Taking the Time to Dry Fire

Taking the Time to Dry Fire

By: Kim Hammett, Facilitator of the Virginia Beach, VA, Chapter

Whether you carry concealed, keep a firearm close by in your home or compete, you should be dry firing at -minimum- once a week. Why?

If you aren’t putting on your belt and holster (if you have one) and dry firing, you aren’t building the neuropathways you will need when you need them the most — in situations under stress or duress. It also trains your eye where to look (hint: focus on the front sight), helps train you to get your sight picture quickly and helps encourage your body to pull the firearm up to your line of sight.  Your grip and your stance will be put under stress and you will know very quickly when you draw and drive the firearm forward if you loosen anywhere. This helps you know where to tighten up.

You should also be practicing reloads as part of your dry fire routine. Why?

In a concealed carry situation, several of us and our body types require small, subcompact firearms. That typically translates to smaller-capacity magazines, which then translates further into us needing to carry an additional magazine. If you are in a situation where you need to reload, you do NOT want to fumble the reload (especially under stress).

If you’re defending your home with a firearm, can you tell when you’re out of ammo in the dark?  Can you tell based on how your fireaem FEELS?  Can you reload in the dark?  Can you do it quickly?  Can you identify if the magazine is pointed in the right direction based off feel?  Can you get it into the magwell and send it home based on feel?

If you compete, obviously seconds count. You do not want to fumble your draw and you really don’t want to waste time on your first shot after the draw (or miss it because your eyes aren’t trained).  You don’t want to fumble the reload (dropped mags are a bad, bad thing when you’re on a stage) because it’ll cause a penalty.

Additionally, when you practice reloading, you’ll know if your grip becomes compromised to hit the mag release. Is your grip still high on the firearm and solid when you reacquire your sight picture and drive the firearm forward towards the target?  Or did it shift when you hit the mag release because it had to in order to reach it?

What you will also realize when you dry fire is how comfortable you are with your kit.   Is this the right holster for me and for the purpose?  Does it have too much or too little retention?  Too much or too little cant?  Is it in the right place on my hip?  Is this the right firearm for me?  Can I reach the mag release at speed?  Can I see the sights in various types of light?  

These are things you won’t be able to identify standing in a lane at the range. Do your skills and yourself justice by taking the time to dry fire.  It costs nothing but time – no range fees, no ammo, no drive time. 

Leave the ammo in another room, draw the shades so your nosy neighbors don’t freak out, check-double check-triple check your firearm and magazines are empty and get to work. 

Note: I specifically did not cover pressing the trigger in this article. For my own personal preference, I like to practice my draw and reloads first to get the feel at speed and then add the trigger press, but I also have a good feel already for my slack and break point. 

If you don’t already have a good feel for the slack, break and reset point of your trigger, make sure you add this to your exercise.

You’d hate to be in a situation where you’ve had to pull the firearm and your brain is wondering when the firearm is going to discharge when someone is presenting a threat in front of you.

If you take the time to dry fire for ten minutes ONE time, I promise you’ll have the “Ah-Ha” moment and remember this post. 

Stay safe and vigilant ladies! 🌺

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