GET RID OF ALL DISTRACTIONS:
electronic, two legged, and four-legged, while you’re training, and make sure that your mental state is un-altered, clear, well rested, and that you are able to safely manipulate a firearm.
MAKE SURE TO REMOVE THE MAGAZINE
Fully rack the slide three times, lock the slide open, visually inspect the chamber and physically inspect the chamber by inserting a finger to confirm that your weapon doesn’t have any ammo in it.
REMOVE ANY LIVE AMMO FROM THE ROOM WHERE YOU’RE DOING DRY FIRE TRAINING.
If you use dummy rounds, empty them from your magazines until you can see the follower on every magazine you intend to use and can confirm that they’re empty.
PICK A BACKSTOP THAT WILL STOP ANY NEGLIGENT DISCHARGES.
Another way of looking at this is to quickly calculate the cost of a negligent discharge and decide if you could live with it. For me, when I do dry fire training at home, this means that I do my dry fire in our basement facing an outside wall so that the most likely outcome of a negligent discharge would be some sheetrock repair, possibly bracing a damaged (non load bearing) stud, possibly replacing a section of wiring, and a slight chance of ricochet damage.
ALWAYS TREAT YOUR FIREARM AS IF IT’S LOADED—EVEN DURING DRY FIRE TRAINING.
This means using proper gun handling discipline at all times. All of my friends who have had negligent discharges have had them with “empty” firearms.
ALWAYS KNOW WHAT’S BEYOND YOUR TARGET AND BACKSTOP
NEVER POINT YOUR GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
and that goes for TVs, people in the next room, next door neighbors, cars, etc. This is serious business and your first and only negligent action could kill someone, ruin your life, and possibly put you in jail. As mentioned in rule #4, calculate the potential cost.
THE TRANSITION FROM DRY FIRE BACK TO LIVE AMMO IS A PARTICULARLY CRITICAL TIME.
When you finish your dry fire training, the first step you should take is to take down the target that you used. According to the instructors at FrontSight, practicing “just one more time” is one of the most common reasons that dry fire training negligent discharges happen. Removing your dry fire target is one more way to ensure safety.
When you reintroduce live ammo, repeat the following phrase out loud until your firearm is holstered or stored securely, “Live ammo, Live weapon. Live ammo, Live weapon.” It’s important that you say these words out loud the entire time you’re handling your firearm when you’re transitioning from dry fire to live ammo.
The transition from dry fire to live ammo is so critical that some trainers even suggest storing the weapon that you are doing dry fire training with for a half hour or more before re-introducing live ammo.
As an additional safety measure, you can run a piece of paracord through the barrel so that it sticks out of both the muzzle and ejection port, use a snap cap, or a Blade-Tech training barrel insert. None of these are a replacement for the rules above. They should be used in addition, not instead of the above rules.
Too much stress? This is serious business. You’re training with a tool that’s designed to destroy things at a distance. If you aren’t completely confident about having the discipline to follow the rules above perfectly, then have a firearms instructor work with you until you are.