Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dry Firing

By Dave Dargo

In yesterday's posting I discussed the importance of consistent habits when managing your pistol; always draw from the holster the same way, always condition-check the pistol the same way and always reload the same way.

There are other practice steps you can take to keep your pistolcraft sharp and dry-firing is one of the most important.

Dry-firing is the practice of firing your pistol with no ammunition and there are some rather specific practices you must do in order to assure safety:

  • Always use the same place for dry-firing.
  • The place you use for dry-firing should have a ballistic back stop.
  • Never store or have ammunition in the place you choose for dry-firing.
  • Always start dry-firing with the same routine.
  • Always end dry-firing with the same routine and never, ever, ever try just one more after you've formally ended your dry-fire session.
The importance of having a ballistic back stop is just in case you make a mistake.  Never having any ammunition in your dry-firing place is to minimize the risk of making a mistake and starting with the same routine each time builds safe practices.

The reason you should never, ever, ever try just one more is because that one more time often becomes a live-fire exercise.  It happens when you've finished dry-firing, gone back to your ammunition storage place, reloaded your pistol, re-holstered and as you're walking down the hall to leave for the day you start thinking about your draw stroke and decide, "just one more".

I carry an M1911 and I can dry-fire it all day long with no damage to the pistol.  A Glock can be dry-fired, within reason, without causing any damage.  However, Glock will tell you that if you're going to dry-fire thousands of times that you should use a snap-cap.  If you have any doubts about dry-firing your pistol then just buy an inexpensive snap cap.

Another key to practice is to keep from over doing it.  It's better to practice 10 perfect draws in a session rather than 50 sloppy ones.  Decide what you're going to practice and dedicate 3-5 minutes to doing it. You should set a goal of dry-firing as many days as you can but in fairly short sessions working on perfect technique.

The goal of dry-firing is to help you lock in the mechanics of your pistolcraft. Get used to drawing the pistol as if you mean it. Make routine the process of drawing your pistol and getting those sights on target. Perfect that trigger press and get away from squeezing your whole hand when you want the gun to fire.

Remember, the loudest noise in a gunfight is a click when you expect a bang.  The loudest noise in dry-firing is a bang when you expect a click.  Keep that ammunition in another room.  Tie it up in a dirty sock if necessary.  Never mix ammunition with dry firing.

Practice correctly, practice often and make routine your pistolcraft mechanics.

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