Tag Archives: handgun safety

SKILLS: 4 Dry-Fire Drills To Challenge Any New Shooter

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Learning to shoot better is from a balance of live fire at the range and dry-fire away from the range. Do it with a purpose to get the most from it! READ HOW

dry fire

SOURCE: Team SpringfieldPosted by Ivan Gelo

Dry-practice should be a fairly significant and useful portion of your training package — especially when learning a new technique or focusing on specific principals like the four below.

SAFETY FIRST
Let’s start with the basic safety rules for dry-firing:

CONDUCT with your full concentration — no distractions.
ENSURE the gun is unloaded — no magazine inserted.
VISUAL & TACTILE CHECK — With the slide (or bolt) locked back (via the ejection port) look into the barrel chamber and down through the grip area toward the magazine well to confirm that the firearm is unloaded and no magazine is inserted.
DOUBLE CHECK that all magazines are unloaded — no live ammo.
REMOVE all ammunition from the dry-fire area.
PLACE targets to use as specific aiming points.
CHOOSE a suitable backstop / direction, so that if a round was to discharge, your backstop stops the bullet and causes no injury and minimal physical damage.

Before doing that first trigger press — CHECK AGAIN that the gun is unloaded. Once you’ve gone through the safety checklist, you’re ready to start your dry-fire practice.

1. TRIGGER PRESS DRILL
This is a great exercise that focuses on keeping the gun as still as possible while learning to manipulate the trigger quickly:

Rack slide to set the trigger.
With the gun in your two-handed firing grip at full presentation, bring the gun back to your “natural handclap position” while maintaining grip pressure and hand positions. (I got this description from Ron Avery many years ago — thanks Ron!)

Focus your attention downward, where you are essentially looking over the top of the gun — you are primarily seeing the top of the slide. Press the trigger as you so deem necessary — imagine the type of shot you are trying to replicate, i.e. shooting a group at 15 yards.
As you work the trigger up to the point the striker or hammer is released, pay specific attention to how much left or right movement there is while looking at the top of the slide.

dry fire drill

Most new shooters will see movement to the left or right and/or down or up. This is typically caused by movement in the hands or by the trigger finger. No movement at all means you’ve done a good trigger press!

Repeat starting at Step 1. Once you are able to hold the gun still, increase your trigger press speed. Focus on the consistency and stillness of your hand/grip pressure as you increase the speed of your trigger press. Work up to the point where you are working the trigger quickly — one-eighth-of-a-second from start to finish of press. Minimal to no movement is the goal.

2. START POSITION VARIATIONS
At a match you will, and in real life you might, be drawing from positions other than standing, gun loaded and holstered, with both feet stable on even ground. Practicing varied positions can be extremely beneficial.

Vary your dry-fire start position:

Seated
Holding an item in your hands
Kneeling
Standing behind a wall
Facing “uprange”

You can also vary the gun’s start position:

Gun on a table
Gun in a box
Gun in a drawer

dry fire drill

3. MASTER MOVEMENT
Once you’ve practiced some of these different start “positions,” incorporate movement during your draw or after retrieving your firearm. Movement changes everything! Relocate yourself left, right, forward, back during your practice.

4. BEDTIME ROUTINE
At night, do you keep your firearm on a nightstand, in a drawer, or in a bed-mounted holster? If so, when was the last time you dry-practiced getting out of bed to retrieve your firearm from its location?

And in what condition is your firearm? If you keep your firearm “cruiser ready” or “condition 3” (magazine inserted and seated with the chamber empty), have you practiced racking your slide under duress?

In this situation, dummy or inert training rounds are invaluable! NEVER use live ammo at home to practice quickly loading your gun! Safety first — always.

When using training rounds, go through your safety checks very deliberately — again, remove all live rounds from the training area and check and then check again that all rounds are inert.

