The black cloud of the 2020 ammo shortage had one silver lining. The lack of ammo brought proper attention to dry fire practice. Today, the great ammo shortage of 2020 is over. There’s plenty of ammo. It’s just too expensive to use on the daily. So, dry fire it is. But the practice of dry firing still needs more attention, more accolades, and more instruction, so here goes.
Why Should You Dry Fire?
In 2020, the reason was simple: you didn’t have any ammo. Now, you’ve got ammo, but ammo is too expensive to use. Before 2020, the answer was the real answer: practice and weapon familiarity. I don’t mean “familiarity” in the sense of “are you familiar with this weapon?” No, we should change the term to “weapon intimacy.” Dry firing is how you become intimate with your firearm. No, I don’t mean that kind of intimate. I mean knowing every action of your firearm as if it’s an extension of your body.
You know the exact stages of your trigger, the precise action of your slide. You’ve racked that slide and reset that trigger thousands and thousands of times. You’ve dropped that empty mag and reloaded another empty mag thousands of times. You know exactly how your gun feels all the time.
There’s a comparison that works here, much like it works with Bible study. When the Department of the Treasury trains new agents to recognize counterfeit bills, the training does not involve seeing or studying any counterfeit bills. No. Instead, the agents spend so much time and become so intimate with the real dollar bill that they recognize a fake instantly.
That’s dry fire. That’s how well you should know your firearm.
When Should You Dry Fire?
OK, that’s a little too short. I’ve heard a lot of “rules of thumb” type standards here, the easiest combines two of them.
- Dry fire daily.
- Dry fire at least 100 trigger pulls for every live round you fire.
The math works backwards from there. How often do you go to the range to shoot 100 or so rounds at 63¢ per round? Let’s say you’re fairly active, and go to your range 3 times per week, and shoot 100 rounds each time. That’s 300 rounds a week. So, you should dry fire at least 3,000 trigger pulls (add in mag dumps, slide racks, resets, and reloads) per week. That’s a little over 400 per day, if you are consistent and dry fire on the days you also go to the range.
That’s just one standard, but you get the point. You do you.
I feel like we already covered this. So I’ll go a little different direction. What’s your goal? Prepare accordingly.
The results of consistent, repetitive dry fire practice include, but are not limited to, the following:
- If you’re drawing from a holster, faster & safer reholster
- More accurate shooting
- Faster resets and reloads
- Steadier aim
- Better/Faster target reacquisition
- Clean, smooth trigger pulls
- Complete firearm intimacy (there’s that word again)
So, whatever your goal is, does it include one or more of these? If so, the more you dry fire, the better you will get at any or all of these.
One Simple Drill
The goal is to hold your gun completely steady through the trigger pull. For this drill, prepare to dry fire, and then place a penny (or any other coin) on the front site of your pistol. Then pull the trigger. One of the most common faults in anyone’s trigger pull is literally pulling to one side or the other. If that coin drops, you know you’re not holding still. Repeat until you can complete a trigger pull without dropping the coin.
Does It Damage Your Gun?
No. Next question. OK, sorry, I did that again. Your firearm was designed and built to fire over and over and over again. Firing without ammo in the chamber is actually easier on the firearm than hosting a miniature explosion. Pulling the trigger without a LIVE round in the chamber will not hurt your gun. It’s as simple as that, so don’t let that erroneous thought be a deterrent to good dry fire practice.
How often and how much do you dry fire?