Back to Basics with Jeff Gonzales Episode 8: Dry Fire
VIDEO – Back to Basics with Jeff Gonzales Episode 8: Dry Fire
CCW Safe is proud to present the Back to Basics video series with Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts. This series focuses on the fundamentals and basics of concealed carry.
In Episode Eight Jeff talks about what Dry Fire is, the safe way to do it and some considerations on how often to practice it.
Jeff Gonzales: Hi. I’m Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts. I’m here for Back to Basics with CCW Safe. Today, we’re going to talk about dry fire. Dry fire is a very popular activity that I encourage people to participate in. What is dry fire? Live fire is actually firing live ammunition at a suitable, safe range. Dry fire, on the other hand, is going through the process of firing without any live ammunition of any sort. What’s the value behind dry fire? There’s a lot. Especially as a new or a beginner shooter, there is a tremendous amount of value behind this.
Number one, it’s going to help you to become more familiar with your firearm. Number two, it’s going to give you opportunity to take the edge off some of the subjects that you need to start to explore. Let’s talk about the very first thing and the most important thing which is establishing safety protocols that we must follow each and every time. It may seem like this is a lot of work, but it has to be because we have to prevent a negligent discharge. There’s value in the dry fire, but you have to make sure that you follow these six protocols at all times.
The first one is going to be to locate a safe area that you can actually perform all this dry fire. Ideally, it’s got to be an area that you can close yourself off from the rest of the world, like a room or a garage or some area that you can literally shut yourself in. Second, do not allow any live ammunition into that safe area. Whatever you designate, your study, your garage, maybe your bathroom, at no time do you allow any live ammunition into that area. The next is that you need to follow all of the firearm safety rules to include safe directions. When you’re pointing this firearm, you need to make sure that you’re still pointing it in a safe direction.
Even though you have no intention of firing any live ammunition, worst case scenario and you make a mistake here and you fire a live round, at least you know that it is fired into a safe direction, so identify a safe direction. Then you’re going to need to make sure that you perform a visual and tactile clearance of your firearm to make sure that it is unloaded. If it’s not unloaded and you know that right off the bat, go ahead and start by unloading the firearm. If it is unloaded, you’re not going to make the assumption that it’s still unloaded, you’re going to visually and tactilely inspect that firearm to make sure that it is unloaded.
Once you’ve done all that, we’re now ready to begin dry fire. Let’s talk about what is my intentions or what are my objectives behind dry fire. You can lump them into two areas. The first area is going to be working on your marksmanship. The second area is going to be working on your manipulations. Pick one of those. If it’s going to be manipulations, it’s great. We’re talking about how to load and unload, how to do reloads, how to practice these other types of drills, maybe such as drawing from a holster, drawing from a holster concealed. These are all examples of manipulations.
Marksmanship is just the very basics behind learning how to work with your sights, work with your trigger, learning all the little idiosyncrasies that go into all of those details that are going to produce positive results when you actually go to the range and do this live. After you’ve figured out what you’re going to do, what’s the frequency? How often do we want to do dry fire? You could take it to the extreme and do it every single day. There’s value in that. It’s not realistic, but there’s still value. You need to find an appropriate frequency that you feel comfortable actually doing because what we’re really looking forward is consistency.
If you can tell me that every month I can dedicate time to dry fire, I think that’s a win. That’s 12 repetitions that you’re going to get in the year. That may not seem like a lot, but as a beginner shooter, it’s huge, it’s valuable, it’s big. The next thing we talk about is going to be your duration. How long do you dry fire practice? My recommendation is to keep it short. About 15 minutes, 20 minutes max. That’s it. Don’t go further than that. Why? Because you start to develop diminishing returns anything past that.
My preference is try to keep it about 10 minutes, but I know that in the beginning, between going through the procedures and getting everything right and doing your safety checks and all those other stuff might take a little bit longer, so maybe 15 minutes, but again, like I said, 20 is the max. As you get better at this, you’ll start to find that you become a little bit more efficient with your time and you’re somewhere around that 10-minute mark. That duration is important, because again, what we want to do is we want to prevent ourselves from, I don’t want to use the term overtraining.
The benefit behind dry fire is the mental game that goes into it. We start to lose that mental game because that duration is exceeding our mental capacity, you’re losing value at that point. It may not seem like it, but you really are. The last thing we talk about are what are some accessories that can make my dry fire experience a little bit more valuable, a little bit more efficient? One of the things that I recommend is investing in some dummy rounds. What a dummy round is it’s an inert training round that is visibly inert. In other words, it’s usually bright orange. It’s bright orange to signify that it is inert, plastic, can’t go bang.
Investing in these allows you to do a lot more of those manipulations such as loading and unloading and performing your reloads. Other things that you might consider is perhaps even a spare set of magazines that you can practice with because remember, you can’t take live ammunition in. If your magazines are loaded, you’re going to have to download the magazines, bring the unloaded magazines into your safe area, load them with your dummy rounds and then begin, or if you had a spare set that were empty that didn’t have any live ammunition, you start there. The very, very last thing that I want to say is once you have made the decision to stop dry fire, do not attempt any other repetitions.
The mistake that you make is that you say to yourself, “Just one more. I want to do one more,” but you really didn’t think it through, you didn’t realize that you already reloaded the firearm and it’s hot. You want that one last rep. Unfortunately, instead of getting a click, you get a bang. Once you make the decision to finish your dry fire, that’s it. You’re done. Safely disassemble everything, leave the safe area and then go about your life. I’d be happy to hear any of your questions or comments. Whatever you might have, please feel free to post them down below. I’m Jeff Gonzales. Until then, take care and stay safe.