Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) Series- Follow Through and Dry Fire Practice

What could possibly be more important than all that super exciting stuff we just covered on the different shooting positions you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya…

Follow Through– Just as important to building a solid shooting position is the “Follow Through”. If you have done everything else correct then the follow through is just a natural conclusion to the trigger pull. This is the act of staying relaxed through out the recoil of the rifle and your body absorbing it. You do not release the trigger until your sights have settled back on your target. You will know a perfect shooting position if your follow through lands your sights directly back to the sight picture you had just prior the trigger pull.

A method to practice your Follow Through is that after your sights have landed back on target, maintain that sight picture for a full breath and just as deliberately as you pulled the trigger, you release the trigger listening and feeling for the reset point. As soon as you feel the trigger reset you stop. You do not slack your trigger finger anymore then it took to reset the trigger. You make resetting the trigger just as deliberate as the initial trigger pull.

It’s up to the shooter to apply the basic fundamentals and the best way to do so is with dry fire practice.

Dry Fire

Dry Fire or Dry Practice as some would like the term changed to is just what it sounds like. An EMPTY gun with no ammunition anywhere around, that you practice all the aspects of the fundamentals with. How do you know it’s EMPTY? Because you clear your rifle and check for an EMPTY chamber. You are NOT looking for brass in your chamber. You are visually looking for an EMPTY chamber and preforming a physical check with your fingers to ensure the chamber is EMPTY, if you can fit a finger in there. If you can’t, that’s ok.

Lets quickly go over clearing your AR15.
Can you tell if this AR15 is Empty? Clear? Safe?

Remove Magazine, keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.

What was that again? Remove Magazine and clear the chamber, keeping your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.

Come again? Remove the magazine, pull the charging handle to the rear, lock to rear if so desired, visually check for an empty chamber. Keeping your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.

You are looking for an EMPTY chamber. You are NOT looking for brass. Do not condition yourself to look for brass.

Is your chamber EMPTY? If yes then it is clear and safe, keep your magazine out of it and ensure no live ammunition is near.

I hope you understand my emphasis on an EMPTY and CLEAR chamber. Never become complacent when it comes to the status of your firearms. Don’t shoot yourself or anyone else because you “Thought” your firearm was empty. There is absolutely no excuse for a negligent discharge. EVER.

Now that your AR15 is EMPTY, CLEAR and SAFE, lets continue.

Initially, you should only work on the BRM fundamentals discussed throughout this series. Sight Alignment, Sight Picture, Breathing, Trigger Control and all the aspects of the positions.

Some general methods are to place a blank piece of paper on the wall to aim at. This will help you focus on the front sight post and hone what proper Sight Alignment looks like. Maintain proper spacing of the front sight post in relation to the rear peep sight. As you work on the positions, your breathing and trigger pull you are ensuring that your Sight Alignment is not changing. If it is you stop, identify why it’s changing and correct it and start over.

Remember, we are practicing for the perfect shot so we must ensure we perfect our practice. What’s that saying? “Only perfect practice make perfect”.

Once you have gotten your Sight Alignment correct and you are comfortable with it, you can add a target. Now you can work on your Sight Picture in similar fashion.

After you have worked on the basics you can start to work on ”Snapping In”. This is merely taking your rifle from the low ready or start position and bringing the rifle up to your shoulder and “Snapping In” and acquiring a Sight Picture.

But wait, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Am I going to hurt my precocious new AR15!?!”


You will be fine “Dry Fire/Practicing” on an EMPTY chamber. If you have any worries consult your owners manual or call the manufacture. But everybody likes peace of mind so here are some accessories to help with that.

Friendsville Precision Dry Fire Device. With this you will have to remove the BCG and drop it in through the top. It allows you to stay in position and reset the trigger without having to pull back on the charging handle for each reset.




A-Zoom Snap Caps are machined aluminum dummy rounds. Great for all kinds of different applications. From Dry Practice to “Ball and Dummy” drills, reload drills etc etc. With these you merely load in a magazine and chamber. You will have to pull the charging handle back to reset the trigger each time.


With any of these you can and should always practice your Follow Through. Remember, your Follow Through is taking all the same steps you take in pulling the trigger and doing them in a reverse order to reset the trigger. Make it a deliberate step.

Is this the end? Nope, not even close. You’ve only just begun to scratch the surface but now we have enough of a foundation to get started on the fun stuff.

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