The Cornered Cat
Dry Fire Drill

There are a lot of really cool and awesome things we can do in dry fire. One of the best, and sadly most neglected, thing to practice: ingraining basic safety habits. Here’s how.

Drill #1: On target, on trigger. Off trigger, off target.

Please read that heading again very carefully. On target, on trigger. Off trigger, off target. Sometimes, people say and do this series in the wrong order! That’s bad. To stay safe, always remove your finger from the trigger – placing it in its index position high on the frame – before you take the muzzle off the target.

Why? Because Rule Three, that’s why.

Rule Three says, Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot. Among other things, this means you must take your finger off the trigger before you take the gun off target. As soon as you have made the decision not to shoot (or not to shoot again), take your finger off the trigger and put it in its index position high on the frame.

So here’s your dry fire drill. You can do this safely within the privacy of your own home (following all the rules for dry fire safety of course!) or you can do this at the range with an unloaded gun. Be sure to follow every step exactly in the order below. Pay special attention to steps number 4, 5, and 6.

  1. Start by standing at the low ready, with your firearm comfortably in your hand and your finger indexed high on the frame.
  2. Raise the gun to the target as if you intend to shoot, placing your finger on the trigger as your sights come into alignment.
  3. Press the trigger smoothly and correctly for dry fire.
  4. Place your finger into its index position high on the frame.
  5. Bring the gun back to low ready.
  6. Take a deep breath, change mental gears, and look around.
  7. (If you need to do so) reset the gun so you will be ready to dry fire again.

Note: During dry fire, you must never mindlessly reset the gun as you bring it down off target. This ingrains a very bad habit of racking the slide without any thought, which could waste ammunition when you need it most. To build a good habit instead, teach yourself to always change mental gears when you bring the gun down. Look around. Think about what you’re doing. Reset the gun only after you have brought your brain back to completely focus on what you are doing and why you are doing it.

2 Responses to Dry Fire Drill

  1. Tom Walls says:

    The question came up in my class last weekend on the subject if being off-trigger was a risk vis-a-vis taking the extra time to go back on trigger. We did an impromptu experiment.
    I held my pistol on-target/off-trigger and at the beep of a shot timer, fired. Then repeated, finger on trigger (not prepping or taking up any slack, just on-trigger). Being off-trigger slowed me down by an average of about 6/100 of a second. That’s 0.06 seconds. All good hits. YMMV

  2. MariaS says:

    Thank you for this exercise. It will help me to keep up a good safe dry firing practice. The low ready is so important as well as taking that moment to change the mental gears and look around.

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