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Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you print out this page and read it through carefully.  

The two most frequently asked questions

You mean all it does is ... ?

Heard at the local shooting ground from a visitor who knows nothing about clay shooting:

"You mean all it does is throw a colored disk into the air and you shoot at it? That sounds easy."

As we all know, it is easy! (Cough, splutter!)

We often get the same thing said about DryFire:

"You mean all it does is move a spot of laser light across a wall and you shoot at it? That sounds easy."

Yes, that's all it does - move a spot of red laser light across the wall in front of you and you shoot at it.

The trouble is, that spot of laser light is following exactly the same angular path as a clay fired from a trap and it is moving at exactly the same angular speed. You have to do exactly the same things you would do on the stand to hit it: take up position, wind back, look back toward the trap, acquire the target, mount, swing, allow for lead, fire and follow through.

To hit a target generated by DryFire, your routine and body movements have to be exactly the same as when shooting at a real clay - if you get it wrong with DryFire you will miss - just as you would miss a real clay. That's what makes it such a powerful training aid.

Of course it's easy - to someone who has never done it!

How do I know it will work?

Simple. Try this now:

  • Pick up your shotgun
  • Stand facing the middle of a wall and about 6 ft back from it
  • Close your eyes. Imagine your are on Skeet Stand 4.
  • Mount your shotgun
  • Swing to the left where the high house trap would be
  • Open your eyes and note where you are looking
  • Close your eyes again and swing to your right as if following a high house clay
  • Open your eyes and note where you are looking

You have just followed a very wide crosser from the trap to the ground - you have probably gone from the left hand side of the wall to the right hand side.

That's exactly what DryFire does. For Stand 4 High House skeet it puts a moving target spot on the wall that follows exactly the path you have just followed and at exactly the same speed as a real clay. That's why it is so good for practicing and for building up muscle memory.

What exactly do I need to use the system at home?

If you have a suitable PC, your shotgun and a suitable room, our recommendation is the Home Pack (simulator, gun assembly, power supply, cables, software) - everything ready to roll.

Questions so far

If you have a question which is not answered here please drop us an email and we will answer it by return.

Click on the question to see our answer.
 

How EXACTLY do you use the system?

Take a look at the "glass wall" page for an illustration of how the system works.

  • Put the simulator on a table, or, even better, on a camera tripod, and point it at your wall.
  • Connect the simulator to a PC
  • Attach the trigger switch and pop the muzzle insert down either barrel. Both are light-weight plastic and will not damage your gun.
  • Load the software.
  • Your first shot will be for calibration to check the alignment of the muzzle insert in your barrel.
  • Click on "Configure" to tell DryFire where you have set up the simulator
  • Enter your gun/cartridge/weather details - this needs to be done only when you first use the system or when you change your configuration - perhaps using different chokes or a different cartridge. On your PC you can store settings for different shooters or different settings for you using different gun/cartridge/weather combinations.
  • Use the PC to select the discipline ("English Skeet", "FITASC" etc.) and/or target ("Station 4 high", "Rabbit" etc.) you want.
  • Stand behind the simulator and take up position ready to take the shot directly in front of you - i.e. within your "comfort zone". Wind back towards the "trap" position.
  • Call "Pull". (If you are using a PC you can view the path of the target on the screen before it is released by the simulator.)
  • The target will be "released" and you must see it, swing, fire and follow through as for a normal clay.
  • The simulator will tell you if you had a hit or miss - if you are using a PC you will see where the cloud of shot from the cartridge went in relation to the clay. Of course, you will have to allow for lead and elevation just as with a real clay. The system will provide detailed hit or miss information along with advice about improving your technique.
  • Take up position, call "Pull" and you will get the same target again (if you selected an individual target) or you will get the next target in the sequence (if you selected a discipline).
  • Keep going as long as you have the energy and as long as you can maintain concentration.

Warning

DryFire shooting is addictive - just like real clay shooting. Because you can keep going as long as you like (with no extra ammunition or range-fee costs) you will soon tire yourself out. It is best to pace yourself - take a few seconds between shots, lower your gun regularly and take a break after each round. As soon as your attention starts to wander, stop - take a break, have a coffee, read the paper, walk around, come back later. Doing this will enable you to maintain concentration and get the maximum benefit from your DryFire practice.

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Do I need a PC? If so, what sort?

Yes - you must have a PC because:

  • The PC controls the simulator to generate the targets and to see where you fire.
  • The PC shows you exactly where you fired in relation to the target.
  • The PC allows you to access this site for the latest news and software.
  • The PC allows you to contact us for support via email.

Please check the PC specification page for full details on the type of PC required to run DryFire.

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What's the downside?

Nothing is ever as good as it claims so what are the weaknesses of DryFire - warts and all?

You should check the What is DryFire? page for details on what DryFire can do and what it cannot do.

No recoil

There is no recoil when you press the trigger with DryFire. You hear the "bang" on your PC speaker, and you can turn that up as loud as you wish, but you get no recoil.

