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Dry Fire Practice: Effective Practice That Preserves Your Ammo Hoard.

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*Disclaimer: Techniques and tips described here are to be used at your own risk. YOU are responsible for your safety and the safety of those around you.

Dry fire practice is nothing new. It is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to improve your shooting. During these lean times of ammo shortages and price gouging, it's time to take another look at it. It is effective for everything from brushing up on the basics to practicing advanced defensive and carry techniques. It is also a great way to teach new shooters the basics of safety and gun handling. Doing dry fire practice drills will certainly make your live fire time more productive. Afterall, if your rounds aren't going where you want them, that's no fun and you're wasting precious ammo.

There are many ways to practice dry fire, everything from putting a non-firing training barrel or "snap caps" in your real carry gun to totally electronic training firearms.

Personally, I like the "old school" method using my real firearms. This allows me to feel the actual reset and characteristics of a firearm that I actually carry and would have to use should the need arise. I know I'm going to get hate mail about "You don't need snap caps". I kind of like my firing pins and some firearms really do not handle dry fire well without a buffer. Real or electronic the rules remain the same.


First let's look at safety. Dry fire should always be done with an unloaded firearm.

1. Treat ALL Firearms as if they were loaded.
Even if you're using one of the new high tech laser firing guns, treat it and respect it like the real

2. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
See #1

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
See #1

4. Know your target and what is beyond it.
For dry fire practice make sure you have a safe direction in which to aim while you train.
You can also create one using a ballistic backstop such as the one

Preparing for dry fire practice

* Determine the type of practice you wish to engage in.
* Set up a designated training area. Set up all your practice tools in this area i.e. training barrels, snap caps electronic training systems, shot timers etc. If you're only working on the fundamentals the above items should suffice. If you're doing more advanced practice such as defensive, concealed carry or competition you will also need the proper holsters, cover garments and other items from your EDC or competition rig. Many of the items that I use personally are available here.
* Unload live ammunition in a separate room just as you would for cleaning.
* Move to your training area with the action open.
* Make a visual and tactile inspection once again to make sure your firearm is clear.
* Make sure your training area is prepared and safe.
* Install your training aids.
* Begin your dry fire practice. If you take a break or your practice is interrupted, repeat the clearing and inspection ritual.

Practice makes perfect

Only you know the areas in which you wish to improve, drill types and repetitions are up to you.Whatever and however you decide to practice, aim for consistency (pun intended). For example consistency in the types of gear that you choose, types of firearms and how you wear or carry them. This will give you a chance to see which items and/or techniques that may or may not work for you in "Real World" situations. You may want to keep a training journal or make notes to chart your progress over time.

Ending your practice session

Once your practice session ends, clear your firearm of training aids and return it to your "live room" (action open) and leave it there. Once it is secured, then you may begin breaking down your training area if it is one that cannot remain static.

After action review

After everything is put away and secured use your down time to do a personal after action review of your practice. Write down your findings and review them. You may find that you were doing things that you did not know you were doing or that maybe that holster that you love may not allow you a full firing grip upon the draw. Always, try and keep things fresh and interesting in order to make you want to practice and improve. Whatever you do stay safe and amaze yourself.

Originally posted @ Berkley R. Bruce- Dragon's Shadow Training Group Blog: Dry Fire Practice: Effective Practice That Preserves Your Ammo Hoard.