Ammunition is not as expensive as it used to be a year ago, but it’s not as cheap as it was 2 years ago. If you haven’t heard, the current administration will enact a ban on ammunition imported from Russia that takes effect on Sept 7th. Not to get too much into geopolitics, but Russian ammo makes up about 40 percent of available ammunition in the US, and sort of serves as a check against higher-priced brass ammo that’s manufactured domestically.
TLDR; The ban on ammunition imported from Russia could likely cause the price of ammo to rise again.
This means dry fire practice is essential. Realistically, it always has been.
The good thing is that you don’t need any additional tools to dry fire – just your cleared and unloaded firearm and a room free of any ammunition with a defined safe direction. However, there are tools you can get that make your dry fire practice effective and meaningful. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Barrel Blok is a high-visibility flexible plastic rod that goes into the barrel of your firearm. The purpose of it is to provide that visual indicator that your firearm is in a safe mode to manipulate. It also comes with three Mag Bloks, which keep the follower down in the magazine. These allow you to manipulate the slide with a magazine inserted without engaging slide lock.
The DryFireMag allows shooters to simulate a realistic trigger pull and reset with a tactile and audible response in striker-fired pistols. The device only interacts with the trigger bar only, so you won’t have to worry about any damage to the firing pin. Because the DryFireMag is able to simulate a trigger pull and reset, you don’t need to rack the slide back. There are Glock and M&P models available.
Snap Caps should be considered a must-have for any gun owner, and they have a variety of uses for dry fire and live fire. For dry fire specifically, they are GREAT for practicing reload or malfunction clearing drills. The “primer” on these is a small piece of rubber that helps protect the firing pin when you’re running dry fire drills. They are inert and totally safe, and come in a variety of calibers.
The Mantis devices are by FAR my favorite dry fire tools. I’ve been a user since the first iteration, and since then the tool has only gotten better. In short, it’s a device that connects to the rail or magazine base plate, and there are a lot of internal sensors that detect motion before, during, and after the trigger press, and provides real-time feedback during the trigger press. There is the X2, which only works with dry fire; the X3 with works in both live and dry fire; and the X10, which works with live and dry fire and also includes the ability to analyze your holster draw and analyze recoil during live fire. All of the MantisX devices can be used on pistol, rifle, or shotgun, and connect via bluetooth to a mobile application. There are a variety of drills, achievements for consistent use, and daily challenges… some of which make you want to say “Go home, Mantis. You’re drunk”, but are still pretty fun.
Additionally, they have the Laser Academy, which includes a laser insert for the barrel, targets, a tripod, carrying case, and a mobile app that utilizes the camera to read the shots on the provided targets. This can be paired with the MantisX device,a.
For those who have a modern sporting rifle, they have the Blackbeard auto resetting trigger system for the AR15, which can come with a red, green, or infrared laser. Simply swap out your bolt carrier group and charging handle for the Blackbeard, and you’re ready to get busy.
I’ll do a video review of the Blackbeard and Laser Academy soon-ish.
No matter how you choose to dry fire practice, make sure that you follow the safety rules THROUGHOUT the practice session:
- Treat all guns as if they are always loaded and perform a clearance check each time you pick one up.
- Never point the firearm at anything you don’t want to destroy and keep it pointed in a safe direction (or safest direction for your location).
- Keep your finger off of the trigger until you’ve made the conscious decision to shoot.
- Know your target, and what’s around and beyond your target.
No matter if you use these tools listed, other tools not listed, or nothing extra at all besides your unloaded, cleared and safe firearm, GET YOUR REPS IN.