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Old October 3, 2017, 09:23 AM   #1
johnwilliamson062
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Sufficient Backstop for dry-fire

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/p...safe-backstop/

Follwing a number of forum posts I found myself reading this article on Pax's site. A lot of good info concerning effective back-stops and some on what won't work. Seriously considering using the bucket of sand plant one.

There was a suggestion to hang a vest on the wall to shoo. When I read it I imagine a vest hanging from a hanger and a picture hanger flat against the wall. I wonder if this would work though. I think folding would be a major issue and regular sheet rock would probably not provide much if any support. Just wondering on your thoughts. It would certainly be better than plain sheet rock.

Any volunteers to try it out
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Old October 3, 2017, 02:14 PM   #2
ShootistPRS
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The first rule in dry fire practice is to clear the weapon and separate it from the ammo with plenty of distance. If you get interrupted in your dry fire practice you start from the beginning by clearing the weapon and separating the ammo.
It is always a good idea to know that you have a secure stop but guns don't load themselves and carelessness is avoidable. It is called dry fire because there is no ammo in the gun or available for the gun. It still requires your attention and safe mindset to perform.
For years I used the TV as my target. Todays flat screen TVs wouldn't stop a bullet but those old vacuum tube TVs would. I never did manage to kill a TV.
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Old October 3, 2017, 05:21 PM   #3
DaleA
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Quote:
For years I used the TV as my target...
I think I'm with ShootistPRS on this. Keep the ammo away from the gun and you won't have any problems dry firing.

That said, years and years ago our pistol league had a guest speaker, a guy who had been state pistol champ one year in one of the various competitions. He gave a marvelous talk on shooting and included a story of him being at a friends house and on the way out the friend said 'Oh you HAVE to try out the trigger on my new, worked over 1911. The friend got the gun handed it to him, he took a bead on the TV set and blew it away right in front of the friend's wife who was sitting on the couch watching a show. Not the guy's best moment firearms safety wise.

I always get uneasy when I recall that story. If a guy who is a state champion pistol shot, and undoubtedly has vastly more experience than me, can do something like that, what chance do I have of getting through life without having, what you might call, 'an incident'?
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Old October 3, 2017, 05:35 PM   #4
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If you own a house with a basement, every exterior wall works. If you own a home with an unoccupied basement, the floor of the ground floor works.
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Old October 3, 2017, 08:10 PM   #5
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Humans make mistakes. Making mistakes is pretty much the defining feature of a human being.

Carelessness may be avoidable. Mistakes are not.

The purpose of a safe backstop is to prevent a predictable, normal human mistake from turning into a tragedy.

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"When you dry fire at home, always have on hand paint that's the same color as the wall, and some spackle." -- Jim Cirillo
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Old October 3, 2017, 08:39 PM   #6
JoeSixpack
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There is no safe direction in my house if the gun was to be loaded.

I don't use any sort of dryfire backstop.

clearing, loading, or that first shot is taken at the floor.
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Old October 3, 2017, 09:29 PM   #7
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Every time you first touch an "unloaded" gun you clear it. I you unload a gun for maintenance or dry fire remove the ammo and clear the gun again. If you hand and "unloaded" gun to someone clear it first and expect them to clear it before handling. It's not complicated.

Conversely, if you believe a gun to be loaded verify with a press check.
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Old October 3, 2017, 10:08 PM   #8
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Unload.

Be sure it's unloaded.

... and then still follow the Other Three Rules.

Which includes being sure of your backstop before you touch the trigger.

People often object to handling an ostensibly unloaded gun with the same respect we'd give a loaded one. "That's redundant! I know it's unloaded!"

It is redundant, and that's the point.

Basic firearms safety rules are intended to overlap and be redundant.

When we put all of our safety eggs inside the "... but it's unloaded" basket, we set ourselves up for the type of unexpected loud noise that sends 16,000 people a year to emergency rooms, kills around 500 a year, and leaves crap in the underwear of countless others.

Follow the safety rules even when they are redundant. Follow them because they are redundant.

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If you have two ways of handling guns, one for ‘loaded’ guns and one for ‘unloaded’ ones, you will default to the wrong one in a moment of stress or inattention. – Chuck Haggard
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Old October 3, 2017, 10:28 PM   #9
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Oh, one more thing: Joe SixPack, it's good that the first shot is taken at the floor. You should know, though, that nearly all of the dozens of dryfire mishaps in my files involve the last shot -- not the first one.

It really isn't that hard to set up a good dryfire area. No big downside, lots of upside.

pax

The reality is that none of us is perfect. We have safety rules to minimize the chance of someone getting hurt, but if you are around guns often enough and long enough you are going to see mistakes happen. Eventually, you are going to make one yourself. The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake. – Todd Louis Green
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Old October 4, 2017, 12:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax View Post
You should know, though, that nearly all of the dozens of dryfire mishaps in my files involve the last shot -- not the first one.
How's that? if the gun doesn't go off when I pull the trigger how's it going to go off on the 2nd?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pax View Post
It really isn't that hard to set up a good dryfire area. No big downside, lots of upside.
Without setting up somethign like a plate of steel.. how?
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Old October 4, 2017, 12:37 AM   #11
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For what it's worth I use a Surestrike laser cartridge with barrel insert/red screw on cap at the muzzle. Insert screws to cartridge red tip screws to flag.

