We at Peg Leg Garage are avid shooters and we take our training pretty seriously. Without diving into our individual motivations we believe that every individual who owns a firearm has an obligation to be proficient with it. It has gotten progressively more difficult to train in the current climate not only because of the limitations put in place by our government as a reaction to the pandemic, but also a national ammo shortage. In the following article I hope to walk you through some of our solutions to training with limited ammo as well as ways you can practice in your own home without any ammo. 

There is a lot of quality practice you can do without leaving the home. The key theme that will stretch through each of the practice solutions is keeping the practice deliberate. Remember the adage “Practice make Perfect”? Well in reality it should be “Perfect Practice makes Perfect”. Dry fire is a great way to build a foundation of Perfect Practice without having to leave your home.

Triarc CMDR 1911 with Snap Cap

Dry Fire is simply practicing without ammunition. Through dry fire you can practice all the foundations and the more complex facets of shooting effectively without need to fire a single shot. Now understand that dry fire is not “enough” practice to stand on its own. Dry fire should be used to6 complement and enhance live fire practice especially when working on repetition based drills such as reloads, draws, sight picture and trigger press. 

Snap Cap and Laser Module
  • Gun 
  • Holster 
  • Empty Magazine
  • Snap Caps 
  • Magazine Carrier 
  • Shot Timer or Phone 
  • A dry fire laser. 
  • Some Painters Tape 
  • Dry fire magazine
  • A training mindset

The equipment listed above is by no means the requirement to dry fire. All you need to dry fire is a safe environment and an UNLOADED gun. The additional items are included as “value added” which serve to help to increase the quality of the practice. Two pieces of equipment I would like to highlight are the shot timer and a dry fire laser. 

Shot Timer

A shot timer is an invaluable investment for training both live and dry, it is indisputable that the ability to measure your performance is one of the most important pieces to steadily improve. A shot timer can take the form of a stand alone unit used to measure times in competition or even as an app on your phone. The important feature for dry fire that is a value added is the “par” time. This allows you to set a window in which you must complete a task. 

The other value added piece of equipment is a dry fire laser. This is a laser you place in the bore of your gun that is engaged by the firing pin when you pull the trigger. The laser not only provides a confirmation of your accuracy but also an indication of your follow through after the shot has broken. 

To set yourself up for success first choose a couple targets around a room. These could be small pieces of tape placed around your garage, hung targets or anything else you would like to use as a safe target. Now decide what you would like to practice, this could be as simple as presentation, sight alignment and trigger press or as complex as movement, reloads and target transitions. Grab what gear you need to do the practice you have selected. 

Validating Practice on the Range with Live Fire

Before you get your gun make sure ammo is completely separated from the firearm. Retrieve your weapon, clear it and set yourself up in a safe direction. From here on out it is your chance to get quality repetitions. I like to use a short timer and set a par time for whatever I am doing. Let’s use the example of a draw one shot drill. Remember the key is deliberate practice so I will start by setting in high par time, something like 5 seconds. The goal here is to start on the first beep then end on the second beep with the trigger press and have a consistent speed throughout the drill. As you feel comfortable with the drill, speed it up removing time from the par. Remember to keep the speed consistent and smooth. As the speed increases, make note of when you begin to break down and make mistakes. From here up the time by a half second and work at this speed till you have no mistakes. As you practice, push your limitations and then walk it back to ensure each repetition is high quality. 

The final part of dry fire is to keep it fun. While it is great to practice your draw, reload and sight picture it can quickly become tiresome. The key to keeping your practice interesting is to find small ways to change it up. Make it a competition with a friend of yourself, who has the faster reload the better laser shot? Or introduce movement to your practice, move while you reload and draw. The key to any practice is consistency and the key to consistency is to keep it interesting. Find little ways to safely spice up your practice.