One of the phrases I use a lot is, “Sometimes a teacher, always a student”. When I began my journey into firearms instruction, I learned something so valuable that I can’t help but profess this to my students today – 90% of your firearms training can be practiced at home!
Don’t get me wrong, range training is extremely important. There is no substitute for actual live fire, the smell of gun powder in the air and the recoil of the firearm in your hands. But recovering from recoil is one of the few things that CAN’T be practiced at home.
If you’ve ever taken a pistol class that I’ve taught, you know what a “Snap Cap” is. For those of you who haven’t (and don’t), a Snap Cap or “dummy round”, is a benign ammunition cartridge used for handling and dry fire practice.
They are available in every caliber imaginable, and can be purchased at any local gun store. (Franktown Firearms carries them!) I use them in the classroom to get my students familiar with, and proficient at, loading magazines, charging, ejecting, etc. I talk at length about “muscle memory”, and its importance in being able to respond to a violent encounter after adrenaline dump has occurred, and you have zero fine motor skills at your disposal.
By including Snap Caps in your practice regimen, loading, racking, presenting, aiming, dropping magazines and replacing them quickly, dry firing, etc., can all be practiced in the comfort of your home. And by adding home practice into your personal protection strategy, you are improving your ability to effectively handle your firearm when it “counts”. These deliberate movements will become second nature, better preparing you for anything you may encounter.
(Please note: If you are planning to incorporate dummy rounds for practice in your home, be certain your firearm is clear of any live ammunition, both in the chamber and in your magazines, and store your cartridges in a location where they cannot be mistaken for your Snap Caps. Check, re-check and check again. Safety is critical, and there are no “accidents”. There are only carelessness, negligence and complacency. Keep your head in it!)