Take a moment to consider your basic shooting skills. Have you ever noticed, or ever been told, that you have an anticipation issue that is having a negative impact on your accuracy? Perhaps you could improve weapons handling skills while dealing with malfunctions. Most, if not all, firearms instructors will immediately implement the use of “dummy rounds.”   No, I am not insulting you! The “dummy round” is essentially an inert cartridge. It is simply an empty casing with a plastic or rubber bullet, no primer, and no gunpowder. The perfect and safe training aid.

The firearms instructors know the value of training with dummy rounds. They will load your magazines and randomly load in one or more of these training cartridges. This will result in your being able to see the anticipation movement when it happens, or be forced to clear a weapon malfunction. Knowing the value of these inexpensive training aids, why is it that so very few actually continue to train with them? I have asked this very question and I was regularly told, “I will know where they are in my magazines.” I have a fix for this!

You will need the following equipment:

  1. A box of cartridges – also referred to as “bullets”
  2. Dummy rounds (the number used is completely up to you)
  3. An empty firearm (Exercise is designed for the semi-automatic handgun)
  4. Complete duty rig (Gun Belt, Holster, and Magazine Pouch)
  5. Eye and Ear Protection
  6. Oh yeah, lets not forget the need for a shooting range. Please do not do this at home!

The next time you are at the range try this simple technique for working with dummy rounds:

  1. With your empty firearm secured in its holster, remove the magazine from the weapon and from your magazine pouch.
  2. Dump the cartridges into the box they came in and add your dummy rounds.
  3. Close the box and shake the box so as to mix up the live cartridges with the dummy rounds.
  4. Keeping the box closed, lay out the number of magazines you are going to load on the table/bench in front of you.
  5. Now (this is the important part) close your eyes
  6. Open the box and begin loading your magazines. Be sure to load them with the ammunition properly seated and facing the correct direction. In other words, do not load in the ammo backwards.
  7. Remember, your eyes are CLOSED!
  8. Once all of your magazines are loaded, and with your EYES CLOSED, place the magazines back into your magazine pouch and insert the magazine back into your holstered firearm. (NOTE: if your range rules prohibit you from inserting the magazine into the weapon like this, simply place the magazine into your pocket until you are on the line and can load the firearm. Keeping the firearm pointed down range, and with your finger off of the trigger, focus completely on the target, remove the magazine from your pocket and load your weapon.)

You are now ready to begin shooting drills and you will be surprised when you encounter a dummy round, just like you would if someone else loaded your magazines for you.