Dry-fire practice is one of the best ways to develop your shooting skills at home on your own time and without the cost of range fees or ammunition. Competitive shooters, training professionals, and individual gun owners utilize dry-fire to hone specific techniques, which they then validate with live-fire drills at the range. The dry-fire exercises in the A Girl & A Gun Shooting Journal are tailored to each color track and designed to be in-home training tools to help with proficient manipulating your firearm, developing safe handling skills, honing marksmanship, and an ammo-free rehearsal to boost confidence for the next shooting event! Here are some tips and safety considerations to ensure you get the most out of your next dry fire practice session.
Set Up and Safety
We take dry-fire safety at home just as seriously as we do live-fire shooting at the range. To ensure your dry-fire practice translates smoothly into range shooting performance set yourself up for success by practicing safety as it relates to your space your gear, your mindset and your home habits.
Preparing Your Space
Identify a safe direction. Choose a surface that would minimize potential injuries or property damage if a negligent discharge should occur. Create a safe direction by using a sandbag, self with books for magazines, a small Kevlar plate, or a ballistic material called Safe direction.
Ammo-free Space: Remove all ammunition from your workspace or room.
Declutter: Remove or store all unnecessary gear from your workspace or room.
Minimize Your Audience: Choose a quiet low-traffic room or space for your practice. Draw the curtains or blinds, especially if you have neighbors, to keep from drawing unnecessary attention.
Minimize Your Distractions: Turn your phone to silent and choose a time of day for your practice when you will be least likely to be interrupted by household members.
Communicate: Talk with your family about what dry-fire practice means to you and what is expected from them should they need you while you are conducting your practice. Consider implementing a “Please Knock” policy for family or household members when you are conducting your practice so that you can safely reset your gear, mind and work space before others physically enter the room.
Appropriate Targets: Utilize the recommended A Girl & A Gun Dry-Fire Targets for each drill. Avoid practicing in a mirror as most people only look at themselves or focus on the reflection of their muzzle. Avoid practicing using a TV or photographs. These are visually distracting and place mental emphasis on an image rather than on the technique itself.
Preparing Your Gear
Confirm the firearm is unloaded (magazine out) and there is no round in the chamber.
Confirm that all magazines you intend to work with are unloaded.
Use the “Measure Twice, Cut Once” method and reconfirm that all ammo is removed from your workspace and your person.
Preparing Your Mindset
Dry-fire practice can be a meditative time you give yourself to focus on one specific set of thoughts and actions. Dry-fire is good “me time” and can be a wonderful part of your weekly self-care routine. Practice alone, without an audience, or with a training buddy with similar goals that doesn’t stress you out. While dry-fire can be fun, the time you dedicate to it is serious business. It is important to get into focused, calm and centered frame of mind before you begin.
It’s all about attitude! Practice excellent firearm safety and handling skills 100% of the time. What you practice with a dry gun, a blue gun or SIRT gun both physically and mentally you WILL find yourself doing with a loaded gun. NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE UNSAFE!
Managing Interruptions and Ending Your Dry-Fire Practice
SHOULD YOU BE INTERRUPTED by a phone call or a visitor to your space, STOP. Once the distraction is gone, confirm the safety of your space, confirm the safety of your gear (using a safe direction, unload your gun and verify all of your gear is free of ammunition), and reset your mindset.
Once you have made the decision to stop your dry-fire session, STOP. Do not go back and do one more drill. Statistically, negligent discharges happen at the end of a dry fire session when individuals are transitioning between practice and pack up or loading hot for concealed carry or home defense.
Implement as methodical and habitual a set of actions that you to to set up and begin your practice as you do to either pack up for storage or make ready for concealed carry or home defense.
Unlike the range, at home there is no Range Safety Officer to remind you to stay safe with your gear – it’s all up to you! So, say what you mean! When you are done with your dry-fire practice, say “I am done!” to give your brain the mental checkpoint it needs to shift gears.
Pack up your equipment immediately and store it out of access of unauthorized persons.
If you wish to load for carry or home defense, return ammo to your workspace and say aloud, “I AM LOADING HOT.” and conclude your load and make ready while maintaining a safe direction. Once holstered say aloud, “THIS GUN IS LOADED.”