Dry-Firing After Clearing

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Thread: Dry-Firing After Clearing

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    Dry-Firing After Clearing

    The standard operating procedure for while I was employed behind the gun counter was as follows:

    • Customer asks to see gun.
    • Take gun out of case, clear it, hand it to customer with slide locked back, cylinder open, etc.
    • When customer hands the gun back, clear the gun again, point it at the floor (in the safest direction) and dry-fire (unless it had a decocking mechanism or was a .22 then you should use the decocker or lower the hammer manually).
    • If a safety could be put on.. put it on.
    • Put it back in case.


    Upon starting IDPA this practice was reinforced.
    "Show clear!"
    Show firearm clear to the RO.
    "Hammer down!"
    Dry-fire into berm.

    I can't remember a single time I have not done this practice when clearing handguns.

    Remove magazine, clear chamber, check chamber, point in a safe direction, dry-fire.

    In my opinion I am not breaking any of the rules of gun handling. I am treating the firearm as though it were loaded. I am pointing the firearm in a safe direction. I am not putting my finger on the trigger until I am ready to fire (or in this case, dry-fire). I am aware of my target and what is beyond.

    On both of the firearms I carry (a 1911 or Glock) this gives me a visual clue the firearm has not been messed with or handled since I cleared it. If the hammer is down on my 1911 or the trigger has not been reset on my Glock I know the slide has not been racked. Even if the firearm were to be picked up by a novice and played with the slide would have to be operated and the trigger is pretty much inoperable.

    Of course I always check a firearm every time I pick it up but dry-firing is something I have always done upon clearing my semi-autos (provided it is safe to dry-fire).

    Some have seen this practice and questioned whether or not it is a bad habit saying that I could get complacent with my dry-firing and unintentionally fire a round.

    I suppose anything is possible... but I have yet to disrespect any handgun or the rules of operating those handguns to the point where I carelessly put my finger on the trigger or dry-fired in an unsafe direction/manner.

    JD and I talked about it this morning and he agrees that it has always been a practice of his as well and he sees nothing wrong with it.

    What say ye? Reasonable clearing method or bad habit?

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  3. #2
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    Nothing wrong with it at all, so long as the muzzle is oriented in a safe direction.

    Matt
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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Well, I don't see anything wrong with it. That is what I do. However, I remember my first CHL instructor back in the late 1990's telling us that you should never dry fire any weapon, and that if you need to release the hammer you should use a snap-cap as to avoid damaging the firing pin. Unfortunately, this never made any sense to me. For example, with my Glock, if I put a snap-cap inside and pull the trigger, then the gun will be docked. Unfortunately, the only way to get the snap cap back out of the gun would require racking the slide and cocking it again. So I've never bothered and just dry fire mine.

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    Right or wrong, that IS the GLOCK factory recommended method of storage, i.e. unloaded with the trigger in the rearward position.

    I do exactly the same as you. The danger comes in when we are exceedingly tired or distracted. I have tried to instill a sense of imperative in myself that any time I am handling, and particularly stowing, firearms, I give the process my full attention. I am not conversing with anyone, watching TV, or anything other than unloading and securing firearms. I guess you could say it is an "active" task as opposed to a "passive" task. If that makes any sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adric22 View Post
    Well, I don't see anything wrong with it. That is what I do. However, I remember my first CHL instructor back in the late 1990's telling us that you should never dry fire any weapon, and that if you need to release the hammer you should use a snap-cap as to avoid damaging the firing pin. Unfortunately, this never made any sense to me. For example, with my Glock, if I put a snap-cap inside and pull the trigger, then the gun will be docked. Unfortunately, the only way to get the snap cap back out of the gun would require racking the slide and cocking it again. So I've never bothered and just dry fire mine.
    Well, you shouldn't do it with any rim-fired firearms as it WILL damage the firing pin but most modern-day center-fire handguns are perfectly safe to dry-fire.

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    'Never been an RO, but that's how I store my firearms (well, those that are designated to be unloaded). It abides by the four basic rules.
    __________________________________
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    Right or wrong, that IS the GLOCK factory recommended method of storage, i.e. unloaded with the trigger in the rearward position.

    I do exactly the same as you. The danger comes in when we are exceedingly tired or distracted. I have tried to instill a sense of imperative in myself that any time I am handling, and particularly stowing, firearms, I give the process my full attention. I am not conversing with anyone, watching TV, or anything other than unloading and securing firearms. I guess you could say it is an "active" task as opposed to a "passive" task. If that makes any sense.
    Agreed.

    I've also heard of people getting SO complacent with the practice wherein it becomes SO natural that when the slide falls they just pull the trigger and while loading and distracted or just not thinking clearly they insert magazine, drop the slide, pull the trigger and BANG!!

    To me, in my mind and in my practices, loading and unloaded/clearing are two totally different operations and both require utmost concentration in a distraction-free environment.

