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Let's settle this: Dry firing -- worth breaking the rules?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by BHPshooter, Mar 13, 2004.

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  1. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Member

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    Like others who are trying to learn the elusive art of the pistol, I have taken to dry-fire practice. And I do it a lot. When I do it, I use A-ZOOM Snap Caps, which are red colored. I also have two post-ban neutered mags that I use to practice reloads, etc. that never have ammunition in them unless at the range.

    I enjoy dry firing at the TV, especially when the news is on.

    But is it worth breaking the rules? To dry fire, one must point at something which they would probably not want destroyed, and they must pull the trigger.

    What is the answer? Dry-fire to hone technique, or follow the rules vigilantly?

    Wes
     
  2. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    I don't see a problem with it as long as:

    Keep all live ammo far far away

    Check and recheck that the gun is empty

    Don't point it anywhere you wouldn't point a loaded gun
     
  3. 444

    444 Member

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    You can dry fire without breaking any of the rules.
    Snapping your gun at the TV obviously doesn't qualify unless you don't care about shooting your TV.

    I have been to two of the major shooting schools and they both had a class on dry fire and gave specific proceedures for dry fire.
    A couple of the highlights that come to mind were: never dry fire at objects that are a permenent fixture in your house like the TV, light switches etc. Have a dry fire practice target that you use only for dry practice and that you put away when you are done dry firing. This is to prevent you from one day picking up a gun and firing a round into one of these objects. I use a paper silhouette target that is taped to a cardboard IDPA target. I take it out, dry fire, and put it away.
    Another thing is that when you are dry firing, that is all you are doing. In other words you don't have any distractions. You say to yourself, I am going to dry fire for 10 minutes or whatever. You don't have the TV or radio on, you don't have other people in the room. You don't answer the telephone. This time is set aside for nothing but dry practice. You unload your gun and place the ammo in another room. They recommend that you have a specific container that you place your ammo in every time you dry practice. You focus all your attention on dry practice for that length of time and stop. You say to yourself, dry practice is over and you do not under any circumstances take even one more sight picture.
    You choose a safe backstop for your dry practice. It might be a block wall, a fireplace, a bullet trap, a steel block or something that would actually stop a round if you had an ND.
    There is more and if you are all that interested I can dig the material out for you.

    Sitting around the house snapping your gun at objects in the house with other distractions present is how accidents happen.
     
  4. fix

    fix Member

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    I admit to dry firing at some threads on L&P. :D

    Seriously, just use common sense.
     
  5. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Dry fire with a safe backstop.
     
  6. tyme

    tyme Member

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    Most of these tragedies, including the recent one involving guncite students, result from dry firing at humans. If you're going to dry fire, don't dry fire at yourself, your friend, or your cat. Ever.

    You might still hit your neighbor through a wall or two, but that's less than certain even if the gun is still loaded. The chance of hurting someone if you're "dry firing" a loaded gun at them is 100%. And it shows. So many "accidents" of "guns going off" happen when people are dry firing at other people. If you've unknowingly botched the unloading process (which is pretty tough unless you cut corners), it pays to be wildly cautious and paranoid, making sure the first (few) "dry fires" have a negligible chance of hurting someone.

    These incidents have convinced me to strictly follow a new procedure: Unload gun. Double check / lock back the slide if it's a pistol. Dry fire at least once into the ground. Believe that the gun will fire, and get practice avoiding flinching in the process, even though I believe I'm about to put a hole in the floor. If I put the gun down and stop paying attention or lose sight of it, it's loaded and I go through the whole process again.

    Then it boils down to how much you trust yourself. If you really trust that you've unloaded the gun and that there wasn't a failure to fire when you shot at the ground, shoot whatever you want.... your TV, your computer, your lights...
     
  7. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    I dry fire in my basement. I have 2 walls set aside that are my "safe" backstop. I do something similar to 444 and I stick targets up on those walls.

    Dry fire is a must if you really want to become good with your weapon.
     
  8. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    It wouldn't have occurred to me in a hundred years to dry-shoot at anything but targets.
     
  9. Ryder

    Ryder Member

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    I don't dry fire a heck of a lot beyond familiarization with a new gun while smoothing out it's trigger out over a period of a couple days. I did it a lot more frequently with my first handgun but as I see it the purpose of dry firing is to master trigger control and sight alignment. As far as I am concerned once it is learned it is learned. How many people do you know of that go out just to practice their driving? All dry firing seems good for to me these days is a sore trigger finger.

