One of the most critical aspects of self-defence and wilderness survival is confidence in your ability to defend yourself. If you do not think you can make a shot, you will waver and second-guess yourself, making yourself a more vulnerable target. Fortunately, you can fix this situation by perfecting your firearm skills through practice. We often recommend newbies to use Earplugs by American Pro Sports during their practice sessions.
As with anything you do, mastering how to use firearms requires that you put in a lot of time and practice. But if you have bought ammunition recently, you know that this can be an expensive venture. This is where dry fire practice comes in. Dry firing allows you to practice all your gun skills – shooting and otherwise – without using ammunition. Read on to find out if it is ideal for you.
What Is Dry Fire?
Dry fire refers to the act of simulating firing a firearm without using ammunition. Generally, you do everything you usually do when making a shot and pull the trigger, but in this case, nothing happens because your gun is not loaded. This can sound like wasted time, but it is a very efficient way to practice your skills and accuracy without breaking the bank.
Most gun instructors will recommend dry fire to new shooters to help them learn gun manipulation basics and weapon safety. That said, this practice is not limited to newbies, and even veterans can do it because it requires no equipment (except your gun) and can even be done at home.
Why Dry Fire?
Dry fire is an excellent way to build a foundation for your basic gun skills while practicing other techniques and working up to advanced manipulation. Through this practice, you can perfect your trigger control stance, sight alignment, and grip, which will, in turn, boost your muscle memory. Even better, you can do it repeatedly until you get it right because you are not using ammunition.
Dry Fire Safety
From the definition, a dry fire should be a very safe activity, as it does not involve ammunition. However, any interaction with firearms has the potential to turn dangerous, which is why you should never throw caution to the wind.
Keep the following in mind during your dry fire practice:
- Find a place with no distractions for your dry fire practice. If you have devices in the room, remove or silence them, so they do not jolt you. You should also inform the people who live with you that you are practicing and not to disturb you.
- Always hold your weapon away from animals, people, or property.
- Always unload your firearm before practice and perform three tactile and visual checks to ensure it is unloaded before you start.
- As an extra precaution, unload your gun in a separate room from the one you will practice in and leave all your ammunition there, locked and safely tucked away.
- If you must put your gun down to take a break, answer a phone call, or leave the room, always recheck it when you come back into the room. Make sure it is unloaded before you resume practice.
- Choose a backstop that is not in front of anywhere people would walk. If an accidental discharge happens, you do not want the bullet to penetrate the wall and hit someone.
Benefits of Dry Firing
Research says that you must repeat something 10,000 times to commit it to muscle memory. This fact rings true for shooters, but such levels of practice can also mean a lot of ammunition used. Considering the high cost of ammo, one of the apparent benefits of dry firing is cost-effectiveness. Other benefits of this practice include:
When you practice at a range or with ammunition, the bullet holes will tell you exactly how you are firing. While this is often a good thing, it can also be very discouraging to someone who feels they are doing everything right, yet none of their bullets are on target.
This discouragement, plus the ammunition and cost of range time, can easily dishearten a beginner from going on. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, confidence is as crucial to good performance in sports as it is in the shooting. The more you feel like a failure, the more likely you are to quit.
Dry firing helps put you in the right mindset to keep on practicing your skills because there are no bullet holes. When you dry fire, you will likely remember what you did right and do it again rather than focus on what you did wrong.
Your brain is wired to avoid situations it considered potentially dangerous. Because firing a gun is not a natural process, your body will often respond by turning your head, closing your eyes, or looking away, otherwise called flinching. Flinching can affect your aim and firing accuracy. Fortunately, dry firing eliminates the loud noise and jolt involved in firing a loaded gun, allowing you to shoot without moving.
Reduced Trigger Jerking
Trigger jerking refers to when you pull the trigger so that it disrupts your firearm’s aiming point. A shooter will usually jerk the trigger because they are focused on aiming the gun more than they are about maintaining the sight picture. Alternatively, trigger jerking can be caused by a shooter trying to fire their gun as fast as possible when they find the perfect sight picture.
Regardless of the cause, trigger jerking will severely harm your aiming skills and firing accuracy. Dry firing fixes this problem by allowing you to shoot without moving the gun since there is no rush to fire a bullet into a perfect sight picture anyway.
Improved Non-Shooting Skills
Besides helping you perfect your shooting skills, dry fire practice can sharpen your other non-shooting techniques. For example, you can practice your stance, loading, reloading, drawing, one-handed aiming, and moving while aiming as many times as you want.
If you own firearms, dry fire practice is an excellent way to hone your skills at no cost and from the comfort of your home. The comfortable environment allows you to concentrate on every aspect of your weapon manipulation tactics and practice over and over until you master all your moves.
That said, you must keep the safety measures discussed here – and all the others you know – in mind during this exercise. The most important gun safety rule is to treat every firearm as if it is loaded, even if you know that it is not. This is crucial, even if you are only practicing dry firing.