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Ball-and-Dummy Drill


Texas Pistol and Rifle Academy
Stoney’s blog 09/26/2011

One of the biggest problems that I see most shooters face is “jerking the trigger.”  Inevitably, every shooter that I have ever worked with has faced this problem at some point in their shooting career. Usually, this problem occurs early on with a new shooter but, if you haven’t been to the range for a while, this problem can happen even to the best of us. If you are looking for a drill to specifically address this problem, try the “ball-and-dummy” Drill.

Here are the specifics:

Teaches: flinch control and follow through during live fire.
Requires: 1 dummy round and works best with shooting partner, but can be done alone.

Principle: If the hammer falls on an empty chamber during slow-fire shooting, your gun shouldn’t “flinch” or “move” when the trigger is depressed. The sights should stay aligned and on target, and the eye still clearly focused on the front sight.

If the gun does dip (flinch or jump), you’re anticipating the recoil.

Procedure: Have your shooting partner load your magazine for you, mixing live rounds with dummy rounds, or for a revolver, leave one or more chambers empty.  Have your partner take up a position behind you to watch and coach you. Take aim on the target and attempt to fire the weapon. When you fire the gun, concentrate on keeping the gun steady, sights on target, no matter what happens. When the trigger is engaged on the dummy round or empty chamber, you and your partner will visually see if you flinched or jerked the trigger in anticipation of the gun firing.

The gun won’t budge or flinch if you are doing the drill correctly. If you’re not doing well, keep up with the drill until you are. Keep your sights aligned and on target while you release the trigger just enough to reengage the sear.

If you do not have a shooting partner, you can do this yourself by loading several magazines and mixing them up, or loading a magazine with your eyes closed, or rotating the cylinder with your eyes shut before closing it.

Also known as: cap-and-ball drill, dummy round drill.

“Shooting makes better people, period.”

Phil Stone
Tactical Instructor
Texas Pistol and Rifle Academy