Of course still follow safety rules etc.
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Old October 4, 2017, 10:22 AM   #12
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Use different, dedicated mags when dry-firing

I use a 7 round mag when dry firing my PPS. I usually carry an 8 rnd magazine.
I have left one of my P99c magazines w/out a Talon Grip covering. That is my dry fire magazine.
My dry fire magazines stay on the kitchen counter and never go to where I keep my ammo.
Each magazine has a dedicated snap cap left in it, so I don't worry about moving the cap or being comfortable picking up a magazine for dry firing that doesn't have a snap cap already in it.

It's my system. I'm not sure where the weakness is, but it's not failed yet.

be safe.
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Old October 4, 2017, 10:40 AM   #13
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My backstop is any direction where there's not people or pets. Most often it's an image on the TV or some sketchy looking trees I can see through my windows.

But I triple check that my firearm is unloaded, and if I set it down for any reason, I check it again when I pick it up even if it hasn't left my sight. If I put my gun on the armrest of the couch to take a drink, I check that it's unloaded again when I pick it up 10 seconds later.
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Old October 4, 2017, 11:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
How's that? if the gun doesn't go off when I pull the trigger how's it going to go off on the 2nd?
Not the 2nd -- the last.

The usual pattern is, someone has been dryfiring for awhile. Just as they finish up and reload the gun, they get interrupted -- maybe by someone walking into the room & talking to them, maybe by a phone ringing or a text message, maybe something catches their eye on the TV. Whatever.

The interruption goes away, and they turn their attention back to the gun. What was I doing? Oh, yeah, dry fire. BLAM.

In some cases, they had literally walked out of the room to retrieve the magazine with live rounds in it before they made that mistake.

Quote:
Without setting up somethign like a plate of steel.. how?
Box of books. Old phone books work. Or just a box full of newspapers, stacked solidly. Tape it shut and turn it on end so you'd be firing through the layers and not into the edges.

Or the long end of a full bookcase. Again, not into the edges or spines of the books but through the end of the bookcase so the bullet would have to go through layers.

Bucket of sand. Disguise it to look like a house plant, if you're into home decor.

We took a bunch of clothes up to the range along with an old dresser drawer and selection of different calibers of handgun. I was shocked to discover that a solidly-packed pile of folded clothes will in fact stop a bullet from traveling beyond the drawer. But I don't recommend that as a regular thing, because if it's been too long since you've done laundry the drawer might not be full enough.

pax

‘Everything that we were doing was consistent with what we should have been doing,’ Morgan said. ‘There is no live ammunition in our classes.’ – Brenden Sager in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporting on an incident in which a police firearms instructor fatally shot a recruit
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Old October 4, 2017, 11:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
My backstop is any direction where there's not people or pets. Most often it's an image on the TV or some sketchy looking trees I can see through my windows.
You are aware that bullets can travel much further than your eye can easily see, I hope.

Also...

Quote:
But I triple check that my firearm is unloaded, and if I set it down for any reason, I check it again when I pick it up even if it hasn't left my sight. If I put my gun on the armrest of the couch to take a drink, I check that it's unloaded again when I pick it up 10 seconds later.
This is putting all the safety eggs in the "...but I checked it!" basket. Countless other people -- just as smart as you are, just as experienced, just as skilled -- have found out the hard way that that's not a good idea.

pax

You know, a 5 gallon bucket of play sand next to the safe is a lot cheaper than some drywall work and buying a new TV. – Peter Barrett
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Old October 4, 2017, 12:07 PM   #16
JoeSixpack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax View Post
Not the 2nd -- the last.

The usual pattern is, someone has been dryfiring for awhile. Just as they finish up and reload the gun, they get interrupted -- maybe by someone walking into the room & talking to them, maybe by a phone ringing or a text message, maybe something catches their eye on the TV. Whatever.
I see what you're saying now.

I guess every direction is safe in my house then.. Im a packrat if all it takes is stacking up crap to shoot into.. I don't have space to stack phone books.

Neighors better just hope I keep my wit's about me then lol.
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Old October 4, 2017, 12:12 PM   #17
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Four score and seven years ago, I once was going through my safe. I pulled out a favorite 12ga shotgun and loaded it with 4 shells, checking function to see if it needed cleaning or other caressing.

I cycled all 4 shells out and started to put it in the safe. The muzzle was about 6" away from my left ear, finger was still on the trigger and somehow pulled. I wasn't thinking about it, I was concentrating on room in the safe. BOOM!