SKILLS: Shooting Range Etiquette 101

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Don’t be “that guy” who threatens others enjoyment and safety at the shooting range. Here are 7 “always” and “nevers” to fit in like a seasoned pro. Keep reading…

Adapted courtesy Team Springfield Blog

Team Springfield

So you just bought your first pistol and cannot wait to get some rounds downrange? Congratulations and welcome to the exciting, wonderful world of firearms and shooting! If you’re like most of us, though, you probably don’t have your own private land to shoot on, which means you will be heading to a range on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of stories out there about poor shooting-range conduct. When range rules get broken, it’s usually because of the lack of education and the lack of practice of proper techniques.

So we’re here to help you avoid being “that person” — the unsafe and disruptive shooter.

Being a conscientious firearm owner comes with many responsibilities, safety being the main priority, of course. And understanding range etiquette is an integral part of firearm safety.

Following and practicing good range etiquette, whether at an indoor or outdoor range, is always the way to go. It only takes one bad apple to reflect poorly on us all. Here are a few simple rules and courtesies to keep in mind when you hit the gun range.

ONE: FUNDAMENTAL SAFETY — FIRST AND ALWAYS
While this may seem obvious, it’s vital to learn and always practice firearm safety. Sometimes even experienced shooters get too comfortable in their routines and become lax with gun safety. This is never acceptable. You should always be a good student and ambassador of the universal firearm safety rules. And always, always be aware of the moment.

Treat all firearms as if loaded.

Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy.

Know your target and what’s beyond it.

Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target.

TWO: FOLLOW RANGE RULES
This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway — follow the rules of the shooting range you’re on. Shooting ranges all operate on fairly similar rules, but each individual range will most likely have one or more unique rules. If you have a specific question, call the range before heading over. This could save you some time and grief. If you’re wanting to shoot your new AR-15, for instance, some indoor ranges may not allow rifles. Most ranges have specific rules about ammunition also, and don’t allow steel-core (armor piercing) ammo.

THREE: LISTEN TO THE RANGE SAFETY OFFICER (RSO)
Range safety officers are present for everyone’s safety. Unfortunately, they sometimes get a bad rap for yelling (remember, we all have ear protection on) or being mean. Trust us — they have a hard, risk-filled job full of responsibility — a job most people would probably not want. Help make their job easier! If you follow firearm safety rules, practice good range etiquette, and are always listening for and following the RSO’s commands, you should never get singled out or yelled at by the “mean” RSO.

FOUR: SLOW AND EASY
If you are a beginning shooter, you are undoubtedly experiencing a lot of new rules, terminology, techniques and procedures. Simply put: it can be overwhelming.

Slow down! Take the extra time to think about what you are doing — everything you are doing at all times. Think about where the muzzle is pointed, think about where your trigger finger is, the status of your firearm, and your neighbors on the range.

FIVE: LOADING AND UNLOADING
When you are on a shooting line, there are going to be other shooters next to you. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that the muzzle never points to the right or left of you.

Take extra care when loading and unloading your firearm, making certain to keep the muzzle pointed downrange. If you need more leverage to manipulate the slide, turn your body sideways (instead of turing the gun sideways). This enables you to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

CEASE FIRES
During a “cease fire” RSOs require you to unload your gun and lock the slide/cylinder open and then ask you to step behind a visible line on the ground while shooters go downrange to tape and set targets. Firearms are not allowed to be handled during a cease fire. Once unloaded, leave the firearms alone and grab everything you need from the firing line before backing across the line (phone, water bottle, etc.). Cease fires are a good time to chat with the shooter next to you, hydrate, send a text or check some emails. Just do all of this behind the cease fire line!

SIX: DON’T BACKSEAT SHOOT
How many people are fans of backseat drivers? Probably not many. The same goes for the gun range. Unless someone asks, it’s courteous to keep the technique corrections and tips to your own lane, even if the person next you isn’t using the stance you would.

However, if someone is doing something dangerous, it needs to be addressed immediately. Report the incident to the RSO, or, if you are comfortable doing so, deal with it directly.

SEVEN: ONE LAST THING…
Make sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done shooting. Any brass, ammo boxes or miscellaneous trash should be picked up. It might seem like a small ordeal, but leaving your mess for someone else to clean up is frustrating for the next person and leaves a less-than-stellar impression. And make sure you wait for a cease fire before venturing forward.