    Here's an interesting new scientific study on how the brain learns and how it utilizes that experience. To paraphrase: You mainly learn things "the first time" you do them. Fine tuning beyond that is difficult because you can't un-program your brain not to take the shortcuts it will automatically use to recall previous memories. Learning Study

    Memories become stored while you sleep. There are many studies on this but here is one for example (Memory Storage). So it is not unreasonable to assume the first time for learning something can span a period of time, make the most of those early sessions.
     
  10. 444

    444 Member

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    "..........the purpose of dry firing is to master trigger control and sight alignment."
    You are not using your imagination. You draw can be perfected, your draw from concealment can be perfected, magazine changes can be perfected, position shooting can be perfected...............................................................
    I have become such a big believer in dry practice that I actually think it is better than live firing for about 90% of the skills needed to be a serious shooter. I even read a post on another board where a guy dry practices to perfect his shooting on the move. He has a target in front of his treadmill and combines dry practice with a workout.
    I am sort of teaching a friend and his wife how to shoot. They have three young kids and can't get out to shoot as often as they would like. Everytime we go out to shoot I spend half the day telling them: "Notice how you could learn this through dry practice ?"

    "As far as I am concerned once it is learned it is learned."
    I disagree. Shooting skills are perishable. You need to practice and practice some more. NO ONE can just stop shooting for a year and pick up right where they left off. A good example would be those of us who go to formal shooting schools. No matter how much you practice, you are never as good as you are that fourth and fifth day of the class. You are really tuned up after shooting all day for three or four days in a row. The super fine edge you have will be gone within a week.
     
  11. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    I also disagree. Shooting is a motor skill that must be repeated to maintain proficiency and dry firing is a way to get practice between range visits. Plus, I know a bunch of people that practice "driving" every chance they get. They also practice putting. If it was simply a matter of "learning it," there would be no need for spring/pre-season training for professional sports teams.
     
  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I did when I raced.
     
  13. 444

    444 Member

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    I am beating a dead horse here, but one of the primary aspects of my jobs is driving. I drive fire apparatus. Now I have been driving for years. I have been driving emergency vehicles for years. But every year we go through a driving course where we practice high speed manuvers, high speed braking, controlling skids, controlling skids in very heavy vehicles that have water sloshing around................................................................................

    I can honestly say that this training saved the life of me and my partner as well as a half dozen citizens one day. I was responding at fairly high speed on a call when I came around a curve to find a three car accident right in front of me with all the occupants standing in the freeway on the oncoming traffic side of the accident. It was this training that enabled me to control the skid and manuver the vehicle to keep from hitting them.
     
  14. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    Just practice driving? Never. On occasion though, I do find an empty parking lot or something to practice defensive manuvers, countersteer, panic braking, ect.
     
  15. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Member

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    I do that every time. I even re-clear the weapon if my attention is diverted and the gun is still in my hand.

    I also do that. My bedroom is in the basement, so 3 of the 4 walls are concrete and mostly underground. I have targets on two of those walls, and that's usually where I dry fire, unless it's watching TV.

    I suppose I sound paranoid, but just as the famous quote says "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," I also think the same way with safety.

    My problem, basically, is that I feel like dry-firing desensitizes me from proper safe gunhandling. Conflicting with that feeling is the knowledge of how much dry-firing practice has helped me at the range.

    Am I being too anal? Perhaps making a routine where I only dry-fire a certain time of day at a certain place would help...?

    Wes
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Well, if it helps, I recall Col (All guns are always loaded--never point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy) Cooper recounting in writing how he practices by dryfiring his rifle at the TV.

    Since he made up the rules in question and yet fails to follow them in certain instances, that would exonerate you in a similar instance.

    Just be careful, check, double check, recheck and follow the same check, double...etc procedure each time you set the gun down and pick it back up.
     
  17. sendec

    sendec member

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    Skill is infinite

    and can always be improved. Everything I do is practice for doing it better. Dry firing is an essential training tool, but so is adherence to safety rules. If you ignore either to suit the other you are screwed. You need to expect a "bang" every time you press the trigger, even if it is during dry fire.

    How many auto accidents are caused by driver inattention which is just another term for complacency. Once anyone thinks they have mastered anything complacency will show them otherwise. Hopefully the only damage is to property and pride.

    For some reason I doubt Cooper would mind shooting his TV a whole lot. Given the state of programming I have considered doing it on purpose;)
     
  18. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    The four rules are absolute. What you choose as your target is up to you. If you don't care if you accidentally destroy your TV and there is nothing you care about destroying behind it go for it. It's your call. I do know a person who shot his TV way back in the Carter years when the president's image came on the screen. I knew a former police officer (now deceased) who came upstairs after safe dryfire practive in the basement and promptly shot the full lenght missor at the end of the hall. Told me he didn't realize he had loaded when he stopped practice.