I've now verified that a brick chimney will stop bird shot at virtually point blank range, I am deaf in my left ear, my wife, who was in the room above me in bed was [and still is] clueless as the brick deflected the shot, and I had to run a very small load of laundry and a very warm shower because all my blood was puckering my bung hole.

Point is I forgot somehow about a 5th shell left in the tube. I hadn't touched that firearm in months. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS VERIFY THE BREECH VISUALLY, Then cycle it and do it again - redundancy saves lives!!!
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Old October 4, 2017, 02:22 PM   #18
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Pasture clays

I have a friend who I have been shooting with since we were kids. I trust him.

We shoot pasture clays every now and again. Stopped by the other day, and he went in and got his old Win Model 50. He handed me the shotgun.

He pulled back the bolt and a live round came out of the chamber. He said he was sorry, didn't know it was loaded.

I said Alan, just be really happy that both of us are here so that you can apologize.
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Old October 4, 2017, 02:26 PM   #19
T. O'Heir
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There's no ammo involved with dry firing. Hence, no backstop is required.
"...used the TV as my target..." Roy, Hoppy and Saunders never would have survived without our help. snicker.
"...Oh, yeah, dry fire. BLAM..." Operator failure. AKA stupid.
"...loaded it with 4 shells, checking function..." You don't do that either. S'what DP rounds are for.
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Old October 4, 2017, 02:37 PM   #20
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I have a friend who will validate that a tube-style TV will stop a .45 ACP silver tip.

Might not be a bad idea to prop us an old vest in the corner and use that.
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Old October 4, 2017, 03:28 PM   #21
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I had never really thought about it much, but I seem to usually make sure I have a safe backstop, anyway.

Even when just taking a "known-empty" firearm out of the safe, or picking one up off the work bench, I'll point it in a safe direction (including taking into account the potential whereabouts of persons upstairs, persons in other rooms, neighbors' homes, etc.), while verifying that it's unloaded. Occasionally, that means pointing it back into the safe. Better to splinter a bunch of rifle stocks and dent my safe, than to kill someone...

For actual dry fire, I don't remove ammunition from the room, as some would suggest. I do often use a target half way across the basement, or the "TV" (computer monitor) as my visual reference / target. But the "TV" has a safe backstop, as does the target; and dry firing doesn't happen when other people are in the basement.


A few weeks ago, I needed to run some dummy rounds through a project rifle. I know they're dummies. I put them together as dummies. They're marked as dummies. And the rifle didn't even have a hammer installed at that time, because I had previously upped the ante from dummies to live rounds (pulling the hammer is easier than removing the firing pin).
But I still walked to the other end of the house for that function testing, because the only safe backstop near the workbench at that time was a concrete wall. ...And I didn't feel like getting blasted by shrapnel if, somehow, for whatever reason, the rifle discharged.


Some call it prudence.
Some call it safety.
Some call it paranoia.
Either way... I hope to never have an ND, myself.
I've been on the other side of the wall or floor for three NDs by other people; and right behind a person that fired three rounds down their pant leg, through their shoe, and through the floor into the basement (somehow not drawing blood). It may be more paranoia for me...
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Old October 4, 2017, 08:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
"...Oh, yeah, dry fire. BLAM..." Operator failure. AKA stupid normal, predictable, common human mistake.
FTFY.

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The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake. – Todd Louis Green
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Old October 5, 2017, 03:31 AM   #23
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As indicated previously, unload the weapon and place ammo a great distance from weapon. If using snap caps check to make sure all are in fact snap caps and check often while dry firing for loading/ unloading drills.
When the weapon is reloaded do not place it near you for a period of time for you to reprogram your brain. I once violated my own rules and had my off duty pistol on the end table while dryfiring it’s twin with a magazine of snap caps. Some sort of distraction occurred and instead of using the previously cleared pistol I picked up the loaded one and hand cycled a live round into the chamber while dumping a live round on the floor. The tree in the front yard absorbed the projectile, fortunately the only loss was a portion of window screen.

Last edited by Ibmikey; October 5, 2017 at 03:43 AM.
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Old October 5, 2017, 07:49 PM   #24
johnwilliamson062
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No one wants to address whether a vest hanging against the wall would stop anything, run a test, or dig up a youtube video?

Being able to say "It hasn't happened to me" doesn't preclude one from being a fool.
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Old October 5, 2017, 09:13 PM   #25
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Whups, sorry johnwilliamson062 -- meant to put this in my first post, got busy.

Keep in mind, we are in the context here of firing a single round -- most people don't keep firing after the first loud mistake. Folding etc would be much less of a concern than if we were talking about using it as a multi-shot barrier.

In any case, some friends and I took a vest to the range one day a long time ago. Hung it over a cardboard target.

Worked fine for a half-dozen shots.

Based on that experience (which was not sheet rock or an interior wall, but somewhat flimsier), I say it's trustworthy.

pax

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