Recoil can bring about its own problems - flinch (the anticipation of recoil) being the main one. Watch a shooter the very first time he uses DryFire and 9 times out of 10 you will see him move slightly backwards when he presses the trigger - he is anticipating the recoil and it shows that many more people suffer from flinch than realize it.

We do not claim that DryFire is a cure for flinch but it does do two things:

  1. It identifies if you do flinch when pressing the trigger.
  2. It allows you to practice with no recoil until there is absolutely no movement of your shoulder when you press the trigger.

Two dimensional targets

DryFire targets are accurate - they fly at the same speed and angles as clays on the range. Because DryFire displays the target on a two dimensional surface (a wall) you don't get the same impression of distance as you do on the range.

Take a look at the answer to Is the simulator exactly the same as the real thing? to see what we have done to overcome this.

Motor backlash

DryFire uses low-cost servo motors (the sort used in model aircraft) to drive the target laser and camera. These motors have a finite life and they are designed to be replaced when eventually they wear out. They are available world-wide from model shops and they are available from DryFire as low-cost spares.

All types of motor suffer from backlash - the movement in the gear-train as it changes from one direction to another. DryFire targets therefore jerk very slightly when the target changes direction - for example, when an upward moving target reaches the top of its flight and begins to fall to the ground.

This effect is minimal with fast targets that have a large amount of angular movement - such as sporting crossers or targets on skeet station 4. The effect is slightly more on going away targets which rise very little and which have very little movement across the shooter's angle of view - trap shots for example.

We could have used other types of motors (direct DC motors with position feedback via encoders, or stepper motors) but they have two major drawbacks that ruled them out:

  1. They are very heavy
  2. They are very expensive

Such motors would be of marginal benefit and require more complex electronics, a more powerful power supply and a totally different way of mounting the camera and target laser. In all they would have almost doubled the retail price of the system. We did not feel that this was a good idea - we can live with a very slight jerk for all the benefits that DryFire brings.

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Who needs DryFire?

Newcomers to clay shooting.

DryFire is the ideal way to get a lot of practice when learning the skills of clay shooting. If you are sensible you will book a series of lessons with the club instructor then you need all the practice you can get. DryFire allows you to practice any time, anywhere; at home or at work and it helps you to develop the skills that will rapidly get you ready for competition shooting.

You've bought the gun, the jacket, the ear defenders, the safety glasses, the cap and the ammo, you've joined the club and had the lessons - now's the time to practice so that you can pulverize those clays!

Competition shooters.

Shooting under competition conditions is stressful - no matter how easy the guy standing next to you makes it look (that's just gamesmanship!) Competitions are not the place to practice - they are the place where you want to be 100% confident that your technique is perfect. Between competitions you need to build on your existing skills as you improve your average and move up through the classes. DryFire allows you to chose the time and place for practice and lets you shoot one round or fifty rounds without worrying about the weather or traveling to the club. You may want to try a new technique - follow through instead of maintained lead for example - DryFire allows you to give a new technique a fair chance without risking your competition scores.

Experts.

An expert is the first one to recognize that practice makes perfect. Without practice, skills begin to erode, muscle learning begins to decay and the mind begins to wander because the art of 100% concentration is lost. Experts know that beginners can quickly improve their skills because they are starting from a low base, but keeping high scores, and improving on them, is a serious problem. DryFire can provide you with better practice than the club because you will have to maintain a high level of concentration for a longer period of time. With DryFire in front of you, every time you call "Pull" you get a target. There is no moving between stands, no waiting for someone else on the squad to shoot - just 100% dedicated full-time practice. If you have the concentration skills to maintain high scores for half an hour with DryFire then you will have the skills to build your scores in competition.

Those who enjoy some fun.

DryFire provides serious training aids but they are also fantastic FUN!

Shooting grounds and clubs.

DryFire allows you to extend the services you offer to your members. It allows people to shoot at any time of the day, no matter what the weather outside and it is perfect for those corporate days where you want to give people some instruction and practice before they start shooting at real clays - 5 minutes with DryFire overcomes all initial problems and boosts initial scores - a certain way to get your corporate clients to return again and again. It can also provide you with an additional source of revenue - see the club page for more details!

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Do you shoot at the target - like using a rifle?

Absolutely not! No way! Never! Not in a month of Sundays!

Rifles shooters have it easy - they just point the rifle at the target and squeeze the trigger. This is said by an experienced small-bore/full-bore rifle shooter with apologies to all other rifle shooters - we do know it is a totally different skill in its own right but we hope you understand what we mean. Those who have shot competition prone small-bore or full-bore will know that one of the primary skills is muscle relaxation - absolutely no movement and no muscle twitches.

Clay shooting is not like that and we rarely aim directly at the target. Clay shooting is about accurate and smooth body movement and the key word is "lead". Aim at a crossing bird, squeeze the trigger and you will miss several feet or yards behind because the clay will have moved on by the time your shot arrives. The speed of the target, its distance away from you and its angle of flight determine how much lead you have to allow.

DryFire simulators take all this into consideration.

DryFire is NOT like laser shooting where a reflective clay is fired into the air and the shooter fires a beam of infra red light directly at it from a special gun. This system relies on reflection to detect hit or miss so you must aim directly at the target - great sport in itself but nothing to do with the hardest part of clay shooting - judging the right lead.

