Practice is an important component of training. Therefore, dry-fire practice for the woman shooter is an important component of gun ownership and is an essential part of safe gun handling and usage. Practice is necessary if you plan on being successful in the event you find you’re defending yourself or those you love! Which I am sure is what you want, otherwise, why would you have a gun? I have heard it said that in the event of an attack, your skills only hold up half as good as they are when you’re on the range. Dry-fire practice for the woman shooter is effective, convenient and also inexpensive.
What is Dry-Fire Practice?
I have every confidence as a Well Armed Woman, you will practice! Dry-fire is a generic term for practicing gun handling skills at home with an UNLOADED gun. It does not only mean pulling the trigger. It can refer to practicing reloads, drawing, or most any other skill. You may not think that much can be accomplished by practicing with an empty firearm. The truth is, your skills will improve significantly.
Dry-Fire Practice Is An Essential Component Of Learning To Shoot Your Gun Well
- Dry-Fire practice helps you to develop proficient shooting-related motor skills because it requires a significant amount of repetition and works to train your muscles in proper safe shooting techniques.
- Bad habits, such as flinching, eye blinking, and lack of follow-through are difficult to detect during live-fire shooting but often come to light when you practice. All top shooters in the world incorporate a significant amount of dry-fire into their training regimens, some for hours each day.
Tools for Dry Fire Training
Dummy rounds are inert cartridges. They do not have powder, primers or projectiles, so they cannot fire. They come in a variety of colors, materials and calibers. Use dummy rounds (snap caps) for your dry-fire practice. Although most modern handguns are not damaged by dry-firing an empty gun, the use of snap caps is good practice and allows you to practice your skills with all of the necessary components. Snap-Cap Trainers are my favorite kind of dummy rounds for use in dry-fire practice. Snap Caps are inert aluminum rounds made to last a long time. Not only will they not fire, they also provide a very clear difference from live ammo.
Laser training pistols are another great tool. Safe, effective, and innovative, the Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) Training Pistol was developed by shooters for shooters, to complement, not replace, live fire training. It is a training pistol with the look, feel and approximate weight a real firearm provides enhanced dry-fire practice. The Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) system assists shooters in developing proper grip and trigger control without spending money on ammunition. The auto-resetting trigger activates two lasers – one when pressure is applied to the trigger and the other displays “shot” placement. Features standard sights and a functional magazine release that enables users to practice reloads using the included weighted training magazine.
DRY-FIRE CAN BE DANGEROUS
Shooters of all levels are at risk of accidents. Therefore, it is imperative that FIREARM SAFETY and SAFE DRY-FIRE TECHNIQUES ARE FOLLOWED COMPLETELY. Therefore, an unwavering commitment to following The Four Rules of firearm safety is required.
If you can’t follow the recommended safety procedures in a committed and systematic way, dry-fire practice is NOT for you.
1. All firearms are always loaded.
Keep this in mind at all times! Even when your firearm is unloaded, this will impact the way you handle your firearm and how you will perform, not only in preparation for dry-fire practice, but when you are in the act of your dry-fire practice.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
Keeping Rule 1 as your mental guide, it only stands to reason that you would not point your firearm at something you are not willing to destroy. When choosing where to aim during dry-fire, you should not only aim at a place in the home with an appropriate backstop (see below), it is also imperative to consider neighbors and others in the home. It must be a safe and appropriate target. Only point it at something you could bear to lose if the firearm were loaded.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
One of the great values of dry-fire practice is its role in training your mind and body to respond and act in a specific way, habitually and instinctively. The only way to do this is with the correct repetition of the desired action until the muscles respond to the instruction automatically and correctly. Keeping your finger off the trigger until and only until you are sighted to fire, is a key “muscle memory” to attain. The target is what you have placed in the sights of your firearm.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
You must always be aware of what is around and behind your target, regardless of what you select for your target during dry-fire practice. The WHO and WHAT that lies behind that target, (not just immediately behind but way behind it) must be considered at all times. Whether preparing to shoot an attacker or the target in your dry-fire practice, this habitual act of thinking and being aware of your surroundings and what is beyond will save lives. Both in the event of a violent attack in which you must fire your firearm to save your life, or in the event that a careless error is made in your dry-fire practice.
