Don’t let ammo shortages and prices stop you from training.
Everyone in the industry has felt the pain of the ammo shortages and skyrocketing prices. Even those of us who reload brass are taking hits as components have become more expensive and sparse in supply. I, myself, have seen my range time dramatically decrease from an average of four days a week to two, if I am lucky. Shooting is a diminishing skill and constant work is required to maintain it. Dry fire drills are more important now than ever.
What are dry fire drills? Dry fire is simply simulating fire without live rounds. Running dry fire drills will allow you to simulate live fire, weapon manipulation, and reloading from the comfort of your home and without the expense of munitions. These dry fire drills will directly translate to live fire situations, and allow you to continue to hone your skills. Here are some of the dry fire drills that I run the most.
1. The Coin Drill
The coin drill allows you to improve your grip mechanics and trigger control. Before performing any dry fire drills please ensure that your weapon has been cleared. Place a coin on the front sight post and pull the trigger. With a proper grip and trigger pull the coin should remain balanced on the front sight post. Proper grip and trigger mechanics are the biggest issues that plague newer shooters. The coin drill is a great way to perfect those mechanics.
2. Draw Stroke and Holstering
By definition “defense” is reactive. We are reacting to a threat so we are already behind the curve. The ability to clear your concealed carry garment (with one hand) and draw your firearm is critical. I cannot overstate the importance of your draw stroke. Your ability to draw your firearm and get on target could be the difference between life and death. Practicing your draw stroke is something that can be done at home without expending any munitions. I strongly recommend training to clear you garment and draw with one hand (unlike the above picture). In a defensive situation you may need your weak hand to defend yourself and/or create distance.
Reloading and reloading quickly is another critical skill that can be practiced at home with dry fire. I like to run reloading drills in various positions, and I will simulate reloading drills with only one hand. In a real-world defense situation it may not be as simple as dropping your magazine and sliding a new magazine into the mag well. You may find yourself in awkward physical positions. You may even find yourself injured and required to reload your weapon using only one hand. I recommend training for these unexpected situations.
Dry fire will damage my firearm!
While this is certainly true for some firearms, it is patently false for most. This mainly applies to older semi-autos, revolvers, and rimfires. In older firearms you run the risk of damaging the firing pin due to over travel. You can absolutely use snap caps and I strongly recommend using them in dry fire training. I also use snap caps to simulate failures. There are also a variety of dry fire training tools on the market today.
In closing, don’t let ammo shortages and prices stop your training progress. There are hundreds of dry fire drills that you can do at home. Remember to handle all firearms safely and ensure the firearms are cleared before dry fire practice. Stay frosty and keep shooting.