View Full Version : Advantage of dry firing.

February 29, 2008, 01:03 PM
I shot guns alot mainly skeet and trap back 8 years ago. I am just now getting back into the sport. I have gone kind of crazy for it and have purchased two semi autos and one carbine in the last 3 months. I have read alot of posts about using snap caps to train with at home. Does dry firing at home really help you when you go to the range? If so what are some exercises I can do at home to help my accuracy at the range?

February 29, 2008, 01:08 PM
If so what are some exercises I can do at home to help my accuracy at the range?

Yes it absolutely helps. The biggest advantage I see is getting used to the trigger break without having to blow thru ammo to get there. When you get to the live ammo part of the day, you've already smoothly and slowly pulled the trigger several times.

The best excercise, IMHO, is replicating the same thing you'll be doiing at the range.

Remember, when dry firirng, it is still a gun and should still be considered loaded and dangerous.

February 29, 2008, 01:09 PM
Others will be along shortly to give lots & lots of practice ideas. There are a ton of things you can do in dryfire at home. You can improve trigger pull to get rid of a flinch, you can practice moving while shooting, you can practice a smooth and efficient drawstroke, you can work out how to draw safely from concealment, you can practice working around cover, you can practice shooting from unconventional positions such as while crouched behind your bed, you can practice efficiently moving through your own home ... the list goes on and on and on.


Dryfire is very dangerous. (If you doubt me, please read this (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=282550) thread from another forum, a compiled list of unintentional discharges and how they happened.)

For safety's sake, please read this before you dryfire: www.corneredcat.com/Practice/dryfire.aspx


DCJS Instructor
February 29, 2008, 04:28 PM
“Dry Fire, Dry Practice, Dry Firing”

By: Tom Perroni

The motivation from this article came from a discussion I had with several firearms instructors. We were discussing the fact that some of the veteran officers who had recently come to the range to qualify were having problems with low scores. The same officers fresh out of training had much higher scores.

So the question was asked to the veteran and rookies: How often do you practice? The answer was not very often… The follow up question was how come? The answer was that going to the range was expensive and the officer simply did not have the funds available to practice on his or her own time. I was shocked since most of the training at my Academy is for Law Enforcement and Private Security. These folks are paid to deal with Deadly Force situations. And the Handgun is the most important tool of their trade. With their lives and the lives of the public at stake they should be at the very least proficient with this tool.

So my follow up question was have you ever heard of or practiced Dry Firing or Dry Practice? I was again surprised by the puzzled looks on the faces of these officers. One officer finally said, “What is Dry Firing?”

Dry Fire – This when the trigger is pulled without live ammunition in the firearm.
This method of training can be done just about anywhere and costs absolutely nothing. In this Instructors opinion it is vital to anyone who uses or carries a handgun. Essentially you are doing everything you would do at the range except your handgun is empty. (NO AMMO) The most important single fundamental skill in shooting - Trigger Control – is one which can best be improved off the range in dry practice. As I have stated in past articles there are (7) fundamentals of Handgun shooting which all can be practiced with Dry Fire.

Tips to get you Started

1. Safety: This is the most import facet of Dry Fire practice! Make sure the Handgun is UNLOADED! Make sure that all live ammo is out of the room or area you will be training in. Also make sure you have a suitable backstop. The use of snap caps is up to the shooter. Some people feel they protect the firing pin. However you can fire most modern firearms without causing any damage to the fringing pin or the action of the handgun. Consult your owner’s manual to be sure.

2. Targets: This is left up to the individual. You may use anything you like B-27 or an FBI –Q or life-size human target or a 3X5 index card or a spot on the wall; you will however need a reference point to aim at. This is important.

3. What should be practiced? I suggest practicing everything you do at the range - all seven fundamentals of marksmanship:

1. Stance
2. Grip
3. Sight Alignment
4. Sight Picture
5. Trigger Control / Press
6. Breathing
7. Follow Through

Also the draw which has (5) points, as well as reloading and safe high speed gun handling. There are several types of Reloads that can also be practiced.