Before you get started in EACH AND EVERY dry-fire practice session; READ AND FOLLOW THE BELOW KEYS TO SUCCESS
To the best of your ability, remove anything that would cause you to be distracted. Turn off the TV or IPod, turn off your cell phone and/or ringer of the home phone, lock your front door, and remove or turn off anything that potentially could cause you to be distracted in any way. If there are others in the home, let them know you are not to be interrupted (except for an emergency of course). If for any reason at any time during your practice you are interrupted, you must re-start these dry-fire practice safety steps.
Unload your firearm and then unload it again! Visually check the cylinder or chamber twice. Use your fingers to manually check the firearm at least two times to ensure that all rounds have been removed. In the case of a revolver, pull the cylinder fully outward and slowly spin the cylinder to check all chambers.
Remove all ammunition from the room. That is correct – take all of the removed rounds and any other ammunition and put it in another room. Select a container, a specific one that you will use each and every time to place the removed ammunition in. Count each round as you place them in this container to verify that each round removed from the cylinder or magazine is accounted for and placed into the container.
Select or prepare your backstop, taking into consideration the people and animals that are in the home and those that live nearby. Your interior wall and most exterior walls will not stop a bullet if you were to have an accidental discharge. Make sure to find a wall or area in which there are no people directly behind your chosen dry-fire backstop. If you do not have a suitable and safe backstop – you should not continue with your dry-fire practice. An appropriate backstop may be the basement wall (keep in mind the risk of ricochet), a stack of bags filled with sand, a telephone books with a minimum of 2 to 3 feet thickness, or even a large multi-gallon bucket of gravel. If you cannot set up a safe backstop in your home, do not dry-fire.
Decide the amount of time and the specific skills you will practice. Typically, 10 – 15 minutes is recommended. A training checklist can be very helpful or you can check out one of the online tools linked below. Just before you begin your skill practice, tell yourself out loud “I am starting to dry-fire practice”. This verbal cue is an important discipline.
Complete your practice by telling yourself out loud “Dry-Fire practice is over.” This verbal and audible proclamation help to keep you disciplined and help to prevent you from “trying one more”. When you are done, you are done. Remove any dummy rounds and verify your firearm is unloaded. Take down your target and put your dry-fire gear in its proper place. Take a short break between your dry-fire practice and the reloading of your firearm with live ammunition. A pause between these two actions is necessary as you have just focused on pulling the trigger and doing so with confidence that there was no live ammunition in the firearm. You, of course, do not want to get these two actions confused. So this pause is necessary to be safe.
RECOMMENDED AS A MINIMUM: Practice dry-firing at home at least once a week.
Commit to your dry-fire practice and commit to a structured systematic process for it. You will be investing in your skills as well as your safety and the safety of those around you.
DRY-FIRE PRACTICE EXERCISES
- Dry-fire practice your draw from strong side (your shooting hand side) sighting your target with two hands. Repeat drill 10 times
- Dry-fire practice your draw from strong side, but with only your strong hand. Repeat drill 10 times
- Dry-fire practice drawing your gun and passing it to your weak hand, sighting and dry-firing with your weak hand only. Keep your strong handheld to your chest. Repeat drill 10 times
- Dry-fire practice double taps. A double tap refers to firing two shots in rapid succession. Repeat drill ten times.
SAFE ROOM DRY-FIRE PRACTICE
An exercise that you can do at home is to simulate working within your safe room. Visualize home invaders breaking into your safe room. The sequence entails verbalizing appropriate commands from behind cover: “STOP! DROP YOUR WEAPON! I’M ARMED. GO AWAY! LEAVE THIS HOUSE NOW!” Acquire a sight picture on your imaginary home invader and dry fire if necessary.
Keep a notebook to take notes on the results of your dry fire session. This will allow you to focus on areas you need improvement and also on skills that you excel in. The Well Armed Woman offers a great notebook that offers different drills to try and also an area to write down notes so you know what to devote more practice to. This Dry Fire notebook will make the best of your dry fire practice and allow you to significantly improve your skills!