The most professional firearm instructors in the world know that if you push students beyond their capabilities it creates an unsafe environment for everyone.
This is why it has become commonplace in live fire classes for both law enforcement and armed citizens to run some drills dry before running them with live guns.
Doing so provides an opportunity for students to practice the motions and understand the potential hazards while simultaneously allowing the instructor(s) to observe their students and identify if there are any significant safety concerns before loading up the guns and going live.
So, I wasn’t surprised at the recent S12 Challenge, put on by CarryTrainer in Tennessee when lead instructor Mickey Schuch told the class we were going to be doing some dynamic movement drills dry before we did them live.
The next thing Mickey did was the smartest thing a firearm trainer can do. He retrieved bags of BarrelBloks and handed them out to each student and with the assistance of the assistant instructors, every gun on the line was BarrelBlok’d.
New Verb: To BarrelBlok. Example: “Before I started my dry fire routine I BarrelBlok’d my gun”
This had several important impacts that day in the training session.
First, the instructors and staff could see without exception that every gun was truly safe and inert. No need to triple-check and have your neighbor look into your gun to confirm. No need to remove the live ammo and magazines from the students. That orange stick, hanging out the end of the muzzle represents an absolute guarantee that the gun is safe.
Second, the students on the line could look left and look right and know that every gun on the line was safe and inert. That assurance created an environment where each student could focus on the instructions and focus on building strong habits through the exercise without worrying that someone else on the line was going to put an extra hole where it didn’t belong.
Lastly, it set an example to every shooter in the class of the proper method to render a gun safe before starting a dry fire practice session or drill. These students will go home better prepared to conduct safe at-home dry fire.