What I learned from Dry Fire

I never heard of dry fire training until I joined this forum a couple years ago. At least 90% of my shooting experience prior to a couple years ago was shooting at either small game or fish. Because both the targets and I were almost always moving, I developed an instinctive shooting skill set. Missing taught me how much to lead and where my shot was going without aiming. So, I thought I was pretty good.

Then I discovered dry firing and found out real quick how much a pistol moved around when I pulled the trigger. Dry fire training tightened up static target groups surprisingly quickly. I became a believer.

In no particular order, these are some of the things I have learned from routine dry firing the past several years:

  1. All my pistols are external hammer configuration. Therefore I either have to pull the hammer back between dry fire shots, or rack the slide. Pulling the hammer back does not allow me to train feeling the trigger reset. Racking the slide with snapcaps means snapcaps end up all over the place. If I don’t find all of them, then someone might step on one and fall, or the dog might find it and choke on it. Racking the slide without a magazine allows me to train without looking all over for snapcaps. However, it leaves me with a hanging pinky on subcompacts that incorporate the pinky finger rest into the magazine. To alleviate this, I have dedicated a magazine to dry fire training with the spring and follower removed. With this configuration I avoid empty magazine lock-back and have my pinky rest too :slight_smile:
  2. Despite instructors telling me otherwise, if the trigger hand thumb is securely in contact with the grip, then horizontal stability is markedly improved – for me. Your mileage might vary.
  3. I have trouble with Double Action shots with DA/SA pistols because the length of pull is too long for my short little trigger finger. I continue to practice DA, but since my DA/SA is kept as bedside protection only, I should have time to cock the hammer. If not, then my DA shot is still “combat” accurate.
  4. Dry fire training has saved a lot of live fire expense.
  5. The main negative is it is easy to get in the habit of not griping tight enough due to the continuous days of no recoil training.

With this you can still do mag changes.


Dry firing is the best way to be proficient. Ideally would be to spend that time on the range… but who can afford it. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:
Yes, there is a lot of limitations… but somehow these can be fixed.

  1. racking the slide every dry shot
  • simulate malfunction, so after each shot do tap-rack. You practice malfunction clearance and your trigger is reset.
  1. losing snapcaps and mag reloading
  1. DA handgun
  • it is a good way to practice multiple targets acquisition.
  • yes, it tricks reset feeling, but this can be practiced with your EDC firearm without shooting (I usually do this sitting in my chair with eyes closed, pressing the trigger, racking the slide and finding reset point)
  • sometimes long DA pull makes your EDC trigger easier to work.
  1. SIRT pistol
  • if you are lucky… you can have exact copy of your firearm from NLT - SIRT PP, SIRT 20, SIRT107, SIRT 110, SIRT 115
  • with this tool no more issue with racking the slide, locking the slide, changing magazines.
  1. range time
  • sometimes people forget that visiting the range there is no need to waste bullet every single time they press the trigger. I do live fire after 5 dry fires. Nothing changes with draw stroke or presentation each time I do this. If I hit the target with the projectile, that means I was able to do this 5 times already pressing dead trigger.
  • 2 years ago my 1 hr range time = 400 - 500 rounds
  • these days my 1 hr range time = 20 - 30 rounds
  • few weeks ago I spend 8 hr on Combat Pistol Class. I shot 60 rds only and didn’t realize that until I packed my stuff.

Hey Jersey, I find using a dedicated mag filled with weighted 9mm stainless snap caps mimics the weight of a loaded handgun. I also learned with striker fired guns you don’t need to completely rack the slide to reset to he striker; a quarter, half inch does the trick, although that’s moot for DA/SA.

Didn’t you say in a post, maybe a year or so ago, that you didn’t need to reset the hammer/striker during dry fire training? And that pressing an uncocked (what I referred to as “squishy”) trigger was just fine? :wink:

I still like feeling the trigger break and reset.

Anyway, I appreciated your post reminding me that dry fire IS good. I have slacked off considerably lately. Thanks!


That is an awesome idea to mimic the weight of the bullets. That may help a lot for good practice.
All depends on how we practice and what we are focused on. I personally never cared about it… an actually got a funny failure during one of my classes. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I always train with max 10 bullets in magazines (almost all my drills use 10 or less rounds) and got used to the weight. I was running a drill with full magazines… and didn’t feel it correctly. I loaded full 16rds mag into the magwell, presented the pistol…and magazine fell down to the ground. :zipper_mouth_face:

I still shoot dead / squishy trigger during dry fire. A lot of shooters don’t like it and I’m not advertising this way. Instead of this I teach tap-rack after each shot during dry fire. It’s a good combo for new shooters.

