In an early article, Dry Practice or Dry Fire was addressed in some detail. In the past few weeks, some more items have come to my attention through reading and watching training programs I’d recorded from my satellite TV service. In the earlier piece it was mentioned you’ll need a safe backstop for your dry practice. In my practice area at home, I have several inches of concrete backed by miles of earth. It is my basement bedroom wall and has served for years. Somewhere I read or saw the use of old body armor as a safe backstop. It can be purchased from several sources, especially if it is an older design or out-dated. Another interesting item comes from Safe Direction, LLC. It is a pad made of bullet resistant material sized 8 X 11 inches that can handle up to the .44 magnum caliber. A number of organizations issue this to students or employees for their use in clearing or loading handguns. One item called the Academy Pad, has three holes to fit inside a standard loose leaf binder. Safe Direction also has several bags with a portion that is bullet resistant, wall mounted versions and even fanny packs. I saw these for the first time at the SHOT show a number of years ago. While not inexpensive, the products serve to enhance safety in case of an unintended discharge. They can be found at www.SafeDirection.com.
While watching a Personal Protection TV episode that I’d recorded, expert trainer Massod Ayoob reminded the viewers of the usefulness of dummy firearms in training. He was showing different barricade shooting positions, defining where you would be in relation to the threat, and how to engage without exposing too much of your self to incoming rounds. He pointed out he could illustrate the positions using a dummy gun in total safety, as only a piece of plastic was being pointed at the cameraman. I’ve used dummy guns for years in training courses, especially the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course from the National Rifle Association. Some toy firearms can serve very well, and companies also make special dummy firearms. Examples I’ve used include the blue guns from Ring Manufacturing, who also makes many of the dummy guns used in movies and TV shows, the newer BLACKHAWK! brand with examples in gray and orange and the ASP red guns. Air-soft firearms are also very good to use. Part of what you can rehearse with these “dummies” is house clearing incorporating use of a flashlight. Learning to corner, “slicing the pie” staying back or hugging cover as needed, can all be practiced with dummy guns before trying it with a real firearm. Flashlight techniques have grown and evolved over the past 20 years, and finding what works best for you and your shooting position or stance should be rehearsed in advance, so you can do it when you need to.
A lot of what we need to practice and perfect can be done “dry” before we go “live.” These tools can help you in your quest to improve. Practice well and perfectly to succeed.