How to Train Without Ammo

“How can I best train when ammo is so expensive and hard to find?”

I get this question way too often, and sadly it is a reality today. Remembering that the majority of my time training has been in resource constrained government organizations, this isn’t really anything new to me.  I took a moment to jot down some of my favorite tips and tricks related to dry firing that I use to allow training either without ammo or to conserve it while training. 

Dry firing can make a huge difference in your shooting abilities and requires absolutely no ammo! I usually start every range session off with dry firing, just to help my students get warmed up.   It can also be done almost anytime, and usually in the comfort of your own home.

Begin by choosing a safe location, pointing the gun in a direction that is known to be safe, ensuring the gun is unloaded and there is no ammo in the vicinity. 

Start with a proper grip and proper stance.  Come all the way from the holster or other preferred carry method (purse, fanny pack, or interior vehicle compartment). Find your target.  I use a spot on the wall as an aiming point-I prefer my breaker box door (on the wall)-or you could post a target.  

Focus on your stance, breathing, and trigger manipulation,  as if you were on a live range in front of a target.  As you bring the gun to eye level remember to focus on the front sight as you press the trigger to the rear.  Begin slow and work up to speed as you go along, your ultimate objective is building speed and accuracy at the same time. 

Although there are many drop in triggers (or even entire dry fire guns on the market today), I recommend using your daily carry gun in its carried configuration.  On semi-autos you will need to drop the magazine to allow you to pull your slide back and drop it to re-cock the gun.  By continuously pulling the slide to the rear to re-cock the gun you are also practicing the same muscle movements required in an emergency reload or malfunction clearance drill. 

For variety you could also use dummy (inert training) rounds in a magazine to allow you to practice loading a magazine and then dropping the slide just as if you were practicing an emergency reload.  Some semi-autos require the magazine to be inserted to fire.  Using inert rounds in those magazines will allow you to safely dry-fire these guns as well. 

The training possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination!  Try training in a seated or lying down position, or even practice in different rooms of your house to simulate a home defense situation.  Get creative!

I hope these tips serve you well and help you add some variety to your training!

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