You could use DryFire simulators for pistol or rifle practice but you would need different software - in fact we are thinking of producing software to do this and any interested programmers should contact us.

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What variables does it take into consideration for targets and shots?

Targets

  • Starting point and height of clay
  • Landing point of clay
  • Intermediate height of clay (e.g.: 12 feet high at 10 yards from the trap)
  • Type of clay: standard, rabbit, rocket, battue etc.
  • Wind direction and speed
  • Orientation of clay: edge-on clays (crossers) are much harder to break than face-on clays (driven etc.)
  • The drag factor that will slow down the clay over distance (this will change with orientation during the flight)
  • The effect of gravity
  • Amount of energy required to break the clay (this will depend on the orientation of the clay to the shot string))

Shots

  • Barrel length
  • Chokes in each barrel
  • Muzzle velocity of the cartridge
  • Size of shot (pellets) in cartridges
  • Number of pellets in the cartridge
  • Amount of energy in each pellet as it leaves the muzzle
  • The drag factor that will slow down the pellets over distance
  • The effect of gravity
  • The amount of lead required - this will depend on the trajectory and speed of the clay
  • The position of the clay in relation to the center of the shot string at the time the shot string and clay are at their closest
  • Total number of pellets that strike the clay - depends on distance and distribution of pellets within the shot string
  • Amount of energy remaining in each pellet when it strikes the clay (distance dependent)

If the clay is within the shot string, and the total amount of energy remaining in the pellets that strike the clay exceeds the amount of energy required to break the clay, then the shot is recorded as a hit.

Note: at long distances it is quite possible for the clay to be within the shot string but to be struck by insufficient pellets to break it - especially for edge-on clays.

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How quickly does it cycle targets?

Interesting question. DryFire provides singles, simultaneous doubles and on-report doubles so in theory the cycle time is zero - simultaneous means that the simulator is processing data for two targets at the same time.

However, the question probably means "what is the time between calling 'Pull' for one target and then for the next?" The software allows you to fire two shots at a target (assuming two barrels or two cartridges in a semi-auto). It then sets up ready for the next target (or the same one again if that is what you have selected) and off you go again.

We do not recommend keeping your shotgun at the shoulder and just called "Pull" repetitively - that's not genuine practice and the gun will soon get very heavy! Lower your gun between targets and take your time before calling "Pull" again - that's far more realistic.

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How does the simulator work?

The simulator contains a safe, low-power light source generating a sharp beam of light which can be projected onto almost any surface a few feet or many yards away. Place the simulator on a table, or mount it on a photographic tripod, point it at a wall and stand behind it with your gun. You are ready to start.

The target laser is mounted on a mechanism that allows it to be directed at almost any position in front of you. The simulator is connected to a PC which controls all of its activities and, when you call "Pull", generates the sequence of movement instructions that makes the target spot move along exactly the same path, and at the same angular speed, as a clay thrown from a trap.

The muzzle-mounted laser is activated when you press the trigger and it sends out a pulse of invisible light from the barrel. The state-of-the-art image detection system built into the simulator detects the pulse generated when you shoot, does its calculation of lead required, and knows whether you had a hit or a miss. If you had a miss it knows by how much and in which direction so the simulator can use its own visible laser to show you the relative positions of the target and the shot. Even better, the PC can show you a "freeze frame" picture of the target and your shot.

The system automatically accounts for lead so you must aim at exactly the same angular position ahead as with a real clay - i.e. so far ahead for a crossing target or almost right at it for a going away or driven target.

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How big is the simulator??

The base is 6" x 6" x 4.25" (152mm x 152mm x 63.5mm). Underneath the base is a tripod bush which fits quite happily on top of a camera tripod.

You can see a picture of the system on the Home page.

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How do I get updated firmware, software and targets?

Software updates and target files may be downloaded from this web site at any time.

The simulator is designed so that its firmware can be updated directly from a PC. If DryFire releases a new version of the firmware it can be downloaded from this web site and programmed directly into the memory of the simulator using the normal RS232C serial cable.

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How much do you charge for updates?

Software updates are free of charge

Software and firmware updates, and new target files, are provided free of charge. As we improve the software we ship with the simulators we will make that same software available to our existing customers via our download page.

The small print

The only software we may charge for will be any not supplied as standard with our products. This may be specialized software written by DryFire or it may be software developed by third parties and sold under our Third Party Software Program. See the news page for press release on this or technical information on our programmers page.

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Can I design my own layouts?

YES!

We provide discipline files for a wide variety of layouts from skeet to trap to sporting. However, we do not claim to be the world's best course designers so we have provided an easy to use utility to enable you to design your own layouts. Course Designer, an optional program, can be used to generate your own layouts. You can get a copy of Course Designer from our download page.

Is it hard? Do I need to know a lot about computers?

No and No!

You can design a layout on graph paper using pen, pencils, crayons or felt tips to mark up where you want to place traps, stands, trees, fences and hills. Once the layout looks right you simply enter the various coordinates into a really simple program and DryFire does the rest - it generates the complete layout for you ready for immediate use and testing.

