What is it and why do it? Simply put, “dry firing” involves going through all of the shooting steps but without using live ammunition. Those with a tendency to “jerk” their firearm while shooting can employ this technique to improve the way they pull the trigger.
Some people don’t like to practice dry firing. Why? Because it’s boring; you don’t get to hear the sound of an explosion nor do you feel the energy from pulling the trigger when firing a live round. In fact, you don’t even get to see the results of the round on your target downrange. Count me as one of the guys that hates doing dry firing but doing it makes me a better shooter.
What are some of the other advantages to dry firing? Well, how about cost savings? You don’t have to spend any money on ammunition. No range fees, or spending money on cleaning supplies. And how about time savings? You won’t have to clean your weapon and you won’t need to travel to a range. Not bad.
Yes, you can actually become a better shooter from spending less than 10 minutes a day on practicing dry firing. Did I mention that it was boring? If you want to excel at shooting then dry firing is a good thing to do for a beginning shooter and for a more advanced shooter you can work out your kinks. You need to get into the habit of practicing it.
If you believe that doing it is a chore, it will be a chore. I talk myself out of negative thinking and remind myself how important it is to practice. When your mind is committed to the task you just may learn something valuable when practicing.
I have heard so much about the damage done to your firing pin but with modern weapons this is pretty much non-existent. The one thing to not do is fire rimfire guns. With a rimfire weapon the firing pin can strike the edge of the chamber and cause damage over time. If you want to play it safe then use snap caps for dry firing. Snap caps are plastic cartridges without the primer, propellant or a projectile and they come in various sizes.
Snap caps are used to ensure that when dry firing your weapon the firing pin doesn’t damage components of your weapon. A set of snap caps can be purchased for between $10-20 dollars.
Okay, so how do you get started with practicing dry firing?
- Find a room where you can practice without being undisturbed. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded. You do not want to have someone walk into the room while your weapon is pointed at them; it doesn’t matter if the weapon is unloaded. No one likes to have a weapon pointed at them when they enter a room.
- Before you begin practicing in your “room of solitude” ensure that your weapon is unloaded. Ensure the firearm is unloaded by removing the magazine and checking the chamber. DO this at least twice. Never dry fire at a target that you would not shoot at with live ammunition.
- Pick a wall with something on it to aim at, preferably a small target, in order to “aim small and miss small”.
- Try to get in anywhere from 15-20 trigger pulls without putting any outward pressure to one side on the other of the weapon. Keep your weapon in line with the target. Pull your finger back on the trigger and attempt to perform a nice, smooth trigger pull. Wait for the sound of the “click”.
- Were your sights on target? If they weren’t then you should make the necessary adjustments until your sights can be lined up on the target as you pull the trigger.
- If you begin to get fatigued practicing this it is a good sign to quit. You will not get anything more from practicing sloppily.
- Dry firing once a week is a good way to improve your trigger pull.