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When I took my Handgun 2 class, I was using my FN509 Tactical.
Depending on the drill, the instructor had us load varying amounts of bullets.
Near the end he had us load full mags. Definitely affect me as my magazines were 17 rounds. I ended up using more than the 200 rounds the class required. The first time was fine, but the second time I got a bit irritated LoL

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Bullet management is very important. We have to learn to have enough rounds for fight all the time.
I took a great lesson during “Carry Trainer” class. Instructor didn’t care about reminding us about reloads nor told us how many rounds were needed for drills.
That was students responsibility to have magazines topped off all the time.
I also learned that time, that “tactical reload” is more important than “emergency reload”. You never want to run out of bullets, so practice rounds managements and keep your tool full of ammo all the time.
Right now I’m focusing more on tactical reloads during dry fire sessions.

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No exactly dry fire but like like to sit, stand and do a thumbs up. Then pick an object in the room and aim at it with my thumb. I then close an eye to see if my thumb moves.

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Thanks @Robert1246 , I have never seen these before.

I see they have the 9mm, 40, 45, and 223/556 covered. Out of curiosity, do you know if anyone has tried the 9mm/40 in a 10mm or a 380? It seems like it should work.

Out of curiosity I looked back at our conversation and it was just last December. I noticed I also mentioned that I don’t dry fire enough and really need to get back on the wagon.

And here I am again, still saying I don’t dry fire enough and really should get back on the wagon.

It’s like saying, “I really need to lose weight,” again, still.


Don’t say it… just do it.
Losing weight is not so easy as dry firing.
Dry firing doesn’t need an exhausting workout. It can be short (5 min), but must be consistent.
5 minutes everyday gives better results than 35 minutes once a week.
It doesn’t require any setup, you only remove ammunition from you and your surroundings.


When I decided to learn to play the bass a couple of years ago, I made a goal to practice 15 minutes 6 days a week. I found a good time to do this, and just went for it. Most of my 15 minute practices ended up being 30 minutes because I was enjoying what I was doing.

Find a place you can practice at home. Set up a few targets. Then just spend 5-15 minutes doing practice. Do target transitions, do movement, do malfunction clearing. Just start doing it consistently. Make sure you don’t start to develop bad habits. Be consistent, and honest with yourself. Soon you will find you get a lot better.

Best wishes on your journey, we can all use a lot more dry fire.


I’m with @Jerzy here that maintaining a consistently firm firing grip during dry fire is paramount. Many times I’ll press the trigger when my sights are on target but my grip is sloppy.

There’s nothing like recoil feedback to reveal a sloppy grip.

I know I’m doing it and I know what needs to happen to keep from doing it.

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That’s what I meant, but maybe didn’t fully say in the original post:

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Oops, that was you who wrote that, not @Jerzy. Sorry for the misdirected credit.


No worries, if he didn’t say it in this thread, then he probably has already said it in another one :+1:

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the credit should go the person who discovered “dry firing”. All of us are only copying it the good or bad way.

There are hundreds of YT videos showing what is needed or / and what is is wrong with proper shooting methods. Each of us is different and need different methods to achieve the goal.
But I will always stand for the statement that shooting fundamentals (maybe not all of them) - STANCE, GRIP, TRIGGER CONTROL are the foundation for being a good shooter.

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And when you are shooting with a .45 and only have 7 shots per magazine, one tends to think about how many rounds you have and how fast you can reload too!


Well, I tried the TRT 9mm/40 in two 9mm, one 40 S&W, and one 10mm today. It worked in one out of four pistols, not an impressive success rate.:-1:

Fortunately it works in the one I care about.

I have used a similar item made by barrel block. Think they call it MagBlok or something similar. They work in my 9mm and .380 pistols.

I also use @Jerzy ’s dead trigger pull practice for follow up shots on at least some of my dry fire during each session. Especially when practicing drawing and engaging a target.

I don’t want my muscle memory and subconscious to default to racking the slide after each trigger pull when faced with a high stress self defense situation. I have read accounts of police officers defaulting to their training scars in the middle of a gun fight.

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