How long does it take?

You can have a simple layout (a few traps and stands) designed and in use within 10 minutes. You can spend longer if you want to add trees, woods, fences and hills to make it look pretty.

Take a look at our layouts page for more details on creating layouts and sharing them with other DryFire users around the world.

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Which pieces do I need?

The DryFire system contains everything you need.

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Do I need a special gun or do you provide a "toy" one?

DryFire simulators are serious training aids - they are not toys or games!

We have gone to every effort to ensure that shooting at a simulated target is exactly the same as shooting at a clay - that's why you use your own gun with our simulators - not some specially modified or "toy" gun.

A critical part of shotgun shooting is "gun fit". You will have selected your gun to suit you: left/right handed, barrel length, overall weight, sight line, auto or O/U - and you want practice with your gun - not a special one that is not balanced correctly or just does not feel right.

Our aim is to improve your scores. We want you to enjoy using the DryFire simulators using your own gun and then to take that same gun down to the range a shoot a real round of skeet, trap or sporting. We want you to see how your scores improve with practice.

We know that using our simulators is fun (lots of fun - and there is no harm in that!) but all the time you are having fun you are improving your skills and that will show up when you take your gun down to the range.

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Is the simulator exactly the same as the real thing?

No. There is no recoil.

DryFire provides a two dimensional representation of a target - it "flies" across the wall in front of you. On the range you have the advantage of three dimensions so that you can judge distance. DryFire helps here by providing you with a display on your PC screen to show you the targets in the setting of a shooting ground so that you know exactly where they are coming from, and going to, before you call "Pull".

You can also select audio feed-back so that a tone is produced depending on the distance and speed of the target - a going away target will start with a high tone and this will decrease as it gets further away - a bit like the "Doppler effect" in the sound a car or train coming towards you or going away from you.

Our field tests have shown that having the image of the stand on the PC screen, and seeing the target move across it, is sufficient to "set" the shooter ready for the target spot as it moves across the wall when he calls "Pull". The brain is excellent at retaining the image of the stand and using it to control the shotgun when shooting at the target spot.

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How accurate are the targets?

Very accurate. The path and speed of the target, the amount of lead you must allow, the moment when you first see the target, the moment it disappears (a rabbit between bushes for example), the moment it goes out of range, the effect of a strong wind blowing the target towards you or away from you - all these are programmed into the software.

DryFire works with angles - when standing on station 4 of a skeet range the angular distance from the high house to the low house is about 105 degrees. When you are standing behind your DryFire simulator the angular distance from the high house to the low house is about 105 degrees - you are standing fairly close to the wall the target is projected on so the movement from left to right, or right to left, requires EXACTLY the same swing as on the range.

The skills required to hit the moving spot of light are exactly the skills needed to pulverize clays on the range - that's what makes the DryFire simulators the perfect way to improve your clay shooting skills.

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Can it handle simultaneous doubles?

Yes. The simulator contains a single laser to generate the target spot representing the clay. When you select simultaneous doubles the simulator displays the first target and, when you fire, it immediately switches the laser to follow the path of the second target. So, if you are 1 second into the flight of the first target when you fire, DryFire will pick up from 1 second into the flight of the second. On Skeet station 4 your left-to-right high crosser will switch immediately to the right-to-left low crosser.

"On-report" doubles are obviously no problem - as soon as you fire at the first target DryFire will release the second.

When you have taken both shots (or failed to take both shots!) DryFire will show you the shot location for both targets.

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Is a laser dangerous?

Lasers are part of our every day lives - your CD player and PC laser printer both contain lasers. Looking directly at the bright midday sun is a very dangerous thing to do - don't do it unless you wish to risk blindness. The same rule applies to a light source - don't look directly in to it.

The DryFire simulators direct the beam of light in front of you for projection against a wall or building. The beam is switched on only while the target is moving - thus minimizing the time it is in any one position. The beam and the spot it projects on a wall are certainly not dangerous - you can safely put you hand in the way of the light beam.

The laser source used by DryFire simulators is very low power and is the same as that used by laser pointers so it meets all the requirements for the safety regulations defined for them.

The pulse of invisible light sent during shot detection is of such short duration (a few thousandths of a second), and such low power, that it creates no danger of eye or other damage.

Check out our safety page for more information.

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What size room do I need?

The simulator projects targets against a wall and you stand behind the simulator to shoot. You need a fairly flat wall - so take those flying ducks off the spare bedroom wall and off you go!

Click here to see details of the sort of room required to run DryFire

Small but obvious warning!

DryFire can simulate all targets, including tower shots to be taken directly above your head! Make sure that your room has enough space overhead for you to swing your barrel vertically - don't select the tower targets if your room is too low - otherwise you will be replacing the lights and ceiling plaster!

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Do I need a darkened room?

No and maybe.

DryFire works best in subdued light. This is because the pulse of invisible light fired from your gun barrel is in the infra-red part of the spectrum. Direct sunlight also contains infra-red so it is best to ensure that sunlight is not directly falling onto the wall you are using for target projection.

