If you’re going to own firearms, then it’s essential that you get plenty of training. While the basics of firearm safety and use are simple enough to be taught in less than an hour, it can take years of practice and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition to fully master them. Shooting is a skill and like any other skill, it improves the more you learn and the more you use what you’ve learned.
But if you’re like me, you don’t have the money to go to the shooting range every day to practice. Not only does all that ammunition cost a lot, but there’s the time element as well. For me, it’s a 20 minute drive to the range, so going means taking an absolute minimum of an hour out of my day and usually considerably more.
There’s an alternative however; one that I’ve made very good use of for years. That’s to do dry fire practice in my home, on those days when I can’t go to the range (that’s most of them).
Dry fire practice is so useful because the most important element of shooting accurately isn’t sight picture, but rather trigger control. If your sights are misaligned, the most it’s going to make you get off the center of your target is a few inches; but jerking the trigger can push you off target by a foot or more. That’s really what dry fire practice is all about, working on trigger control, although it is useful for other things as well.
So working on trigger control has huge benefits and it can be worked on at home, in just a few minutes a day, without the use of ammo. That makes it worthwhile to the prepper.
Basic dry fire practice is merely shooting at a spot on the wall, with an unloaded gun. That’s enough to allow you to work on sight picture and trigger control. Firing a couple dozen air bullets a day at that spot on the wall will show a marked improvement when you go to the range.
But there are also things that you can do in dry fire, which most ranges won’t allow you to do, such as practicing drawing and firing. There are valid safety reasons why they don’t want you practicing that at the range, like someone shooting themselves in the foot. But those aren’t an issue with dry fire, because there’s no ammunition in the gun. Nevertheless, the practice in grasping, drawing, presenting and aiming the gun is worthwhile, should you even need it.
While you’re practicing drawing, you might as well practice reloading as well. The second or two it takes to eject the magazine and replace it with another one, and then get back on target, can be critical, with an enemy trying to take advantage of the lull in your firing. But that’s assuming that you can change magazines in a second or two. If it takes longer, it could give them a real advantage.
Speaking of seconds being critical, there’s also the issue of dealing with jams and misfires. Most people haven’t reached the point of doing that automatically, without having to think about it. Adding jam drills to your dry fire practice will eliminate that problem.
Finally, make sure that you take some time to do building clearing drills, there in your home. Doing it now, while there aren’t any intruders, allows you the opportunity to think through how to do it, without putting yourself unnecessarily at risk. That way, if you ever suspect that someone has broken into your home, you’ll be ready.