Dry Fire Safety Rules


Safety is key anytime you’re handling a weapon.  Dry Fire Training Cards are designed to be used with an inert weapon or with a live weapon that has been physically AND visually verified cold (empty of ammunition), with any/all live ammunition locked up in a separate room.

By definition, dry fire is the manipulation of a firearm with NO AMMUNITION IN THE FIREARM, NO AMMUNITION IN THE MAGAZINES YOU’LL BE TRAINING WITH, AND NO AMMUNITION IN THE ROOM WHERE YOU’RE TRAINING.  When the hammer drops, there is no ammunition in the chamber.  When you insert a magazine and rack the slide, no round enters the chamber.  Therefore, by definition, if you have a negligent discharge while practicing, you were not doing dry fire because there is no way to have a negligent discharge without ammunition present.

If you have ammunition in your firearm, in your magazines, or in the room where you’re training, you’re not doing dry fire and should not use these drills.

Even with a weapon that’s been verified cold, you must follow one of the 2 sets of firearms safety rules:

The “Jeff Cooper” / Gunsite 4 laws of firearms safety:

1. Treat every weapon as if it’s loaded, even if it’s not.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you’re not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your weapon is aimed at your target.

4. Always identify your target and what’s behind it before shooting.

Or the Defensive Mindset Training 2 rules of firearms safety:

1.  Point the muzzle where you want to point it and don’t point it where you don’t want to point it.

2.  Put your finger in the trigger guard when you want to press the trigger and keep it out of the trigger guard when you don’t want to press the trigger.

As well as the rules of Dry Fire safety:

1. Eliminate all distractions when dry fire training and only do dry fire when you are well rested, alert, and not altered by drugs or other substances.

2. Lock and remove all ammo from your weapon and the area where you’re training.

3. After visually and physically confirming that your weapon, magazine, pockets, pouches, mag holders, etc. are empty of live rounds, audibly state (to yourself) that you’ve confirmed that your weapon and magazines are unloaded and that there are no live rounds in the area and that you’re starting dry fire practice.

4. If you’re training with a real platform, use dedicated dry fire targets with a backstop that can safely absorb negligent discharges.  People have died, lost limbs, and been severely injured from attempting to do dry fire drills with a weapon that had live ammo in it or near it.  By definition, it is impossible to do dry fire drills with ammunition present.  If you have ammunition present when you’re manipulating your weapon, you are not doing dry fire and you should not use these drills.  Your weapon is your responsibility.  Any discharge that you have while practicing is due to your negligence.  Train safe.

5.  If your concentration is interrupted at any point, go through steps 1-4 before continuing.

6.  Only train as long as you can dedicate your full attention to handling your weapon or training platform.

7.  When you decide you’re done dry fire training, don’t do ANY more.  Put your targets and weapons away.  The transition from dry fire to live fire is when most training negligent discharges happen.  The mind must have a clear transition from “real gun, real ammo” to “dry fire” and back to “real gun, real ammo.”  Confusion

8. Wait 1/2 hour after dry fire training before reintroducing live ammo.

9. When you reload your weapon, audibly say, “live weapon, live ammo” 5-10 times.  This sounds silly, but you absolutely can not switch back into dry fire mode for “one more shot” with a live weapon and this little refrain is designed to help you reinforce the message to your brain that training is done.

If you have any stories of negligent discharges that you’re willing to share, please do so by commenting below:

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  • Lillian Anderson

    Reply Reply May 23, 2020

    Hello, I have had issues with sellers and COVID-19 related issues. On amazon it states that this product is not available. I want to verify that if I purchase this product, that it will be sent in a timely manner. Thank you for your time,
    – Lillian

    • Ox

      Reply Reply May 25, 2020

      Yes…while Amazon has had all sorts of hiccups and glitches, we have continued to keep fulfillment within 1 business day throughout the entire Coronavirus situation.

