One of the things I spend the most time on at the annual NRA Annual Meeting is scouring the exhibit halls for new and innovative products. This year, I ran across a previous acquaintance. I had forgotten about this Dry Fire Mag until we crossed paths again in the midst of 81,000 of my closest friends at the recent Indy NRA meeting and expo. It’s a dry-fire practice aid that falls squarely into the “Why didn’t I think of that?” category, and it’s arguably a simpler and more efficient solution than a dry fire pistol.
I tell every shooter I work with that a few minutes a day of dry-fire practice is the single most effective thing that can do to improve their shooting skills. How many adopt that practice, even occasionally? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s about the same percentage as people who floss their teeth daily and following the wash-rinse-repeat instructions on hair shampoo.
The problem with dry fire
One reason that dry-fire practice is about as interesting as watching C-SPAN on mute is that it requires artificial gun manipulation if you use a semi-automatic pistol. After all, the whole point of dry-fire practice is to work on the trigger press repeatedly. Each time you press the trigger on a semi-auto, you have to reset the trigger and striker so you can do it again. That requires at least a partial slide rack. Worse yet, if you have a magazine inserted, you have to be careful not to rack too far or else you’ll have the release the slide, too.
There are three problems with these slide racks between shots. First, it’s a pain. Second, you can’t practice multiple shot scenarios, not even two in a row. Third, it arguably develops what tacti-ninjas call “training scars.” Those are training habits that result from doing something in practice you would never do in real life. While I don’t know of a real-world case, it’s conceivable that in the heat of the moment, a frequent dry-fire racker might start racking the slide after every shot. Whatever you think about reason number 3, the first two are enough to warrant finding a better way.
This article originally ran in 2019. It has been updated and republished.
One solution: Dry Fire Mag
Enter the Dry Fire Mag. This nifty invention replaces the magazine in your Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P with this one and you can press your trigger until you become Max Michel or Julie Golob. It works by housing a spring assembly that intercepts the trigger bar on the way back. In fact, it doesn’t even require the slide to be in place to operate. Obviously, you wouldn’t practice that way, but the point is that the system doesn’t use the firing pin, so no wear and tear there. You can also adjust the Dry Fire Mag to match whatever the pull weight is on your current trigger.
It’s a nifty solution for safe and at-home practice.
Dry-Fire Magazine Edit
There are options to the Dryfire Magazine. Though they remain popular, not everyone is impressed with the idea (citing the danger of negligent discharge). One of the most obvious alternatives is the SIRT gun, which has been a staple in many a “training arsenal” for years and is certainly worth looking at. There are others, as well. MantisX can be used with your phone, the LASR program will run on your laptop, the Glock E-Trainer allows you to drop the trigger without having to rack the slide for reset, the Coolfire Trainer Laser Recoil System has received interesting reviews, Airsoft guns for training are readily available (though often reviled, it’s a good tool), and there are always good ole’ snap caps.