In most cases DryFire will work perfectly well during normal daylight though you may have to close the curtains (drapes, blinds) slightly to avoid direct sunlight.

When you start shooting DryFire goes through a calibration process and the simulator will "look" for sources of infra-red light and tell you where they are so that you can remove them or shield them. Once the simulator is happy that it can see the pulse from the gun barrel, and nothing else, it is ready to start releasing targets.

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Why doesn't to work outdoors or in a brightly lit room - like laser clays?

Sorry, but this has to be a little technical.

Laser clays

Laser clays involves using a special shotgun to shoot directly at special reflective clays. When you squeeze the trigger the shotgun sends out a powerful beam of invisible infrared light and this bounces off the reflective clay (assuming that you are aiming directly at it) and is picked up by a special receiver on the ground.

The beam of infrared light is "modulated" - this means that it is switched on and off several thousand time a second. The receiver picks up ALL infrared light, including that produced by the sun and by lights, but it ignores these until it sees some infrared light flashing on and off at the right frequency. It therefore knows when it has received a reflection from the special clay - therefore it knows that you have hit it. Each shotgun uses a different modulation frequency so the system can tell which shooter has hit the clay.

DryFire

DryFire also uses an infrared laser in your shotgun muzzle but it is of low power (for safety reasons) and it is not modulated. The reason for this is simple - with DryFire you do not have to aim directly at the target - you have to allow the same amount of angular lead as when shooting at a real clay. The camera in the DryFire simulator has to do two jobs:

  • Tell when you have fired
  • Tell where you have fired

There is an infrared filter over the camera so that it is only sensitive to infrared light and it will "see" a bright spot when you press the trigger. It uses the location of the spot to calculate whether or not you have a hit - taking into account the trajectory and speed of the clay, the muzzle velocity of your cartridge, the type of cartridge, your barrel length and the chokes in use.

Lead

Lead is critical in shotgun shooting and is the key feature that makes DryFire such a valuable training aid. Normal levels of domestic background lighting are fine with DryFire because the exposure level of the camera can be adjusted so that it does not respond to the levels of infrared light in the room. However, if direct sunlight is coming into the room, or spotlights are trained directly on to the wall being used for shooting, the camera will not be able to differentiate between those sources of infrared light and the reflection of the infrared laser when you press the trigger - the camera will be swamped with infrared light.

DryFire does not modulate the infrared laser because it is using a camera to detect exactly where you fired and a camera "sees" the world at about 30 frames a second - far slower than the frequency of modulated light. With laser clays the receiver does not care where the modulated signal comes from so it does not use a camera but a simple photo-sensitive device which just knows that somewhere in front of it, anywhere in front of it, is a source of modulated infrared light.

Swings and leads

Laser clays can be used outdoors but requires that you shoot directly at the clay with no allowance for lead. DryFire requires exactly the same angular lead as on the shooting station and it provides very detailed feedback as to exactly where you fired and where your shot string is in relation to the clay. The downside is that it must be used in a normal domestic environment with normal domestic levels of background lighting - no direct sunlight or spotlights.

Marketing problem

Unfortunately the very accuracy of DryFire creates a marketing problem for us and our dealers. Most major shooting competitions and competitions have trade stands where exhibitors display their goods in tents outdoors. On a bright day this makes it impossible to demonstrate DryFire because the levels of infrared light coming through the tent fabric are much to high for the system to work.

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Does it work with a release ("set") trigger?

Yes. See the News page for more details.

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Does it work with American Trap targets?

The question is, "do the targets change angles randomly or do you program each shot for a change? I.e. hard right from station 5 is thrown until you change the program to throw a straight a way station 5, or does it change angles after each shot from station 5?"

It does what the rule book says! (And what Trap shooters in the USA have said when they helped us develop the layout!)

Rule K: "A trap machine which throws targets at an unknown angle shall be used."

In our implementation the trap changes angle (within the limits permitted) after each shot you take. If you do not fire it counts as a "No bird" and you can shoot at the same angle again.

For doubles it is different - the trap angles are fixed (Rule N). Our system has one target spot so for doubles it shows the first clay until you hit it then it carries on with the flight of the second. In the case of ATA Trap Doubles it releases the right bird first for posts 1-3 and the left bird first for posts 4-5. This seems to be the way that most ATA shooters take the clays.

DryFire is infinitely flexible - if someone wants a layout which works in a slightly different way (like locking the angles until you press a screen button or something) then we could make a layout that did that in a future release of the software. (That's not an excuse to get carried away - it is just a possibility!)

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Does it handle Browning B425, Kolar, and Krieghoff shotguns?

You use your own gun with DryFire so the weight and swingability are exactly the same as normal. The manufacturer of the gun does not matter to the software - it is worth remembering the George Digweed using a $500 Baikal would knock spots off most (all?) of us even if we were using $10,000 Krieghoffs! Things that are vitally important for our calculations are the chokes in each barrel and the barrel length.

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Does it handle American shotgun shells?