A. 5 Points to the Draw

1. The firing hand secures a firing grip on the handgun while the support hand touches flat to the abdomen
2. The handgun is lifted straight up until it just clears the top of the holster. The trigger finger is straight on the Handgun. The support hand is still flat against the abdomen. The hand and the forearm are in line with the handgun.
3. The firing side elbow drops and the muzzle points directly toward the target. The support hand is still flat against the abdomen. The trigger finger is straight.
4. The handgun starts toward the target and the support hand establishes the proper grip. The muzzle never covers any part of the body. The trigger finger is still straight. The hands come together fingers over fingers and thumb over thumb
5. The handgun is at eye level and the finger is on the trigger.

Then we place the handgun back in the holster in the exact reverse order while maintaining eye contact with the target. “Do not look at the holster.”

B. Speed Reloads: These drills help develop muscle memory. Press the magazine release to drop the magazine while at the same time with the non shooting hand grab the fresh magazine from its pouch, indexed with your finger, and insert into the magazine well. If this is done correctly the magazines will pass each other in mid air.

C. Tap-Rack-Asses this drill clears malfunctions and or Jams and effectively “resets” the firearm.

Tap- means to smack the bottom of the magazine firmly enough to lock it into place or dislodge any bind in the magazine.

Rack- is a cycling of the slide to eject any hammered or dead casing or to re-chamber a new cartridge following a malfunction.

Assess- means being prepared to commence or resume fire as required by assessing the situation.

(These maneuvers most be able to be performed flawlessly and subconsciously any time the shooter experiences a failure to fire or malfunction)

3. How often should I practice “Dry Fire”?

Practicing the above drills for 10-15 minutes each day will greatly benefit the shooter. I have seen marked improvement in students who practiced these drills for just 2 days. However please remember Handgun Skills are like buying a car: if you do not make your payments the car will be repossessed. If you do not practice the new handgun skills you paid for they will also be repossessed.

In conclusion remember smooth is fast, and speed is economy in motion; Accuracy always takes precedence over speed. As John Skaggs from the Chapman Academy says “You should own two guns . One you wear out dry-firing and the other you shoot with.”

I urge you to spend the minimal time required to develop your “Dry Fire” skills with this cost-free method that will improve your life saving skills.

Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!

Tom Perroni is the owner, President and Chief Instructor of Perroni's Tactical Training Academy. Pulling on a five-year law enforcement operational background, Tom has spent the last fifteen years delivering training to government, military, law enforcement and private security companies. Tom is the Training Director for Golden Seal Enterprises Inc.. Tom is also a Contract Instructor for Blackwater Training Center. Tom appreciates feedback and can be reached through the Contact page on his company website at http://www.perronitactical.com

T. O'Heir
February 29, 2008, 10:26 PM
It's great practice for sight picture and trigger control.
"...compiled list of unintentional discharges and how they happened..." Operator failure.

March 1, 2008, 12:25 AM
Dry firing can also help the internals of a brand new gun "wear together" and help smooth out the action.

March 1, 2008, 12:15 PM
regarding dry-firing and handgun accuracy:

if you come from a background of shooting longarms, the gun is supported and stabilized at 3 points, 2 of which at a fair distance from the motion of trigger pull. when firing a handgun and these points are reduced to fractions of inches, any little sympathetic movement of the small muscles of the hand in reaction to the motion of the trigger finger can move the sight off target. dryfiring can help to isolate the muscle movements and make them more independent. the fingers of the hand are used to working as a unit in most activities. as a result, it's really difficult to just move one finger without the others wanting to join in the act.

i'm just speaking from a viewpoint of accuracy, aside from the benefits of practicing tactical drills, regarding which i defer to those much more experienced than myself.

March 3, 2008, 03:31 AM
I would do it more often if i didn't have a Glock. Is there some kind of modification to dryfire better with it?

March 3, 2008, 09:25 AM
I believe the poster is asking about dry firing for shotguns. The majority of responses are for handguns.

DCJS Instructor
March 3, 2008, 11:17 AM
shot guns alot mainly skeet and trap back 8 years ago. I am just now getting back into the sport. I have gone kind of crazy for it and have purchased two semi autos and one carbine in the last 3 months. I have read alot of posts about using snap caps to train with at home. Does dry firing at home really help you when you go to the range? If so what are some exercises I can do at home to help my accuracy at the range?:cool:

vox rationis
March 4, 2008, 02:40 PM
I'm no expert by any means, I'm just a concerned citizen that is concerned with his safety enough to have taken professional training to learn how to properly and safely employ arms for self defense. IMHO the single most important training drill is dry firing. It teaches you everything but managing the gun in rapid fire, and it builds the building block on which you can be good with rapid fire. Bottom line, learn a proper grip, sight alignment, focus on that front sight, and if that sucker (front sight) even minutely jiggles when the hammer/striker drops, well you need more practice.

