It’s much more comfortable than it sounds.
If you want to become a skilled and expert shooter, it’s critical that you practice as often as possible. Problem is, sometimes it’s just too much fuss to pack your range bag, drive to the range, pay range fees, wait for a carrel…sometimes, you just want to get it done all by yourself, in the privacy of your home. This is where dry-fire practice comes in.
It might sound a little transgressive or scary to do it dry, but it’s much more comfortable and safe than it sounds…as long as you follow a few rules.
1) Make Sure It’s Big Enough
Dry-firing rimfire guns can be problematic. If your gun is a .22 or a .17, you’ll have to add some extra equipment to make the experience satisfying for you and safe for your gun. You can protect the breech case by installing some snap caps or dummy rounds in your magazine. If your gun’s caliber is larger than .22, meaning that it’s a centerfire, you usually don’t need snap caps (although some people like the extra weight and realistic heft).
However, some older guns, like the single-action revolvers often used for Cowboy Action Shooting, also need a little extra help. Thankfully, you don’t need to brave a doctor’s office or wait in line to be judged at the pharmacy…you can purchase dummy rounds at just about any outdoor retailer.
2) Get All Those Potent Loads Out of the Room
First, you need to make sure you have an empty magazine. Then, make sure you have an empty breech. Then do it again. Ensure that there is no live ammunition in the room at all in which you plan to dry-fire. This will protect your drywall as well as relieving any performance anxiety you might have. After all, you don’t want to start feeling inadequate due to the lack of aural feedback.
3) Keep It Pointed In a Safe Direction Anyway
Even though you’ve checked and double-checked to ensure there’s no live ammo around, it’s still poor form to point your muzzle anywhere unsafe. Nobody wants to round a corner only to be greeted by you with both of your hands full of blue steel. So as you’re setting up to practice, consider using a bookshelf full of books or a metal filing cabinet as your “target.” After all, if you accidentally discharge a hot load, you’ll want to make sure it goes somewhere where it can’t do too much damage or result in a court-ordered monthly payment.
Once you have a few dry-fire sessions, you’ll get much more comfortable with it…and your fellow shooting partners will be impressed in the improvement in your technique. Don’t worry; you don’t have to tell them how you did it–and you won’t go blind. We promise.
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