This question broke down into two parts:

  • Can you define a shot shell performance i.e. velocity, hardness of shot (such as trap, or tungsten, or hevishot for waterfowlers), amount of shot?
  • How about a Ruger Red Label 28 gauge configuration for my son, could this be modeled?

We supply a sample set of cartridge data and you can add as many more as you wish. Normally you specify the cartridge by weight (1 oz. for example), shot size (7.5 for example) and muzzle velocity. If you want to get very technical you can set the percentage of the pellet energy available to break the clay - the lower the percentage, the softer the pellet. We treat clays in a similar way - the amount of energy required to break the clay at a specific angle towards you - it takes more energy to break an edge-on clay than to break a face-on one for example.

Our 12/20 gauge muzzle insert is made of soft nylon so that it cannot damage chokes or bores and it can be squeezed down in size. We may add more muzzle insert sizes in the future depending on demand.

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Where's the hold point and what about target speed?

Michael Hurst of Moline, Il, USA asks: "I am a competitive skeet shooter and I have specific hold points (where I hold the gun just prior to calling "pull") and these are mostly found by comparing the barrel to the skeet house, using it as a reference point. For example I hold at 1/3 of the distance out from the high house to the center stake, and as high or higher than the top of the high house when I am about to call for High 4. Can I see the simulated high house on the wall to use as a reference?"

DryFire displays the path of the clay not the actual trap or trap house. It is of course a simple matter to mark the start of the target's flight on the wall with something like a Post-It note but this is usually not necessary since getting to the right hold point quickly becomes instinctive - just as it does on the range. In fact, it is a good idea to practice closing your eyes, taking up position and winding back to the hold point before opening your eyes and calling "Pull". This way muscle memory does most of the work for you and you can focus 100% on the target.

Michael also asks: "the web site says it duplicates target speed. Does this mean the target slows down the further it gets across the field, as does a real target?"

It certainly does. DryFire accurately represents the speed and angular trajectory of the target as seen by the shooter on the stand. If you want to simulate wind conditions by entering wind direction and speed it will also show the effects of wind on the target.

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Is DryFire suitable for disabled shooters in wheel chairs?

Edward Dickson of Coram, NY, USA raised a number of very interesting issues one of which concerned the suitability of DryFire for use by shooters in wheelchairs.

This was taken into consideration when the system was designed and it is possible to locate the simulator to the side of the shooter rather than directly in front of the shooter. Once you have set the system up it is a simple matter to tell the DryFire software exactly where the simulator is in relation to the shooter - from then on the software does all the calculations necessary to display the correct target path as seen by the shooter.

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Where's the price list and do you take Diners' Club cards?

Several people have asked where the price list is located on the site. Click on "Order" to the top left of this page.

We don't take Diners' Club or American Express cards but we do have a totally secure web server using the latest encryption technology and we do take Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

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Clay speed - some questions and answers

This section represents a series of points, questions and answers in an email to DryFire.

  • Clay Shooting is all about lead
  • Perceived lead - amount of visible daylight between end of barrel and clay is not dependant on distance to clay (although some additional lead is required for longer distances due to de-acceleration of shot, but forget this for the moment).
  • The lead is a geometrical calculation related to speed.

Agreed. Lead is in fact the "angle" ahead of the clay rather than the "distance" ahead of the clay - distance ahead will increase the further away the clay is from the shooter - but the angle will remain almost the same. As shown in the lead diagram.

  • Speed is therefore, paramount to understanding visible lead.
  • Perceived speed is also paramount.

Maybe "perceived 'angular' speed" would be more accurate. In other words, if it takes 1.6 seconds to swing from a clay leaving the High House to reaching the distance marker, over an angle of, say, 110 degrees, then it should take the same time, and swing through the same angle, on a simulator.

  • A clay at 60 mph at 40 yards, will be perceived as being slower than one at 60 mph at 10 yards.

Agreed. One point here - traps are defined (according to all the rule books!) not in terms of speed, but in terms of the distance thrown and the height at an intermediate point. The longer the distance, and the lower the intermediate point, the faster the clay will be. E.g. a clay thrown 80 yards with an intermediate point of 4 yards at 10 yards out will be a lot faster than one thrown 80 yards with an intermediate point of 8 yards at 10 yards out. It all ends up with slower/faster clays but traps are set up (officially) not by speed but by distance and intermediate height.

  • With DryFire the shooter to wall is a constant approx. 2-3 yards
  • How therefore, is speed dealt with?

Angular speed is the same as on the range. Traps in DryFire are defined in terms of distance thrown and intermediate height - just like the real thing. Stands are designed as being at a certain position and facing a certain direction. So, a stand close-in to a crosser will result in a much faster target spot than a stand defined further away - just like the real thing.

The distance of the shooter from the wall is taken into account by DryFire's calculations so that the part of the clay's angular flight that will fit on the wall, as seen by the shooter, is displayed. If you can see a full High House to distance-marker clay on a wide wall at 6 feet from the wall, but you then stand back to 15 feet, it is obvious that you will no longer see the whole flight path on the wall - DryFire will show that portion of the flight path that you would see. Take a look at the room page for a diagram of this.

