Too Hot To Shoot

By MamaLiberty

In many parts of the country, it really is too hot to shoot much of the time these days. And then, of course, there’s always the problem of scarce ammunition. What to do? How do you keep your skills sharp under those conditions?

Practice – General guidelines for dry fire exercises:

CAUTION: All of the safety rules must be maintained during these exercises. Remove all live ammunition from the room. Eliminate all distractions as much as possible. Establish specific times and places for exercises. Check to be sure gun is unloaded EACH TIME you begin a dry fire exercise. Exercises done on the range, live fire, should be done with a qualified instructor or experienced mentor and conform with all standard and range specific rules and safety precautions. Ask an instructor for schedule of live fire sessions available or to arrange for one.

What is “dry fire?” This simply means that you use an unloaded gun, dummy ammunition or gun simulation for practice and drills to learn new skills and practice them to a desired level of competence before you shoot live ammunition at the range. [Make sure your gun would not be damaged by dry fire (empty). You may need to use a dummy round or “snap caps.“ Check with manufacturer.]

Why dry fire? Believe it or not, dry fire is far more important for building good skills than live fire. You don’t have the recoil to deal with, and it doesn’t cost anything. The only way to build “muscle memory” is with many repetitions of a PERFECT action, so taking the time to learn things and practice them CORRECTLY from the start will save you countless hours. It takes about 300 repetitions to learn a habit, but at least 10,000 to UNLEARN one. Therefore, if you are not confident that you fully understand the operations called for in an exercise, wait to consult your instructor before you proceed. You’ll save lots of time and money in the long run.

Make specific plans for place and time to practice. If you make and stick to a schedule, you will benefit the most and create safe habits. In the ideal world, you would practice at least 10 to 15 minutes every day. Most people who are serious about self defense manage this about three times a week – at least in the beginning. Your choice.

Choose one place in your home, garage, patio or other for your dry fire exercise. Do not engage in this activity anywhere else except on the gun range. This helps form good habits and reduces risk of accidents. Evaluate the area for hazards such as appliances, fire sources and anything that would make the actual discharge of a gun a danger to you or anyone else. Eliminate those where possible. Choose a “safe direction” for your dry fire and keep your gun pointed in that direction as much as possible, depending on the drill.

Unless the drill calls for it, do not allow anyone else to be in the room. Do not use anything but simulated guns if others are present. Never point ANY gun at another person unless you are being attacked. Use an actual target.

Remove ALL live ammunition from your dry fire area. Check to make sure the gun is unloaded before entering the dry fire area and before EACH exercise. This may seem excessive or redundant, but it is a vital safety habit. The first thing said in most negligent (accidental) discharges is, “I thought the gun was unloaded.”

Maintain the three absolute rules each and every time you handle a gun. Muzzle and trigger control, along with frequent – even obsessive – checking for an empty chamber will go a long way towards guaranteeing that nobody will ever get hurt unless they attack you.

Eliminate distractions as much as you can. Turn off TV or radios, unplug the phone and lock the doors.

When you come to the end of your dry fire session, review what you have done and consciously END your session before you leave the area. Be very aware of what you are doing before you reload and store or holster the gun. This is the point were many unintended discharges occur. Do not reload in your dry fire area under any circumstances.

The above is from my book, “I Am NOT A Victim.” It’s available free to anyone who sends me an email and requests it. Follow the link to find contact information at the bottom of the page.

Next, we’ll look at some specific dry fire drills. I’d love to have comments on the drills you use and find helpful.

About MamaLiberty

As a lifelong individualist and voluntarist, my philosophy can best be summarized here: No human being has the right -- under any circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation. Self defense, and the defense of others, is a basic right of all living creatures. After a long career as a registered nurse in So. Calif, I retired in 2005 to NE Wyoming, living alone in my own log home, with good friends and neighbors all around. Biological family includes two grown sons and five grandchildren, unfortunately still in California. In addition to writing and editing, I garden, sew, cook and bake my own bread from home ground wheat and other grains. Hobbies include identification and cultivation of wild food and herbs. I am also a certified instructor for firearms and self defense. I carry a gun at all times.
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3 Responses to Too Hot To Shoot

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    Hi, Jerome! Welcome. :)

    I know quite a few people who use airsoft that way a lot, and a few use pellet guns as well. I have both, and use the airsoft pistol with a red dot to practice “point and shoot” in my dry fire sessions frequently.

    Those skills can be practiced in a lot of creative ways. You’ll no doubt laugh, but I have a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol, and use that to kill flies in the house. I can adjust the spray from fine to a hard stream, and I’ve gotten very good at hitting a fly on the ceiling or a wall from as far away as ten feet. It’s amazing practice for hand/eye coordination – and very satisfying since I simply hate flies with a passion. Living in rural horse country gives me plenty of targets in the summer.

    On the other hand, I have friends who have gone almost completely to airsoft practice since the ammo drought got bad, and I’m really wondering how that’s going to affect their readiness to use a real gun if and when the time comes. They are confident they are not losing skills, but I’m skeptical, especially if self defense is the primary reason you shoot.

    Seems to me that a careful balance of practice is vital, with different skills honed in more than one way over time. But the bottom line is always going to be verification of those skills at the range (or, heaven forbid, in a confrontation), and the weight, recoil and serious business of a live gun can’t help but make a real difference. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

  2. Jerome Bigge says:

    You can also practice using air rifle (or air pistol) in many places you can’t shoot a firearm. The “pump up” type air rifles offer a choice of controllable power. So you can use them as a low powered BB gun (350 fps) which will make very little noise. Plus you need only a short distance to practice in. There are also pistol versions which also help keeping your skills up when you can’t shoot a regular firearm.

  3. Pingback: Too hot to shoot | Pro 2nd Amendment Boycott – P2AB

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