Safety is key anytime you’re handling a weapon. Dry Fire Training Cards are designed to be used with an inert weapon or with a live weapon that has been physically AND visually verified cold (empty of ammunition), with any/all live ammunition locked up in a separate room.
By definition, dry fire is the manipulation of a firearm with NO AMMUNITION IN THE FIREARM, NO AMMUNITION IN THE MAGAZINES YOU’LL BE TRAINING WITH, AND NO AMMUNITION IN THE ROOM WHERE YOU’RE TRAINING. When the hammer drops, there is no ammunition in the chamber. When you insert a magazine and rack the slide, no round enters the chamber. Therefore, by definition, if you have a negligent discharge while practicing, you were not doing dry fire because there is no way to have a negligent discharge without ammunition present.
If you have ammunition in your firearm, in your magazines, or in the room where you’re training, you’re not doing dry fire and should not use these drills.
Even with a weapon that’s been verified cold, you must follow the following rules:
Always follow the “Jeff Cooper” 4 laws of firearms safety:
1. Treat every weapon as if it’s loaded, even if it’s not.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you’re not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your weapon is aimed at your target.
4. Always identify your target and what’s behind it before shooting.
As well as the rules of Dry Fire safety:
1. Eliminate all distractions when dry fire training and only do dry fire when you are well rested, alert, and not altered by drugs or other substances.
2. Lock and remove all ammo from your weapon and the area where you’re training.
3. After visually and physically confirming that your weapon, magazine, pockets, pouches, mag holders, etc. are empty of live rounds, audibly state (to yourself) that you’ve confirmed that your weapon and magazines are unloaded and that there are no live rounds in the area and that you’re starting dry fire practice.
4. If you’re training with a real platform, use dedicated dry fire targets with a backstop that can safely absorb negligent discharges. People have died, lost limbs, and been severely injured from attempting to do dry fire drills with a weapon that had live ammo in it or near it. By definition, it is impossible to do dry fire drills with ammunition present. If you have ammunition present when you’re manipulating your weapon, you are not doing dry fire and you should not use these drills. Your weapon is your responsibility. Any discharge that you have while practicing is due to your negligence. Train safe.
5. If your concentration is interrupted at any point, go through steps 1-4 before continuing.
6. Only train as long as you can dedicate your full attention to handling your weapon or training platform.
7. When you decide you’re done dry fire training, don’t do ANY more. Put your targets and weapons away. The transition from dry fire to live fire is when most training negligent discharges happen. The mind must have a clear transition from “real gun, real ammo” to “dry fire” and back to “real gun, real ammo.” Confusion
8. Wait 1/2 hour after dry fire training before reintroducing live ammo.
9. When you reload your weapon, audibly say, “live weapon, live ammo” 5-10 times. This sounds silly, but you absolutely can not switch back into dry fire mode for “one more shot” with a live weapon and this little refrain is designed to help you reinforce the message to your brain that training is done.
If you have any stories of negligent discharges that you’re willing to share, please do so by commenting below: