For anyone with an interest in developing their firearm proficiency, the practice of “dry firing” is something that absolutely has to be taken into consideration – and dry firing training practices are increasingly being recommended by various firearms instructors around the world.
“Dry firing” describes the act of “firing” a gun that has no ammunition in it whatsoever, so that there is no chance of any projectile leaving the weapon. Whereas the practice was discouraged for certain older models of firearm, it is completely fine to dry fire modern firearms without any risk to the mechanisms of the gun.
When all is said and done, though, is dry fire training actually just as good as live fire training, or not? Is something important being lost by doing training drills that don’t involve you actually discharging a weapon?
While every firearm owner should routinely get down to the range to fire off live rounds, there are many reasons to think that dry fire training is just as good as live fire training in many ways – and may even be better in certain ways. The key is to combine both types of training in an effective and dynamic manner.
Here are some of the benefits of dry fire training.
Dry fire training is a lot cheaper and easier to set up and live fire training
One very important benefit of dry fire training over live fire training, is that dry fire training is much cheaper. In fact, it can even be free, unless you want to buy a bunch of props and gadgets to help enrich your firearm training experience.
For another thing, dry fire training can be set up and engaged in more or less on the spur of the moment, or at least with minimal preparation.
By contrast, live fire training involves going to a specific location, or establishing very specific conditions, and will typically involve a pretty significant cost when the price of all the ammunition you are using is factored in.
Dry fire training is a lot safer than live fire training, and allows you to train in more dynamic situations
Easily one of the biggest benefits of dry fire training is that it is infinitely safer than live fire training – at least, assuming you have properly cleared your firearm and magazines before dry fire training, and don’t accidentally get a shot off.
When dry fire training is carried out properly, there is no risk of anyone getting hurt. This means that you are able to carry out dry fire training drills in far more dynamic situations than you would be with live fire.
For example, you can realistically do dry fire training drills that involve clearing a home of intruders, without the risk that you might actually shoot a member of your family while aiming at a target cut out of a bad guy.
Dry fire training allows you to tailor your training to your own unique circumstances, rather than just relying on general range work
Since live fire training can only be responsibly carried out in very precise conditions, the reality of the situation is that you are only really likely to perform any significant live fire drills at a registered shooting range.
The reality of firearm use, however, is that if it ever does happen that you actually need to discharge your weapon in order to defend yourself or your family, there’s a good chance that it will be in or around your own home – or in surroundings that the local shooting range might not do a good job of replicating.
Dry fire training allows you to tailor your training to your own unique circumstances, by allowing you to do drills in and around your home, or to practice in areas that more effectively simulate the kinds of environments you are likely to be in, if a violent altercation was to take place.
Dry fire allows you to get your form right without the distraction and intensity of live shots going off
Training your reflexes and muscle memory to load, aim, and fire your weapon with proper form is extremely important. But if you’re doing the bulk of your training in live fire situations, there is a good chance that the intensity of the shots going off, and the accompanying noise, will throw you off track and cause you to compromise your form.
Dry fire training is, obviously, less “exciting.” That means that it allows you to drill your form and technique over and over again, to the point that it becomes thoroughly ingrained.