  • What speeds are represented by the CLAY SLOWDOWN data?

The DryFire Clay Slowdown feature does not change the angular flight of the clay - it simply introduces delays into, or speeds up, the travel over that flight. So, a slowdown factor of 1.5 will make a 2 second clay take 3 seconds. The "normal" value is "1".

Clay slowdown is not a change to the trap itself (it does not change distance or intermediate height) - it is simply a convenience for training purposes. We like to start people on a factor of 1.5 and work up to 1. We have some Olympic shots who practice at a factor of 0.75 on the grounds that if they can hit those they will have much more thinking time when they shoot real Olympic clays.

  • Without the shooter appreciating speed DryFire can't work.

Absolutely correct. The comments above should answer that - that's why DryFire's angular speeds match those of clays from a trap.

  • What do IS & AR refer to at bottom of layouts?.

They should not be there and they are missing from the manual! They have been removed from the latest version of the software - see the Download page. "IS" lights up when the Image Sensor (the camera!) is active looking for your shot. "AR" lights up when the Acoustic Release is active waiting for you to call "Pull".

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How much lead do I need and how curved are the trajectories?

Remember that DryFire provides two things:

  • Accurate angular speed
  • Accurate angular target trajectories

To hit a DryFire target you need the same angular lead as on the range. If we talk about lead in terms of yards or meters we all know that this will depend on a number of factors:

  • The speed of the clay
  • The angle of the clay's path to the shooter - crossers require maximum horizontal lead, driven targets require no horizontal lead
  • The distance the clay is away - it takes time for you to squeeze the trigger, for the gun to fire and for the shot string to reach the clay's distance.

A close-in target will require you to swing much faster but the lead required will be less than for a target further away when you will be swinging much slower.

It is tempting to think that many of the clays we shoot at perform a large graceful arc in flight. In most cases this is not the case for two reasons:

  • Clays are not missiles - their shape means that they actually "fly" through the air. At the start of their flight, when they are edge-on to the direction of flight, they perform like missiles but as their energy decays and they reach the top of their flight they begin to slow down and fall as they become belly-on to the direction of flight.
  • Many of the clays we shoot at (particularly Trap and Skeet) do not reach great heights - 12 feet or so for trap and 15 feet, for skeet. If our eye position is about 5 1/2 feet, then it is obvious that we do not have to look up much to see the clay at the top of its flight path.

Please take a look at the diagrams on this page to see the effects of lead and the vertical angles required for Trap and Skeet.

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How do I change clay order for doubles?

DryFire layouts are defined in "World Definition Files" (WDFs) which are contained in the "Layouts" folder. WDFs are text files which can be edited by any text editor: Notepad, Wordpad - even Word.

One section of the WDF defines the target order. Here is part of the section from Olympic double trap:

Target order
 
#Target, "Round A, stand 1",1,1,2,1
#Target, "Round A, stand 2",2,1,2,1
#Target, "Round A, stand 3",3,1,2,1
#Target, "Round A, stand 4",4,1,2,1
#Target, "Round A, stand 5",5,1,2,1

Each line starts with "#Target". This is followed by the target description within double quotation marks: "Round A, stand 1" etc.

Next, in order, come:

  • Stand number
  • First trap number
  • Second trap number
  • Type of target: 0=single, 1=simultaneous double, 2=on-report double

In DryFire doubles traps are always defined as two separate traps at exactly the same location. The question then becomes "which trap is released first?"

So, to change Stand 5 so that trap 2 is taken before trap 1 (right clay before left clay) the line:

#Target, "Round A, stand 5",5,1,2,1

becomes:

#Target, "Round A, stand 5",5,2,1,1

Now all you have to do is to replace the file and the clays will be released in the order you set up.

Note:

This method cannot be used for American double trap where all the necessary calculations are done in the program, not in the WDF file.

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Does a simulator take business away from the shooting range?

Absolutely the opposite.

Ask any shooting ground owner about his "conversion rate" - the percentage of visitors/trial lessons he turns into long-term shooters. The majority of people who come along with friends for a trial shoot, or as part of a corporate day, get disillusioned about how hard it is and they are never seen again.

Having a DryFire simulator in the club allows a new shooter to get a lot of practice within a very short period of time. A good instructor is essential but when the lessons are over the novice can take up position behind a simulator and really work on technique while looking at results and problems on the PC screen. No longer does he have to rely on someone with a good pair of eyes looking over his shoulder and spotting the shot pattern - with DryFire he can see exactly where his shot pattern went in relation to the target.

Knowing that you are "behind and below" is very helpful but the software goes further than that. If you are firing low it will advise you to raise your eyes slightly off the comb or to make sure that your muzzle is raised to the flight path before called for the target. The software knows what has happened and it can provide a list of suggestions to rectify it.

So, the novice gains confidence and the next thing may be an order for a gun and a lifetime of cartridge sales, membership fees and competition fees. 

Corporate entertainment days

DryFire simulators are perfect for use by shooting grounds on Corporate Days or when the weather is not suitable for everyone to be shooting in the open. There is nothing worse that a group of visitors hanging around in the wet with nothing to do! 