    I would recommend announcing out loud that you are placing your weapon back into carry condition at the end of a practice session. This isn't a warning to anyone but yourself that your weapon is now loaded. If you decide to practice some more, go therough the entire ritual of unloading, picking your target and starting training again.

    Jeff
     
  19. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Dry firing is personal .... viz, NO ONE else involved.

    That said .... it is then incumbent on you (the ''shooter'') to be mindful of the weapon's status ... you check and check .. and check again .. if you are satisfied the gun contains no live ammo (it is STILL loaded ... rule #1) .. then go ahead ..

    No probs IF rule #2 is obeyed totally ... should any screw-up have occurred then no harm will befall anything important. That will work.

    RULE #2 IS THE FINAL ''CATCH-ALL'' So sez P95! :) :neener:
     
  20. 444

    444 Member

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    "Since he made up the rules in question and yet fails to follow them in certain instances, that would exonerate you in a similar instance."
    Word has it that he had an ND in a Las Vegas hotel several years ago during the SHOT show. I am not 100% sure of this, but the person who told me this confirmed it with hotel security (or said he did).

    The thread that seems to tie all the dry fire safety rules together is that it is not to be taken casually. You don't just do it any time you feel like it. You don't just do it where ever you feel like it. You make it a ritual with a set proceedure every time and you don't deviate from this. You do it in a place you designated as a dry fire area. You dry fire at a specific target that you use only for dry fire and you leave hanging up only during a designated dry fire session. Before each dry fire session you unload your weapon and place the ammo in a specific container in another room. You do not permit anything or anybody to interfere with the dry fire session so that your attention is not diverted from the task at hand. When you are done dry firing, you say to yourself "I am done dry firing" and you do not dry fire again without going through the whole proceedure again.

    At Gunsite they use an example of a ND that happened to Bill Jordan. For those of you not familiar with Bill Jordan, he was a long time gun writer. He was a Marine combat vet. He was a career law enforcement officer. He was a legendary exhibition shooter. He had seen the elephant many times over his life in both the military and as a law enforcement officer. The reason they use him as an example is because if it happened to him, it could happen to you. Experience is no magic spell that prevents this from happening to you.
    The story goes like this. Jordan was dry practicing in his office; A San Diego area office of the US Border Patrol. When he was done, he reloaded his pistol. At that time he got a phone call. When he hung up he said to himself, "What was I doing before that phone call ?" "Oh yeah, I was dry practicing". He fired a shot that killed someone in the next room.
     
  21. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Dry fire is the single most important component of any competitor's practice regime. I never have ammo in the same room I dry fire in and the guns I dry fire are never loaded off of the range. Unlike many folks, I don't dry fire my carry gun, I shoot it live fire once a week.
     
  22. Ryder

    Ryder Member

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    I see the points in your disagreements. Especially regarding "the edge". True enough, it's like riding a bike, you never forget how but the difference would be discernable to anybody if it's been a while since your last ride.

    If I needed a skill on a frequent basis I'd want such an edge. These days I think I get enough practice using loaded guns to keep from getting rusty.

    I also understand the sentiment behind always expecting a bang when you pull the trigger (safety), but I find the opposite mindset provides me with better results on the target. Anticipation causes flinching.
     
  23. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Dry fire practice of a center fire handgun is a recognized training method. It does nothing to harm the firearm and is absolutely the best way to learn sight picture and trigger control and it's fun. Use a target though. Unless there's a good movie on and the hero needs your help.
    Stories about cops shooting things accidentally is just more evidence that they are the most dangerous human beings that use firearms while making a living.
     
  24. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Perhaps the government should erect a memorial to all of the TVs that have selflessly given their lives in training our law enforcement officers over the years.
     
  25. EvilOmega

    EvilOmega Member

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    "It has long been my custem when getting ready for a hunt to sit in front of the televisor during an evning with the peice across my knees, safty on. Whenever a commercial appears with the letter "O" or a zero in it, I attempt to mount the peice as I snap the safty off and achieve a clean suprise break on the center of that O. If there are two Os, as in Coors, it is up to me to snap that bolt and hit one and then the other before the inscription disappears. I have been chided on this as violating Rule 2, but i respond by saying that i can get along very well without my televisor, but I need my rifle skill. (And so far I have not blown anything away.)"

    Col. Jeff Cooper
    The Art of the Rifle pg 19

    I had my copy handy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2004
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