Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall?

A quick internet search reveals that I’m hardly the only one to ever think of doing this, but I thought I would write a bit about a somewhat controversial idea. Specifically, I want to address one way to dry fire that I have found beneficial.

Use a mirror! I’m sure most gun owners have done this at one time or another, and I wanted to discuss some specific safety aspects and merits of the idea.

First, let’s address the safety concerns that are going to be the most controversial aspect of this recommendation.

  • If you do this, you must absolutely ENSURE that your gun is not loaded and that no ammunition is available in the immediate area.
  • Consider using a training barrel that will render your gun incapable of firing live ammunition (such as this one from Blade-Tech).
  • Use caution with lasers and SIRT pistols. These lasers can cause eye injury if the laser is reflected into your vision.
  • Consider what the background is behind the mirror that you use… is it your kid’s room, is it a neighbor’s house, or an empty field? Unless you’ve installed armor behind your mirror, it’s not going to stop a bullet!
  • Make dry fire a conscious act. Verbalize the actions of unloading the pistol when beginning and of loading the pistol when finished. When you’re finished, you’re finished! Never “just one more!”

With those points established, let’s talk about the potential benefits.

  • This is excellent practice for drawing against and pulling the trigger on a human adversary. Whether you choose to aim at the center of mass or take a head shot, you will be doing so against a realistic human target, and one that is armed!
  • The distance to your target is effectively double the distance that you are standing from the mirror. Make the best of a small area!
  • Want to see what your flashlight technique looks like to your adversary? You can find out!
  • Evaluate your stance and draw stroke in real time.
  • This is an excellent way to practice focal shift from the target to your front sight, or to practice target focused shooting if that works better for your vision or sighting system.
  • You can even set up multiple targets! Put a silhouette target on the wall behind you so that it is visible in the mirror and practice drawing and dry-firing on it in the mirror, and then transition between the target and your reflection. If you are physically some distance away from the target either behind or even in front of you, this can create the illusion of targets at varying distances. Want to get really creative? Place a target on a wall to your right or left between you and the mirror. Engage the target, then do a scan and then punch the gun out and engage your reflection when the armed and dangerous assailant appears in your vision!

Now, I’m not suggesting this as an exclusive way to dry fire practice, but I think it has some merit as a way to invigorate your dry fire routine. I found it interesting to see just how the pistol wound up directly beneath my dominant eye and it has helped me to clean up my draw stroke and stance. Try it and see if it helps you.

Again, I want to stress the imperative of doing this safely. Depending on your living environment, you may not have a completely safe backstop! Use common sense and discretion, and ideally, render your gun incapable of firing with a training barrel before trying this.

Also, there are trainers that will advise against this practice, in hopes of deterring negligent discharges that could have devastating consequences. This is sound advice, but I would counter that an unloaded firearm poses no danger… just make sure it is indeed unloaded!

Just to reiterate for those that may be new to the world of firearms, if you’re going to prepare your gun for dry fire practice…

  • Unload the gun. To do this, remove the magazine, eject the round in the chamber, and lock the slide back. Visually inspect the chamber and magazine well to ensure that they are empty before closing the slide on an empty chamber.
  • Remove all ammunition from your practice area and from your pockets or mag pouches.
  • Remember that dry fire is a conscious act that requires close attention. If your practice is interrupted, verify that your gun is still unloaded prior to resuming your practice. When you finish your practice session, deliberately load your gun for carry or place it in storage and remember that your dry fire session is finished!

Let us know if you’ve tried this and what your experience is. What do our readers think? Good idea, bad idea, indifferent? We appreciate your feedback!

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