Two Dry Fire Drills from Mike Ox

Dry fire training is essential to keep your shooting skills sharp, especially when you can’t get to a range as often as you’d like. Unfortunately, though, some dry fire drills are really boring. That’s why I contacted my friend, Mike Ox, for two dry fire drills to keep me actively training during these cold winter months. 

Sponsored by Springfield Armory

Mike Ox is an instructor for NRA, Rangemaster, and UTM Level 2 Mil/LE, certified as a Force Science Institute Analyst for human performance factors in lethal force encounters. He is the creator of “Dry Fire Training Cards,” “21 Day Alpha Shooter” and several other courses. His focus on neurology and accelerated learning separate him from other trainers. He studied neurology through the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative and other top-performance neurology programs. Mike’s brain-based firearms training allows shooters to experience changes in performance (often in seconds or minutes) that would take weeks or months using traditional firearms training methods.

Mike Ox instructing at AG&AG National Conference
Mike Ox instructing at AG&AG National Conference

Mike shared two dry fire drills with me that I know you will find interesting as well as beneficial to your firearms training journey. 

Apps for training

First, download the “SwitchedOn” app or a “Twist Spinner” app on your tablet or phone. Whichever app you use, set it up so you have red, yellow, green and blue as possible colors. Set the display time to three seconds and the delay to ten seconds.

I used the SwitchedOn app’s free version. It took me a little while to figure it out, so I wanted to save you some time and break it down into steps. The following information will help you set up your account and create the stimulus for the drills.

making drill

1. Create your account. I chose “coach/trainer” for my title and other for “primary” sport. 

2. From your account screen, select the + sign. Then, select “create drill.”

Choosing stimilus for drill

3. Select the colors suggested above. Then hit the “next” button.

Time for drill on app

4. Choose your length of time and delay time, as suggested above. Then hit the “next” button.

Selecting duration for drill

5. Decide if you want to complete a certain number of rounds or select the “unlimited” box. Then hit “preview drill”. 

Training drill for Mike OX on app

6. Now, your app is ready. You can even name it and save it to your favorites.

Mike Ox’s Dry Fire Drills

Set your phone (or tablet) in front of the PopUp target with one of the silhouette targets visible. Mike suggests placing it on the left side of the target as you’re facing it – about where the target’s right hand would be if it were holding a weapon.

Use an unloaded gun (or SIRT pistol). Confirm by removing the magazine, lock the slide to the rear, visually and physically verify the firearm is unloaded. Make sure there is no ammunition in the room. 

Drill #1

Begin with your unloaded pistol holstered. 

When red appears, shoot center mass. When the light goes out, reholster.

When green appears, do nothing.

When yellow appears, draw to low or high-ready. Stay at low or high-ready when the light goes out.

Mike Ox drill 1
Michelle practiced using her Springfield Armory Hellcat

When blue appears, make a head shot. When the light goes out, reholster.

If the ten-second delay is too long, you can shorten it. However, you want to take your time with the reholster, and a long delay helps create a little surprise.

Drill #2

Use red, yellow, green and blue again. Set the display time to two seconds and the delay time to .2 or .3-seconds if you can do multiple reps without racking the slide and five seconds if you need to rack the slide.

Place your phone (or tablet) in front of the PopUp target so that the side with the colored circles faces you. Set it off to the side a bit so that your hands/arm/gun don’t block it when you’re doing dry fire reps.

Start at low or high-ready.

The color that shows up on the phone is the color you should shoot. 

Mike Ox Drill 2
Michelle working through drill #2 with her Springfield Armory Hellcat.

You can try shooting the big circle as many times as you can, the small one as many times as you can or a combination of both in the two seconds. It’s OK to do dry fire reps on a “dead” trigger that doesn’t “click.”

You can adjust the display time if you need more or less time. Pay attention to how many shots you fire AFTER the light goes out. This number will drop over time.

Why do these drills?

Mike explained the benefit of practicing these two dry fire drills: “Most training that we do involves shooting a static target based on audible commands. In the real world, we are shooting targets that change back and forth between non-threat and threat. We have to decide to shoot or stop shooting based on what we see.

“In the first drill, with drawing to low-ready, statistics tell us that a clean, confident presentation of a firearm stops attacks without needing to shoot 82 percent of the time. Drawing to low or high-ready is a skill we should practice.

“In the second drill, we want to be able to make effective hits while assessing the target with our peripheral vision so that we stop shooting when the threat is no longer a threat.” 

As you can see, these at-home drills are a low-cost way to make dry fire more fun. They also help bridge the gap between shooting a target that doesn’t change threat level and reality-based training (real-world self-defense) by tying visual decision making to the act of shooting quickly and accurately.

Learn more about Springfield Armory’s Hellcat here

Here are some of the dry fire training products Mike Ox offers:

The PopUp targets:

Mike’s Book:

Free Online Training Workshop:

Learn more about Springfield Armory’s Hellcat here.

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, first entered the firearms industry in 2011 as co-owner, president and trainer at a national training company. She immediately began competing in both 3-Gun and NRA Action Pistol, becoming a sponsored shooter. Michelle is currently a columnist and Managing Editor of Women’s Outdoor News, as well as owner of Pervenio LLC. She also manages social media for Vera Koo and FASTER Saves Lives. Michelle encourages others to step out of the comforts of home and explore.


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