If you understand the value of dry practice and are ready to begin training, the first thing you need to consider is a safe location to dry practice in.
A good dry practice area will help you maintain focus on the task at hand while keeping you and others safe.
Much like establishing a storefront, you need to select your dry practice area with the most important factor in mind “location, location, location.”
When selecting your dry practice area, ensure it meets the following criteria:
Access control – Proper dry practice requires that you are able to focus on the task at hand. The last thing you need or want during focused dry practice is interruptions.
Make sure your dry practice area is secluded enough that you can limit access so people can’t simply walk in on you, especially not in the downrange direction where you will be pointing your unloaded firearm, high power lasers, airsoft, or other non-lethal training firearms (NLTF) such as Ultimate Training Munitions.
Consider getting a lock on the door that grants access, as well as posting signage on the outside of the door when you are training and don’t want to be disturbed.
Bulletproof – Ensure that both your down range area (wherever you will hang your targets and point your gun towards) as well as any administrative staging area, is capable of stopping a projectile accidentally shot from the firearm you are training with.
Be aware that most modern firearms ammunition will NOT be contained by standard building materials such as sheetrock, the steel or wood studs, and the exterior wood, vinyl, or aluminum siding and will easily defeat even several walls while retaining sufficient power to both maim and kill.
Your backstop should be made of concrete (think basement) or brick (such as a fireplace/chimney), that is (ideally) backed by earth on the opposite side of the wall.
If you have any doubt about your structure’s ability to stop a projectile safely, consult a reputable structural engineer in your area.
Take note that for airsoft guns harder matrices (such as wood, concrete, brick, etc.,) pose a significant ricochet hazard with both airsoft plastic BBs as well as any standard metal BBs you may shoot.
Because of this, you should mitigate the risk of ricochet with something behind your target and in front of your wall that will absorb training projectiles as well as wear safety glasses any time your dry practice with training aids that expel rounds.
Segregation – Ensure that the area you select is an area that is free of accidental contamination by live rounds being introduced. If your reloading room is the only area in your home that is bulletproof, ensure that it is sanitized prior to each dry practice session.
Make it exclusive – Once you have designated your safe and sanitized dry practice area, only dry practice in that designated area and nowhere else.
Avoid unnecessary distractions by planning ahead and letting others know that your training time is important to you, the more you reinforce it, the fewer distractions you will get.
Once you have your dry practice area selected, the next thing you will need to do is occupy it via a series of safety rituals that will mitigate the chance of negligent discharges or “NDs” during your dry practice.
In the next article, I will provide you with a checklist that will become the backbone of your safety rituals.