Take a Dummy to the Range

Logo TCB“Click”

I stared for half of a second at the new M&P 22 in my hand.  Then I remembered…

“Oh Yeah!”  “I put dummy rounds in the magazine along with live ones.  Duh!”

I ran through the malfunction drill.  Tap.  Rack.  Bang.

Pistol malfunction clearing skills, like the skills of bike riding and having satisfying sex, are perishable skills.Dummy Ammo  While I’m not an expert on gun-fighting, I would guess that the loudest sound in a gunfight is a “click”.  Standing around looking at the pistol with a blank expression might not be the best choice you could make at that time.

These are dummy rounds.   They are similar in every way to live ones, but they contain no powder, projectile, or primer.  Not very useful for shooting, but great for simulating a cartridge malfunction.

Although pistol malfunctions come in several incarnations, the one most common with .22 caliber ammunition is a misfire – experienced as “click no bang”.  The remedy is almost always, “Tap, Rack, Bang”.  That is, strike the bottom of the magazine with the palm of your non-shooting hand, pull the slide fully to the rear and release it, allowing the pistol to extract the bad cartridge and replace it with a (hopefully) good one, then aim and shoot.   Tap, Rack, Bang.

I try to train at least once a month with my pistols or revolvers.  I often see other shooters who, while probably enjoying a day outdoors with firearms, aren’t getting any training in as far as I can tell.  They stand motionless, facing the target area, often using targets which some other shooter has put up and shot up, and shoot to slide lock (empty the magazine).  Then they hunt around for the spent brass for a few minutes before reloading and repeating the process.

Seems like a waste of time and ammo to me.

shooting range August 005I usually drag a trash barrel to some spot on the shooting line, then 1) run to the barrel, crouching behind it and firing two or three shots at a (new, blank) target, tactically reloading while scanning the area, and fire one or two more.  Or 2) fire a couple of shots at the (new, blank) target to “keep his head down” while running to the barrel then repeating the rest of #1.  Or 3)…well you get it.  Shoot, move, tactically reload, scan for threats in any variation I can think of and get away with on the range.

Oh, and I use dummy rounds.  That’s where this started.

I “pile” up the ammunition on the loading table, dummy rounds among the live ones, and with my eyes closed load 3-9 cartridges into each magazine (or 5 into my revolver).  I try not to count as I load so that I’ll be “surprised” if I shoot to slide lock (which shouldn’t happen if I’m reloading tactically behind cover), and I try not to “feel” for the dummy rounds, so I won’t know whether or not I’ve loaded any, and if so, how many.

Then I train.

Malfunction clearing skills, like bike riding and having satisfying sex, are perishable when not practiced.

Take a dummy to the range.