Thursday, July 12, 2012

Practicing with dummies...

There's been a lot of posts and information out there in the blogoshere about practice, drills, dry-firing, and other options or requirements by various folks for training minimums and routines.  While I think everyone should practice and train with their firearms regularly, I know a lot of folks who shoot fairly often, but rarely take the time to practice clearing pistol, rifle, or shotgun malfunctions.

If you're relying on a gun for self-defense, you need to know how to get it back into the fight as quickly as possible after a malfunction.  Most folks who follow this blog know I'm partial to Rugers and often my daily carry gun is a Ruger SR9c.  I've had good success with reliability for our numerous Ruger SR9's and SR9c's... but I've still had malfunctions... mostly due to ammunition problems.

I practice resolving pistol malfunctions using dummy rounds on the range at least monthly, and I practice clearing pistol malfunctions at least once a week during dry-fire exercises.  There are a lot of dummy rounds... dummies as I call'em... out there and I've tried several brands, but for regular use in practice... you can't beat the A-Zoom Precision Snap Caps.  They hold up well with a lot of use and abuse.

When I practice my tap-rack-bang process at the range, I often toss in a half-dozen or so dummies in a box of ammunition, load my magazines and then randomly shuffle the mags so I'm "surprised" when the failure to fire malfunction occurs.  I'll also use dummies to set-up "stove-pipes" and "double-feeds" to practice clearing other types of malfunctions that might require other than a tap-rack-bang.

I also will sometimes press the magazine release button while my gun is still holstered so I can practice drawing with a released magazine which causes a failure to feed after firing the first round.  You'll find that if this is the case, when you draw your gun... your magazine may not remain just unseated, but may actually fall out of the gun... fire your shot, reload with another magazine (don't go for the one on the ground unless that's all ya brung)... tap-rack-bang.

One word of caution... as an instructor... make sure your dummy rounds are clearly distinguishable by color... and that will help you pick'em up at the range... and even with dummies... treat every gun as if it were loaded following the safety rules.

So if you're not doing it already, maybe it's time for you to be... Practicing with dummies...


  1. Another method for practicing malfunctions to use empty brass instead of dummy rounds. Depending on your firearm, it will either cause the usual in battery malfunction like a dummy round will, or may cause an out of battery malfunction similar to a double feed. You don't have to worry about picking it up afterwards either.

    1. @167... good point... I use empty brass on the range when I teach to simulate "stove-pipes"...

      Dann in Ohio

  2. I'm a big fan of the A Zooms too.