Serious concealed carriers know that mere possession of a concealed handgun alone probably isn’t enough if the day comes that genuine skill-at-arms is required to save their life. Skill-at-arms is not something that can be purchased, and once acquired must then be maintained. Much of it comes from dry practice, or exercises which do not require using live ammunition. Which given the limited availability, high costs, and need for an impenetrable backstop is a good thing.
The following skills can be practiced in dry practice mode:
- Efficient presentation from a concealed holster while focusing on proper grip
- Sight picture and alignment
- Trigger control
- Follow through
- Type 1 (failure-to-feed or fire) malfunction
- Type 2 (stovepipe) malfunction
- Type 3 (double feed) malfunction
- Speed reloads
- Emergency reloads
The training aid described in Part One of this article was the Newbold dummy rounds. Dummy rounds work great for dry practice as they can absorb some of the striker or firing pin impact and allow the slide to go forward when practicing emergency reloads. In addition, they can be used to create Type 1 malfunctions during live fire practice. A five-pack of Newbold dummy rounds are priced at $8.94 at www.concealedcarry.com.
A second inexpensive training aid is the BarrelBlok Dry Fire Training and Safety Tool which is also available at www.concealedcarry.com. It is a plastic insert that goes directly through the open chamber of a semi-automatic handgun that not only blocks the chamber so that a live round is unable to be chambered but a portion of which actually protrudes outside of the muzzle so others can see that the firearm is rendered incapable of firing. It goes without saying that the Four Rules of Firearms Safety remain in effect and a handgun so equipped should never be pointed in an unsafe direction.
The virtues inherent in the BarrelBlok are that the handgun controls can be fully manipulated, there is a visual indicator that the handgun is not loaded, and much like with the Newbold dummy rounds the striker or firing pin is cushioned upon impact. The BarrelBlok also comes with three MagBlok inserts that snap into the top of a magazine. John Hearne first introduced me to the MagBlok inserts and recommended inserting one into the top of an empty magazine so that we could practice emergency reload drills at home. The insert prevents the slide from locking to the rear on an empty magazine. I used to practice emergency reloads with dummy rounds, but tired fairly quickly of searching for them as in “Dang, I think that one went right behind the dresser!” Current price on the BarrelBlok and three MagBlok inserts is $12.99.
The Type 3 Malfunction Round was designed to simulate the dreaded Type 3 (double-feed) malfunction in which two rounds are attempting to occupy the chamber at the same time. This malfunction normally requires the user to either retract the slide partially or lock it back completely to relieve enough pressure on the magazine so that it can be removed from the magwell. I know that there are advocates of simply pressing the magazine release button and physically ripping the magazine out of the magwell, but as far as I know most instructors teach a method that first involves locking the slide back, removing the magazine, and then clearing the double-feed and chambering a new round. The Type 3 Malfunction round is made of a nylon plastic resin and has two tiny fins on the sides that prevent it from fully entering the chamber. Each such round should last for about 500 repetitions before needing to be replaced. Also available through www.concealedcarry.com, a package of five costs $19.95.
The reason that I mentioned ConcealedCarry.Com as a preferred source for the training aids discussed in this article other than the one-stop shopping angle is that online sales is only a part of their company. They have a team of firearms trainers that teach both firearms classes online and in person all over the United States. They put out some fantastic media, and I go to their website to catch their podcasts and the articles on topics relevant to concealed carriers like myself. I have gotten to know Jacob Paulsen and Riley Bowman and admire both for not only their professionalism and business ethics but the fact that they are simply great people.
As a long-time martial artist, firearms trainer, and concealed carrier I am a firm believer in the value of training. Simple training aids like the ones described in this article help me work on skills that before could only be performed on the range with live ammunition.
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.