“Blue” guns, or plastic “dummy” weapons are a mandatory piece of practice gear. Learning takes a lot of repetitions. The experts agree it takes thousands of repetitions to learn a skill so it can be applied without having to consciously think about the actions. The best way to get your skills squared away is through dry practice. Ninety percent of your practice should be performed “dry,” without ever firing a shot. Dummy weapons are the safest way to practice these skills at home.
The best alternative is an actual replica of your weapon that’s made of plastic. These plastic pistols – BUY here - match your real one, so they fit your holster and hands just like the pistol you shoot. Now you can safely practice moving, drawing the pistol and using cover inside your house. You still want to treat it like a real weapon so you don’t develop any bad habits. Don’t be spinning it on your finger cowboy still or flipping it in the air performing “border shifts.”
Even though these type training pistols don’t have any moving parts you can still practice reloads and malfunctions, going through the same motions as you normally would. These repetitions are stored in the brain, which doesn’t distinguish between real manipulations and dry ones, so the key is to make sure you’re going through all the same motions, not shortcutting or leaving anything out.
On the low end of the scale you have generic pistols, or what I call “redneck” dummy weapons that are cut out of wood to the general size you need. I’ve also found a few “toy” pistols on Amazon that are good for practice. One 1911 I found has a removable magazine, a slide that cycles and plastic bullets that it fires, although not with any velocity or distance.
On the upper end of practice pistols is Next Level Training’s SIRT pistols, BUY here. When you touch the trigger, one laser shows you where the sights are aiming. Pressing the trigger fires another laser, which shows you where the bullet would hit. Then it has a trigger that “resets,” so you get to practice that part of the shot as well. They have a removable magazine, the same weight and feel of the Glock, and an adjustable trigger so you can match your carry weapon. (I don’t have one of these yet but it’s on my list.)
Another valuable practice tool are dummy rounds, BUY here. These allow you to practice all your manipulations at home, again safely. There are some people that will make dummy rounds using real bullets and cases – without a primer or powder – but I’ve always been leery of these because it’s possible to get them mixed up with live ammo.
Learning requires repetitions; a skill must be performed thousands of times to learn. With dummy weapons and ammo you can spend ten or fifteen minutes a day practicing. Then, when you do go to the range, all you do is make sure the bullets are hitting where they are supposed to when you press the trigger. ~ Tiger
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of “The Book of Two Guns” - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee’s new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite’s website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html