  • Chris Matkins

    Reply Reply January 17, 2020

    FB Post from a friend a few years ago – Well I’ve been told my whole life that you can kill or get killed with an unloaded gun….. I shot myself in the upper leg yesterday with 1!!!!
    I got it out of my truck to clean it. It’s a 22 that I take fishing to shoot snakes. It rained on us last week while fishing & I hadn’t cleaned my pistol yet.
    I picked it up, took the magazine out, pulled the slide back to make sure it wasn’t loaded. Put the mag in my pocket & went to my chair.
    I began taking it apart. Pulled slide back again. Took pins out to take slide off. It wouldn’t come off. Because you have to pull trigger to release the slide. (Which I’ve always thought was dumb). I pulled trigger and BANG!!!!
    So no matter how much you know bout Guns. Believe me it can happen in a blink of an eye.
    The bullet had tarnished from rain water & was stuck in the barrel. The extractor wouldn’t pull it out.
    I racked the slide 3x’s that I remember. It was suppose to be unloaded…. I never looked in the chamber…..

  • Alan Henning

    Reply Reply November 1, 2019

    I have a pair of negligent discharges for you.
    One, was many years back. My dad was a Navy Chief. He was doing his weekend warrior duty, at Grosse Isle. The sailors, manning the guardshack, had a routine, at the changing of the guard. The on duty guard, would take out the 1911 (yeah, it’s been a few years), drop the mag, rack the slide, and hold the pistol vertically, and pull the trigger. Then, the oncoming guard, inserted the mag, racked the slide, dropped the mag, reloaded the previously ejected cartridge, into the mag, and reinserted it. You can see where this is heading. It was at the night change, and someone screwed up the order. This resulted in a pretty ventilation hole in the roof, and two temporarily deaf guards. And, then the paperwork started.
    The second discharge was a shotgun. In a police cruiser. A new one. Again, at shift change, the vertical dash mounted shotgun, was discharged through the windshield and top of the cab. The shotgun wasn’t removed, and one of the officers racked it back, to clear it. He was supposed to take the fresh round out too. That obviously didn’t occur, and the next shell was chambered. The trigger was pressed, and….well you know the rest. Paperwork, and temporary hearing loss. Huh?

  • Wilbert Myrick

    Reply Reply September 22, 2018

    Yes I call my self doing Dry fire but all that I read sounds better because you do kinda forget that now you have a loaded gun with live rounds waiting a half hour and saying it 5 to 10 time make you remember no more dry fire thanks so much and not having live rounds in the room is much more safer to not have a live discard

  • stormy

    Reply Reply May 5, 2016

    A few months ago I got a new gun and my hubby and I went through breaking it down, cleaning it and trying to get the slide to SLIDE. For some reason this new pistol’s mech was extremely stiff. I am a bit of a jock and just had to be able to pull the slide back even though my big strong hubby had trouble. I just thought that more sliding would make it smoother, easier.

    I got exhausted, grins. So then we went on to loading the magazines that were also quite stiff. I was feeling like a little old lady more and more. Then we were loading the magazines into my gun and I was so tired that I simply had to slide that slide again whilst the magazine was in. I didn’t even once think about live bullets, just had to get that slide back.

    Thank goodness my hubby WAS paying attention. The bullets started jamming and he calmly told me to stop…I was and still am horrified how easily it was to NOT REMEMBER! I was LUCKY and don’t expect I’ll get a get out of jail free card again! So very easy to lose concentration! The drills you’ve included are excellent. To make oneself say live weapon, live ammo 10X MAKES SENSE!!

  • Ken R

    Reply Reply May 3, 2016

    We use yellow tails in our weapons when practicing dry fire exercises and active shooter drills. And this is only after each person verifies their weapon empty and then hands their weapon to another in the dril to confirm the safe status and return said weapon to its operator.
    There are also orange rubberized plastic plugs that can go into the top of the slide magazine to provide visual confirmation of safe unloaded weapon status.
    Any and all ammunition remains in car trunks or outside practice room.
    I defer to the drill author as to whether or not the above practices are acceptable to learning objectives. I totally agree with a cool down period after practice as no participants go on duty until the next day after a full shift of drill. Safety first and foremost. Follow the 5 rules of safety

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