Dry fire is where you can practice the absolute fundamentals of firing a handgun. Dry fire allows a shooter to practice everything in the fundamentals, including breath control and finding your natural respiratory pause. You can practice your sight picture, and getting correct sight alignment. Most importantly you can practice grip and trigger control. Dry fire is something anyone can do, and is free. I use a small 3-inch ring as my dry fire ‘target’ and make sure as I pull the trigger my sights never leave that 3-inch circle.
While it’s cool and fun to practice moving and shooting, defensive drills, and drawing your firearm, dry fire can be somewhat boring. Even though it can be boring it’s still one of the best (And cheapest) things you can do to learn the proper fundamentals of shooting. I find the best time to do dry fire practice is after a range trip, like immediately after. My body and mind are still hot from live fire and I can accurately diagnose my mistakes.
Fights, especially ones where guns are drawn often end very, very fast are when you end up in a defensive situation where you need your firearm l. One should practice drawing your firearm, and learning and knowing your weapon and holster. Always start slow and take your time. A fast draw is good, but you also need a sure draw, a draw you can do when your heart is pumping, and you begin to lose fine motor skills. When you begin to practice drawing you should do it with a dry weapon, meaning unloaded. Once you gain a solid understanding of how to safely draw a weapon, then you move onto doing it live.
Reholstering is something you want to practice doing in a safe and slow manner. When you put your weapon away there is no need to rush it. If you are holstering your weapon then the fight is over. A lot of people try to speed reholster and the practice itself is generally unsafe, and not necessary.
Modern firearms are quite unlikely to malfunction, as long as it’s from a reputable manufacturer. Because of this we rarely ever get a chance to deal with an actual malfunction. Personally, I used to keep a bad mag around just to train malfunction drills. A malfunction is probably the worst thing to happen in a gunfight, but you can recover from it if you train for it.
These days I train with snap caps, which are dummy ammunition that simulates the weight, length and width of a cartridge. I’ll have my magazines randomly loaded with a snap cap amongst live ammo. This will induce a malfunction I never predicted. I also train with Snap Caps by placing them into a stove pipe style malfunction and use an ipsc shot timer to time how fast I can clear a malfunction and get back on target. Clearing malfunctions should be a well-versed part of anyone’s training.
We want to take all of the above training techniques, dry firing, drawing, and malfunction drills and change it up a bit. We want to practice dry firing from the knee, and then practice drawing and dry firing from a knee behind cover, and then practice drawing, dry firing from a knee behind cover and then clearing a malfunction. Being able to draw, dry fire and clear a malfunction from any body position is a critical skill to have. This means doing it from your back, from behind cover, from a low standing, or any other assortment of positions.
This is something we should practice at any given time, a skill we should develop at all times minus when you’re sleeping. Situational awareness is something that some instinctually have, and others have to work at. To begin developing it , you need to identify your bad habits. Do you play with your cell phone too much? Are you a reader who gets engrossed in books everywhere they go? Do you tend to drift and daydream?
Those habits can all lead to a lower situational awareness. When your SA is lowered you’re less likely to see trouble coming, and more likely to be surprised, shocked, and panicked when it does come. You should scan your environment, making eye contact with people, and genuinely be aware of what’s around you. Know where entrances and exits are. Know where your body’s position is in relation to entrances and exits. Take note of suspicious people and try to stay away from them. Play games, like count the red shirts versus the black shirts or the men versus women rations. These little games can keep your mind occupied, and your awareness high.