In the United States, the second amendment of the Constitution protects the rights of citizens to own weapons. However, as gun ownership increases in the United States and mass shootings and accidental gun deaths become the focal point of media outlets, the debate rages on whether tighter restrictions should be imposed and control gun legislation passed. The big question becomes how do we reduce the number of gun injuries without imposing on the Constitutional right to bear arms?
COVID brought many changes to daily life. One change was the increase in gun sales. According to aftermath.com, gun sales spiked by 70% from March 2019 to March 2020. Additionally, aftermath.com sites that 77% of accidental gun deaths happen in the home. Therefore, it would appear that more training for firearm ownership is needed. One viable training method is dry firing.
Dry firing is the practice of firing a gun without ammunition in the chamber. Dry fire training has many benefits that could help move toward a safer environment. A recent study found that 5.4 million new gun owners are first time firearm owners (news.northeastern). Like with anything, practice is needed to become proficient and effective. Without this practice accidents are more likely to happen. However, the costs of ammunition and range fees are not easily accessible. As a result, many have no practice in firing the weapon. Dry firing techniques can be practiced anywhere since there is no ammunition in the weapon. Since most gun ranges are single lanes, safety restrictions prevent the shooter from practicing pulling from a holster and reloading the magazine.
Dry firing gives the shooter the opportunity to practice these skills creating muscle memory and efficiency. Even the most skilled shooters practice firing their weapon to help with proficiency and accuracy. Dry firing allows the shooter to feel the pull of the trigger without creating a pull in anticipation of a recoil. This gives the shooter an opportunity to perfect breathing skills associated with shooting such as hand-eye coordination, grip extension stance, aim, breath control, and quick target acquisition. This creates a safety with competency without the expenses of range fees and ammunition costs. Shooters improve accuracy and technique for safer efficiency. With lawmakers being pushed to create “safe gun legislation” in an effort to decrease gun accidents, options for training could be the answer to these concerns. Increasing training and effectiveness would potentially decrease gun accidents and make the community safer. However, there are legitimate concerns to this practice. Many argue that dry firing can damage the firearm. However, newer weapons are designed to handle the hammer hitting the firing pin even without ammunition in the chamber without damaging the weapon. The recoil when firing a weapon without ammunition can be different especially in larger caliber guns. This could affect the accuracy of the shooter in a live situation.
The benefits of dry firing largely outweigh the potential drawbacks. Allowing gun owners to practice using a simulator will improve accuracy, technique and basic skills associated with correctly and safely handling a firearm. With the increase in gun ownership across the country, training and use becomes vital for the safety and security of everyone. Dry firing allows for trigger training with decreased costs while improving the skill set needed for proper handling of a weapon and shooting simulators allow you to diversify the training process as much as possible.