If something is going to go wrong with a firearm, wouldn’t you like to know before you add ammo to the mix? Keeping your AR 15 in good repair by cleaning and checking each component for wear will go a long way to minimize the risk of a jam or misfire. Another good way to check that everything has been put back together properly before you load your firearm is to put your gun through its paces by dry firing. If you haven’t heard of this before — or think it’s a harmful practice — you can get the basics and a bit of myth-busting in our past blog. Dry firing is a great way to make sure you’ve reassembled your firearm properly and to keep your skills well-honed when you don’t have the time or money to make it to the range. Try these drills to get you started:
As always, a word of caution: before you run through any dry firing drills, it’s imperative that you take the time to unload and clear your gun. Also, this isn’t the time to get lax; don’t forget your gun safety practices just because you aren’t chambering live rounds. A chamber flag can help you verify that nothing is chambered, but still run through a check if you set your firearm down for a minute to answer the door, etc.
It may sound basic, but going from a relaxed stance to ready and sighting your shot over and over will help you build valuable muscle memory. Go through each motion slowly and take the time to get your stance and grip just right. Going through each step slowly will help you get into better habits, which will help your accuracy and precision when you do get to the range. Sighting and pulling the trigger will also help you get used to the recoil and minimize your flinch. Once you can go from relaxed to ready smoothly, then add speed to the mix.
Improve Your Aim
Include this practice with your draw practice as another way to improve your accuracy and precision. Take aim at a target across the room and pull the trigger, then do so again and again to get accustomed to all the motions. We suggest picking a small target like a light switch or a door knob to simulate targets that are further away. Or, you can print off/purchase scaled-down targets for a more realistic experience. Want a way to verify your accuracy? Laser ammo and laser cartridges can provide a good gauge. Some will even time you, if you’re looking to improve your times for a competition.
Another good drill to run through is sort of a continuation of the first. If you know you’ll be shooting from different positions, say, while hunting or during a shooting competition, dry firing is a great way to get in that practice and ensure you’ve got a firm grip and solid stance no matter which position you’ll be shooting from.
Testing New Components
Of course, dry firing is also a great way to get used to a new handguard rail or a different buttstock. Any time you modify your AR upper, run through dry firing to help yourself adjust to the differences and ensure everything is functioning together appropriately. This is also a good way to see if you should replace a component or shop around for something new.