.
The Appleseed AQT 10′ Scaled Target
Full credit to the Appleseed Project guys for this one. You can download the full target here.
If you’ve ever attended an Appleseed event, then these targets should look very familiar to you, as it’s the same silhouettes and target shapes you see during the course, except scaled for 10 feet instead of 25 yards.
So how do you put this to use?
Well, the first part obvious, print it out and tape it to a wall about 10 feet away. Make sure your rifle is clear of ammo and practice your positional shooting by aiming at the progressively smaller silhouettes. If you have something like the MantisX available to you, then even better. But there’s more to a good dry practice session than the marksmanship fundamental drills.
A Complete Dry Practice Routine
Dry practice sessions don’t need to consume a lot of your time. In fact, you can build a great skill base in only 10 minutes per day of focused training. I suggest spending each training session on a different set of skills. A simple rotation might look something like this:
- Marksmanship Fundamentals 1: Use the target from above and spend your session practicing stable shooting from Standing, Kneeling, and Squatting
- Marksmanship Fundamentals 2: Use the same target, but now practice each of the Sitting Positions as well as Prone
- Administrative Handling: Practice loading, unloading, tactical reload, and emergency reload
- Malfunctions: Practice each of the three major AR-15 malfunction clearance methods
- Ready-Ups: Practice target acquisition from a low ready position, spend time facing the target, turned to each side, as well as away. Work on quickly getting into stable shooting positions from standing, all the way up to achieving a reasonable natural point of aim
- On the Move: Practice combinations of the above while moving forward, backward, laterally, or moving between shooting positions
Since this is a long-term dry practice plan in which you’ll run through many cycles, don’t feel pressure to work on “everything” in a single session. If you’re on the malfunctions day, for example, perhaps just spend 10 minutes focusing only on a single method, and then use the next cycle to practice another. This is the difference between building solid muscle memory and keeping a simple maintenance routine.
Wrapping Up, It’s Not Just for Rifles
While this routine is geared towards rifles, there’s no reason at all that you can’t apply it towards pistols as well. Keep the same schedule, but add a day for drawing & presenting.
That’s it, now the hard part is actually committing to putting this routine into practice.