Whether your training is self guided or via video, you are solely responsible for the safety of yourself, your equipment, and your training space during any practice session.
Take dry-fire safety at home just as seriously as you do live-fire shooting at the range. To ensure your dry-fire practice translates smoothly into range shooting performance, mimic your prep by practicing safety as it relates to your space your gear, your mindset, and your home habits.
Prepare yourself and your space for dry-fire practice by following these safety protocols:
- Identify a Safe Direction. Choose a surface that would minimize potential injuries or property damage if a negligent discharge should occur. Create a safe direction by using a sandbag, shelf with books or magazines, a small Kevlar plate, or a ballistic material called Safedirection.
- Make an Ammo-Free Space. Remove all ammunition from your workspace or room.
- Declutter. Remove or store all unnecessary gear from your workspace or room.
- Minimize Your Audience. Choose a quiet, low-traffic room or space for your practice. Draw the curtains or blinds, especially if you have neighbors, to keep from drawing unnecessary attention.
- Minimize Distractions. Turn your phone to silent and choose a time of day to practice when you will be least likely to be interrupted by household members.
- Communicate. Talk with your family about what dry-fire practice means to you and what is expected from them if they need you while you are conducting your practice. Consider implementing a “Please Knock” policy for family or household members when you are conducting your practice so that you can safely reset your gear, mind, and work space before others physically enter the room.
- Use Appropriate Targets. Utilize the recommended A Girl & A Gun Dry-Fire Targets for each drill. Avoid practicing in a mirror as most people only look at themselves or focus on the reflection of their muzzle. Avoid practicing using a TV or photographs. These are visually distracting and place mental emphasis on an image rather than on the technique itself.
- Confirm Gun Is Unloaded. Ensure the firearm is unloaded (magazine out) and there is no round in the chamber.
- Confirm Mags Are Unloaded. Reconfirm that all ammo is removed from your workspace and your person.
- Prepare Your Mindset. Dry-fire practice can be a meditative time you give yourself to focus on one specific set of thoughts and actions. Dry-fire is good “me time” and can be a wonderful part if your weekly self-care routine.
- Avoid Unnecessary Pressure. Practice alone, without an audience, or with a training buddy with similar goals that doesn’t stress you out.
- Be Serious. While dry-fire can be fun, the time you dedicate to it is serious business. It is important to get into focused, calm, and centered frame of mind before you begin.
- Follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. It’s all about attitude! Practice excellent firearm safety and handling skills 100% of the time. What you practice with a dry gun, a blue gun, or SIRT gun both physically and mentally you WILL find yourself doing with a loaded gun. NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE UNSAFE!
Managing Interruptions and Ending Your Dry-Fire Session. If you are interrupted by a phone call or a visitor to your space, STOP. Once the distraction is gone, confirm the safety of your space and gear (using a safe direction unload your gun and verify all of your gear is free of ammo), and reset your mindset.
Once you have made the decision to stop your dry-fire session, STOP. Do not go back and do one more drill.
Statistically, negligent discharges happen at the end of a dry-fire session when individuals are transitioning between practice and packing up or loading hot for concealed carry or home defense. Be methodical and habitual in your actions that you take to to set up and begin your practice as you do to either pack up for storage or make ready for concealed carry or home defense.
Unlike at the range, there is no Range Safety Officer to monitor you at home, so say what you mean! When you complete your dry-fire practice, say aloud, “I am done” to give your brain the mental checkpoint it needs to shift gears.
Pack up your equipment immediately and secure it from unauthorized persons. If you wish to load for carry or home defense, return ammo to your workspace and say aloud, “I am loading hot.” and conclude your Load & Make Ready while maintaining a safe direction. Once holstered say aloud, “This gun is now loaded.”
Physical and Emotional Safety
Instructional videos are a great way to learn techniques for self-defense, survival, fitness, and more. It’s also an excellent way to build your confidence levels before trying an in-person training class. The virtual format gives you access to a variety of different programs, making it really fun!
If you feel confused, unsure, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable, choose to opt out of participating. Taking a pause is sometimes the best and safest action to take. If you feel that the technique would result in you potentially injuring yourself, your equipment, or your space, or breaking any of the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, it is your obligation to stop.
If at any time during a class, event, or practice session you find that you are unsure that your actions could become unsafe, give yourself permission to PAUSE! You (and only you) are in 100% control of yourself and the equipment in your possession. Know yourself and trust yourself enough to stay in control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. An individual who can stay in control of herself to maintain the safety of all is someone who is greatly respected in our community. You have permission to take a “tactical time out,” a mini break, or ask for further clarification when you need it. Virtual training and practice is intended to be fun, safe, and time for you to empower yourself.