    Load: Insert loaded magazine, rack slide, holster, remove magazine, top-off, reinsert magazine.. Don't Touch! (until needed)
    Unload: Drop magazine, rack slide several times, visually and physically inspect chamber and mag well, drop slide, point in safe direction, dry-fire, reinsert empty magazine or store loaded magazine separately.

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    VIP Member Array SpencerB's Avatar
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    That's how I do it to limatunes, nothing wrong with it, that is how I was taught.
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    I was taught to never put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to fire a round. Glock breaks this rule because you have to dry fire it for disassembly. But I still prefer to follow this rule as much as possible. I believe that locking the slide back and leaving it allows everyone to see for themselves whether the gun is loaded or not, and rendering the gun unable to fire. In my mind, this practice is always better than pulling the trigger.

    YMMV
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZJD1968 View Post
    I was taught to never put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to fire a round. Glock breaks this rule because you have to dry fire it for disassembly. But I still prefer to follow this rule as much as possible. I believe that locking the slide back and leaving it allows everyone to see for themselves whether the gun is loaded or not, and rendering the gun unable to fire. In my mind, this practice is always better than pulling the trigger.

    YMMV
    Unfortunately our handguns would not fit in our handgun safe that way. In the big safe, yes, and we do store them that way from time to time if they are going in the big safe but in the handgun safe we would have to lay them side-ways and pile them on top of each other to fit in at slide lock. And when you have lots of handguns.. well.. things get pretty piled up.

    There are other applications such as fitting into a portable carry case from the range and back, going into a specific gun rug, etc, where they might not fit at slide lock.

    I agree that slide-lock is a far better storing method as far as immediately confirming the firearm is unloaded but might not be the most practical in some instances.

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    Senior Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    I do exactly the same as you. The danger comes in when we are exceedingly tired or distracted. I have tried to instill a sense of imperative in myself that any time I am handling, and particularly stowing, firearms, I give the process my full attention. I am not conversing with anyone, watching TV, or anything other than unloading and securing firearms. I guess you could say it is an "active" task as opposed to a "passive" task. If that makes any sense.
    ^ That's me, too.

    I have a 5 and 1/2 year old that's practically my shadow.

    When I'm arming up before leaving the house, I simply tell her that I'm dressing, and require privacy. I can thus give the weapon-handling the proper, devoted, attention. Same in-reverse, too.

    I think that as long as you're safe in your own practices - and that you are CONSISTENT in it - the practice is fine.
    limatunes and 10thmtn like this.

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    As long as the dry fire is ALWAYS step "X" of however many steps you want to break it down into I see no problems in dry firing after clearing a center fire handgun. Repetition is the base for ingraining practices either good or bad.

    As to having complacency causing a ND, not really an issue that merits additional concern since complacency in ANY action can cause unintended consequences. That would be like saying you shouldn't carry ammunition in your personal carry gun because if you get complacent and draw your handgun and then pull the trigger for no reason you may injure someone.

    We all train (or should) to make complacency a known evil and not to let it become an issue.

    As long as it's the last step in your clearing procedure after every other safety check in that procedure every time then it's good.
    limatunes and TSiWRX like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post


    Load: Insert loaded magazine, rack slide, holster, remove magazine, top-off, reinsert magazine.. Don't Touch! (until needed)

    One more step for me, (since my semi-auto's are both Walther P99's). I de-cock and they are then in the DA mode.

    Unload: Drop magazine, rack slide several times, visually and physically inspect chamber and mag well, drop slide, point in safe direction, dry-fire, reinsert empty magazine or store loaded magazine separately.
    Sounds familiar, Ive been doing it that way for almost 40 years. Good advice.

    bosco

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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Load: Insert loaded magazine, rack slide, * holster, remove magazine, top-off, reinsert magazine.. Don't Touch! (until needed)
    * Press-check

    Can't forget the press-check.

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    This was a new concept to me when I shot my first USPSA match a couple of months ago. When I finished the first stage, I cleared my gun my normal way, dropped the mag, cleared the chamber and left the gun locked back on an empty cylinder, showed clear.

    Wrong. Then remembered to release the slide lock and pull the trigger to show clear. Of course this was done in a safe manner with it pointed down range at the dirt. Was given the clear, holstered the gun and went about my business.

    This is a very weird concept for me, but I do understand the thought behind it since the gun has to go directly into the holster and remain there until you get to your next firing possition and make ready. As long as no one is messing with their gun, empty mag well can be seen on every gun, all is good.

    However, the first method of clearing is exactly what I require of students during CHL courses. Mag out of gun, slide locked back on empty cylinder with gun laying on the table and ejection port up. I can walk up and down the line and tell right way what is what. When there are lots of students, I can't possibly tell how many clicks of firing pins there are if done the way USPSA/IDPA requires.

    When you are there one on one with the RSO and he/she can tell for certain that that gun is cleared before being returned to the holster I think this method is fine. For other places, it might not be my most prefered method of showing clear. I think I will stick with slide or cylinder open and empty chamber or mag well that I can visually see.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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