Instructors and coaches

Instructors and coaches will find DryFire simulators particularly useful. Once the needs or weaknesses of a shooter are identified the instructor can provide advice and then set up the simulator so that the shooter gets intense repetitive practice on that one skill before going down to the range. This makes DryFire simulators one of the fastest of all possible ways to cure problems with technique. 

Making money with DryFire

Ranges, hunting preserves, community centers, shooting grounds, and resorts can make money by using DryFire simulators - take a look at our making money with DryFire page for more details.

The shooting ground wins every time with DryFire.

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How does it compare with other systems?

That really is for you to judge but we would like to make a few comments:

  • DryFire uses your own gun - not a toy gun or one you "borrow" for the occasion. We believe this is critical for serious practice because you will be using your own gun on the range and you will have selected that gun to suit your build and your style of shooting. If you are a serious shooter you will probably have had the fit of your gun adjusted by a professional gunsmith - so, it is essential that you use your own gun for practice.
  • With DryFire you use exactly the same skills as on the range. You take up position, watch for the clay, swing, fire and follow through exactly as with a real clay - if you don't you will miss - just as with a real clay. Using the same skills means that the more you practice, the faster your muscle memory will go into auto-pilot allowing you to focus your entire attention on Mr. Digweed's three most important items - "the target, the target, the target."
  • DryFire allows for lead - you have to judge the speed of the target, its angle of flight and its distance so that you apply the right amount of lead. DryFire is not like a shoot-em-up arcade game!
  • DryFire is designed for use at home, at work or in the club. It provides you with the most important ingredient in the development and retention of any skill - practice - lots of it - at an affordable price and wherever you are.

We do not believe that DryFire has a serious competitor as a training aid for the competitive clay shooter - if you find one, let us know and we will run a comparison.

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How does it compare with Laser Shot?

Really that's for you to judge - check out Laser Shot at www.lasershot.com.

There are so many systems with "laser" or "virtual" in their title that it can become very confusing. Systems boil down to two types:

  • Shooting at special clays using special shotguns. This can be outdoors or indoors and requires special clays to reflect back the beam of light fired directly at them. Such a system is fantastic fun but it requires a special shotgun, not the one you have tailored to your needs, and it does not allow for lead - the movement of the clay before the shot string reaches it.
  • Shooting at a screen image usually projected from a PC screen. Limitations on screen size tend to restrict these systems to going away targets only - DTL, ABT, OT etc. In most cases a special gun is used but the latest ones do allow you to place an infrared projector on your own shotgun.

Both types of system tend to be expensive (a complete Laser Shot system, with PC and projector, sells for over $14,000 according to their web site) and may be purchased by arcades and major clubs but most often they are hired by the day for special occasions.

Obviously with any projection system you will not get the full range of targets because a) the screen will not be large enough and b) you have to stand too far away to get the right body movements

By comparison, DryFire:

  • is designed for every shooter to use at home
  • is affordable at a price of under one third the price of a decent entry level competition O/U shotgun.
  • requires allowance for lead
  • provides very accurate targets and very accurate feedback on where your shot string went
  • supports all types of clay targets: sporting, skeet and trap
  • requires the same body movements as on the range - a full swing left to right for Skeet Stand 4 high house for example.
  • supports "off the wall" shots - if your ceiling is of a suitable height, DryFire will put tower shots over your head!

The only requirements are a wall and a PC.

Note: For those with the luxury of PC projectors DryFire can be used quite happily for disciplines where the target will fit on the screen - DTL for example. Just line the simulator up so that the DryFire target spot starts at the on-screen trap and off you go.

PC projectors are very expensive and our highest priority is to provide systems that can be used at home (or in the club) on any suitable wall.

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Who or what is The DryFire Corporation?

The DryFire Corporation is a privately owned company registered in England. It was formed in 2000 by three friends each of whom has many years experience owning and running other successful and profitable international businesses. The company is self-funding (it has a policy of no borrowings) and its aims are simple:

  • To build on its founders' experience in business management, marketing, electronics, computing and software to develop and provide high quality training aids for shooters.
  • To use the Internet as the medium for supplying products and support world-wide.
  • Not to use clichés or marketing gobbledegook.
  • To tell the truth, to be honest about our products and to provide our customers with the information and products they want.

With over 75 man-years of business experience between the three founders, DryFire is a lean-and-efficient-machine dedicated to providing high quality products and top-notch service without all the overheads associated with non-Internet oriented companies. Unlike many Internet-oriented companies, DryFire is committed to being profitable! We see no point being in business without making a profit and we believe that profit allows us to build the company, develop new products and provide the highest possible level of support and service.

We welcome any questions you may have about the company or its products. Please use our email to get in touch with us.

If you have a few moments to spare you can read the full story of DryFire's development by clicking here.

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Copyright 2003 Communication Concepts and The DryFire Corporation. All rights reserved.

Information contained on this site is subject to change without notice.

Communication Concepts, PO Box 2, Brainerd, MN 56401, 218-963-4616

Updated January 25, 2004