To illustrate this with a practical example I have a buddy whom I've introduced to shooting, and he just isn't really improving much. His wife won't allow a gun in the house so he's relegated to only renting guns at the local range. He asked me what he should do to improve his precision. I told him that he needs to dry fire every day (which he can't do since he's not allowed to have a gun in the house). So the bottom line is that he'll never really improve since I don't see him renting a gun just to dry fire it for 15 minutes.

But with live ammo, when it goes off it totally hides how badly you've jerked that trigger/pushed with your thumb/squeezed your support fingers too much etc etc, making the sights go all over the place. Shooting live ammo totally hides the culprits of bad technique, as is not shooting at bullseyes (to begin with).

Another trick I learned from my first instructor is to use a revolver with a DA pull because this forces you to really learn trigger control and prep. WHILE AT A PROPER FIRING RANGE AND OBSERVING ALL SAFETY CONSTRAINTS, He'd also load some chambers with spent brass and some with live ammo. When you got to the dud, that was the moment of truth and you really saw how you were anticipating recoil by flinching/jerking the trigger etc. AGAIN WHILE AT THE RANGE AND OBSERVING ALL SAFETY CONDITIONS, I suppose you can mix some snap caps with live ammo in an auto, and when you get to the dud, you'll also see what your front sight dives/moves. Then you can also turn the exercise into a jam clearing exercise I suppose.

Once these basics are learned, only then can you have a hope to learn how to shoot well fast, in my opinion, for what its worth.

And last but not least, when I dry fire in the home, I always have all real ammo well away from me, in another room. And even still, even if I lay the gun down EVEN FOR A SECOND, when I pick it back up again, I always chamber check, always, always, always...safety has to become a pseudo-religion/ritualistic type of thing.

I believe the poster is asking about dry firing for shotguns. The majority of responses are for handguns.

DOUGHH! NEVERMIND...:D...but the principles for long guns/shotguns is essentially the same..To learn proper trigger control some will place a dime on their front sight (if your shotgun has one, and not a bead), and while aiming, they squeeezzze, as they are focusing on the front sight, focusing on the front sight, and try to have the firing pin drop with the front sight not moving at all and the dime not falling off, while dry firing of course. Breath control is also very important, but I've already written a novel here and I've got to go. Maybe someone else can cover that.

ESI Agent
March 5, 2008, 04:07 AM
When I went to boot camp before we ever fired a round we spent a week dryfiring in every position we were required to qualify in. The U.S. Olympic team also drys fires.

March 5, 2008, 11:07 PM
YES, dry firing can help with ANY type of gun... shotgun, rifle, pistol...

BUT, heed the already posted safety concerns. PLEASE. Also, dry firing is what you make of it. If you don't know what you are training toward when dry firing then you are just spinning your wheels. I've seen Marines dry firing that still jerked the trigger that last day of grass week because they didn't pay attention and think about it, and didn't know better because of that...

March 5, 2008, 11:56 PM
Do be sure of your gun model as well, as to whether you need snap caps. I just had a revolver's firing pin go on me last week while I was trying to work in a new set of springs. But that's the first time and I've got thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of dry-fires in with several makes and models. I've never used snap caps with handguns but use them in my bolt rifles and shotguns.

It's good stuff and will help though.

March 6, 2008, 12:39 AM
Only caution with dry firing is that you cannot dryfire a rimfire on an empty
chamber due to its construction-the firing pine will strike the rear of the breec
and soon be peened.

March 7, 2008, 02:18 PM
I am the original poster and I was asking about dry firing a pistol. Thanks guys for all the input. I think I will go out and buy a set of snap caps in my different calibers. My local sportsman's club is closed for a few weeks because they had some incidents with people shooting over the backstops or birms. The original construction and layout of this place was ridiculus to start with so this will be a much needed improvement. However it has left me with nowhere to shoot and I am about to go crazy. Sounds like this will be a good way to put some practice in until everything is back up and running.