been practicing reloads while watching TV. I need to get some of those "dummy 12ga rounds" that are popular with CASS shooters. But they're spendy!
I hope you are not practicing with live rounds. Just go buy the dummy rounds. It's a lot safer and cheaper than a TV pop. Or cat pop. Or any other pop.
If you are practicing skills at home with a firearm, I strongly recommend you use the model "dry fire practice" rule.
The Four Rules Of Firearm Safety ALWAYS Apply In Dry-Fire Practice
The Four Rules and how they apply to dry-fire practice are:
1. All firearms are always loaded. Keeping this in mind at all times even when your firearm is unloaded impacts the way you handle your firearm and how you will perform not only in preparation for dry-fire practice, but when you are in the act of your dry-fire practice.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
Keeping Rule 1 as your mental guide, it only stands to reason that you would not point your firearm at something you are not willing to to destroy. Choosing what and where to aim during dry-fire should not only be in a appropriate place in the home with an appropriate backstop (see below) but the consideration of neighbors and others in the home is imperative. It must a safe and appropriate target. Only point it at something you could bear to lose if the firearm were loaded.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
One of the great values of dry-fire practice is its role in training your mind and body to respond and act in a specific way habitually, instinctively. The only way to do this, is with the correct repetition of the desired action until it becomes the way the muscles respond to the instruction given to it by the mind. Keeping your finger off the trigger until and only until you are sighted to fire, is a key "muscle memory" to attain. The target is what you have placed in the sights of your firearm.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
You must always be aware of what is around and behind your target, regardless of what you select for your target during dry-fire practice. The WHO and WHAT that lies behind that target, (not just immediately behind but way behind it) must be considered at all times. Whether preparing to shoot an attacker or the target in your dry-fire practice, this habitual act of thinking and being aware of your surroundings and what is beyond will save lives. Both in the event of a violent attack in which you must fire your firearm to save your life, or in the event that a careless error is made in your dry-fire practice.
Before you get started EACH AND EVERY dry-fire practice time; READ AND FOLLOW THE BELOW
Remove to the best of your ability anything that would cause you to be distracted. Turn of the TV or IPod, turn off your cell phone and or ringer of the home phone, lock your front door, remove or turn off anything that potentially could cause you to be distracted in any way. If there are others in the home, let them know you are not to be interrupted (except for an emergency of course). If for any reason at anytime during your practice you are interrupted, you must re-start these dry-fire practice safety steps.
Unload your firearm and then unload it again! Visually check the cylinder or chamber twice. Use your fingers to manually check the firearm at least two times to ensure that all rounds have been removed. In the case of a revolver, pull the cylinder fully outward and slowly spin the cylinder to check all chambers.
Remove all ammunition from the room. That is correct - take all of the removed rounds and any other ammunition and put it in another room. Select a container, a specific one that you will use each and every time to place the removed ammunition in. Count each round as you place them in this container to verify that each round removed from the cylinder or magazine is accounted for and placed into the container.
Select or prepare your backstop taking into consideration, those that are in the home and those that live nearby. Your interior wall and most exterior walls will not stop a bullet if you for any reason have a accidental discharge. If you do not have a suitable and safe backstop - you should not continue with your dry-fire practice. An appropriate backstop may be the basement wall (keep in mind the risk of ricochet), A stack of bags of sand or telephone books with a minimum of 2 to 3 feet thickness, or a large multi gallon bucket of gravel. There is a new product that is ideal for dry-fire practice, and I am very excited about it. it is called Safedirection. It is a very portable ballistic material "pad" that will absorb an accidental misfire that can be placed anywhere or hung on the wall. If you cannot set up a safe backstop in your home, do not dry-fire.
Decide the amount of time and the specific skills you will practice. 10 - 15 minutes is recommended. A training check list can be very helpful or one of the online tools linked below. Just before you begin your skill practice, tell yourself out loud "I am starting dry-fire practice". This verbal cue is an important discipline.
Complete your practice by telling yourself out loud "Dry-Fire practice is over." This verbal and audible proclamation help to keep you disciplined and help to prevent you from "trying one more". When you are done, you are done. Remove any dummy rounds and verify your firearm is unloaded. Take down your target and put your dry-fire gear in its proper place. Take a short break between your dry-fire practice and the reloading of your firearm with live ammunition. A pause between these two actions is necessary as you have just focused on pulling the trigger and doing that with confidence that there was no live ammunition in the firearm. You, of course, do not want to get these two actions confused. So this pause is necessary to be safe.