Shooting Illustrated | How to Become a Master of Dry-Fire Practice
Investing in a safe target and dummy rounds can help you hone key self-defense skills on a regular basis without leaving your home or using up valuable ammunition.
ONs I write that we are in the depths of a significant shortage of ammunition and unfortunately I do not expect the situation to have improved significantly at the time of reading. Scarce, expensive ammunition makes it difficult to practice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your skills through dry practice in the comfort of your home. With a few key safety precautions and minimal equipment, you can get into the practice required to make your skills reflexive, which means you can do them quickly, correctly, and with a minimum of thought.
The first step in the dry run is to secure a safe location, out of live ammunition, and where you can place an exercise target on a backstop that will stop a bullet. The next step is to check the firearms you are practicing with at least three times to make sure they are unloaded. Next, tell yourself that you are going to practice dry. Now focus on practicing just one skill or two properly for no more than 10 minutes.
Let’s work on speed reloads for a semi-automatic pistol or revolver this month. You will need a handful of dummy rounds (sluggish, non-firing training rounds) and a couple of magazines for the pistol or a reload for the revolver.
Here are the drills
Drill # 1, reloading the slide-lock gun:
Insert an empty magazine into the pistol, pull the slide back and lock it back. Point your safe target, then reload by pressing the magazine release and dropping the empty magazine from the pistol while using your support hand to bring a magazine of dummy rounds to the gun. Insert the “loaded” magazine into the pistol, pull the slide back (or squeeze the slide stop), and let the slide move forward. To repeat, unload the pistol and set it up again with an empty magazine.
Push drill # 2, reload the pistol forward:
Load the pistol into the chamber with a dummy cartridge and an empty magazine. Put a couple of dummy rounds in your spare magazine. Point at your safe target, then press the magazine release and load a magazine with dummy rounds into the pistol. Note that the slide does not need to be stacked as there is still a cartridge of dummy ammunition in the chamber.
Drill # 3, Turret Speed Reload:
Load your revolver with dummy cartridges or empty boxes and have a speedloader or speedstrip with dummy cartridges ready. Aim it at your target and unload the revolver by opening the barrel, pointing the barrel up and pushing the extraction rod. Now point the barrel down, bring your loader to the cylinder, fully load the cylinder, close and lock the cylinder, and point your two-handed shooting grip back at your target.
Practicing these exercises several times a week will improve your weapon handling skills and prepare for your next day of live fire.