Dry Fire: How to Effectively Train  At Home thumbnail image

Dry Fire: How to Effectively Train At Home

80 Percent Arms   |   Apr 5th 2021

Dry Fire Drills

No ammo? No problem! Training during an ammo shortage doesn't have to be hard. Instead of firing ammo, you can dry fire your pistol, meaning you're not shooting any ammo and are still able to train just as effectively. 

Shooting without ammo is easy, free, safe and will help you improve your skills if done consistently and correctly. Dry fire drills allow you to practice a variety of skills and are very useful when it comes to firearm safety training. Whether you are learning and improving on the fundamentals of shooting or teaching firearm safety, it's by far the safest and most cost effective option. All you need is your handgun or GST-9 , and a safe place to practice in!

Before you try these drills, make sure your handgun is clear and always assume it is loaded-even after you remove the magazine and clear it. Also, always make sure you are pointing your firearm in a safe direction away from any person or animal and that you’re in a safe environment.


For this exercise it is important that you know how to properly grip a pistol. Grip your firearm with your dominant hand and make sure you have a high grip just right under the beaver tail of your pistol. Your last 3 fingers should wrap just under the trigger guard and around the base of your pistol. Now your thumb should be resting just right under the slide and in the grip area on the left or right side (depending on your dominant hand). Always make sure your trigger finger is off of the trigger unless you are ready to shoot- even while dry firing. Finally, take your non dominant hand and wrap your index, middle and ring finger over your dominant hand. That is the ideal grip to have while handling a handgun.

Now, hold your hand gun while gripping it as if you were ready to shoot and fully extend your arms then bring it back to a resting position. Do this slowly and fluidly while pointing in the direction of your target. While pointing in the direction of your target, shift your eyes from the target to the front sight. You may notice your sight isn't perfectly aligned or that your barrel is moving around quite a bit. Keep doing this slowly until you are able to align your sights comfortably and are keeping the pistol parallel to the ground. Once you are perfecting this exercise, move faster. Doing this will help make the motion feel more natural and help with sight picture.

Dry Fire Drill

One of the major advantages to practicing dry firing from home is that unlike an indoor range, you are able to draw from your holster and practice drawing from concealment. Practicing a quick draw is very identical to the presentation exercise but instead of drawing your handgun from a resting position, you pull it from your holster.

As you get started, make sure that you’re in a good stance that favors balance of movement. Now grab your handgun in the holster (don’t remove it) and check that you have a firm grip on your handgun meaning that you firmly grasp it and your dominant hand is right under that beavertail. Now pull your pistol out slowly and as you are pulling it out watch your grip and movement as you bring your pistol up to sight level. You may notice your grip slipping, a flinch or that your sight picture needs to be improved. Repeat these steps slowly only getting faster as you perfect it. Before you go fast, it's important to go slow to catch any mistakes that you may be making.

During this drill, you may notice that you're moving the hand gun slightly during or after every trigger pull. To help eliminate this, grab either a casing or a coin and balance it on the front sight of your handgun and practice grip control. Any movement or error will cause the item to fall revealing that either your grip or trigger control is off. 

After getting comfortable and perfecting these techniques, you can add a shot timer to the mix and a few other tools to help you practice and make dry firing more fun. One of the most commonly used tools is Laser Ammo cartridges. Laser Ammo cartridges sit inside of the barrel of your handgun and flashes a laser whenever the firing pin strikes. Laser Ammo also offers targets that work with the laser cartridges making dry fire that much more identical to shooting at the range.

How often should you Practice?

Practice Dry Firing

Training must be done daily on a regular basis and it also has to be as perfect as possible every time. In order to perfect a skill set, you have to know how to do it without fault. Practicing dry fire exercises 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week will not only improve and perfect your skill set, it will also improve your marksmanship overall. Frequent practice will result in major improvements with general shooting skills, safety habits, fundamentals, sight picture and sight alignment.

Now, you may have heard someone say that dry firing will break the firing pin in your pistol. That is an old myth that only applies to rim-fire firearms. However, if you would like to dry fire a rim-fire firearm, feel free to use snap caps to help prevent damage. 

Working though these drills frequently will create new muscle memory and these motions will come naturally. For best results, grab your phone and position it to record yourself while practicing to see where you can improve your form.