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I'm new to handguns, and want to set up a reasonably safe area for me to do dry fire drills. I really don't want to make a mistake and think I have an empty chamber or a snap cap in place, only to find out that I had live ammunition in the gun.

If I had an negligent discharge, my thoughts would include:
Did I kill someone, did I injure someone, what kind of property damage did I do, should I stick with shooting if I am this careless?

I am thinking that I will set up my area in my basement. It is rather small, about 10x10 feet. Concrete walls on all four walls, three sides go through to the crawlspace, but the fourth wall only has dirt on the other side. If I had an ND down there, the worst case scenario is that shrapnel would slice me open and kill me. Next step down is that the bullet will strike the concrete wall, go through it, and into the yard. I will load the magazines with snap caps so I can practice reloads, draws, empty and show clear, and other basic safety rulesll

Anybody have any advice on whether this area will suffice, and what I can do to minimize damage done by an ND, should one happen?

I am fighting a lot of family pressure because my dad gave up guns after Vietnam, he was just done with them, so I have no experience with them until 2 months ago. So, I want to make sure I do this as safely as possible while at home. I don't plan on having ammunition in the house for a couple of months as I take more training courses. Doesn't make sense to have the paperweight in the house with no ammunition, but my girlfriend just does not feel comfortable with one in the house with my basic training, and her utter lack of training.

Thanks,
D
 
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I really don't know why it wouldn't be fine. I think you are going a little over board on trying to please the family/girlfriend. Load your mag with. Snap caps and make sure your chamber dose not have a live round and your fine. Don't get me wrong safety is your number 1 priority but once you get to know your handgun you will be comfortable enough to drill anywhere.

As for not having ammo, better to have those paper weights and not
Need them then not have them and need them.

You don't need a handgun course to be proficient and know your sidearm. Courses are great to get the basics and unless you plan on going all out tacticool you don't need much.
 
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the only thing I will add is :
never have live ammo in the same room you are practising in. Clear your weapon. go into the room and then load your snap caps. Oh yeah teach your g/f to shoot or trade for a better model.
 
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the only thing I will add is :
never have live ammo in the same room you are practising in. Clear your weapon. go into the room and then load your snap caps. Oh yeah teach your g/f to shoot or trade for a better model.

The girlfriend... A gun is more reliable and won't argue!
 
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Fighting with family pressure isn't the correct terminology. How about, it is an internal struggle. Family is supportive. I think my dad just wants me to make sure I understand the potential emotional impacts. The girlfriend is also supportive, so I didn't make it clear there, either. (Shouldn't type half-asleep.) She just wants to make sure that I am safe while I do any drills at home.
 
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Just follow the advice already given above and you will be fine. I will add that if at any time you become distracted ie; phone, girlfriend, tv etc, you should stop and go back to it another time. If might be so bold, since you are new to firearms, here are the four firearms rules.

1) You should consider your weapon loaded at all times, and treat it as such.
2) Do not point your weapon at anything that you are not willing/justified to kill, maim, or destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger, and along the slide of your weapon until you are on target and have made a concious descision to fire.
4) Know your backstop and what lies beyond. Not just the background, but the foreground as well.

Follow those four rules and you will be fine. If you need/want to go shooting PM me, I am a law enforcement firearms instructor
Keys
 
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Some shooters keep a sand bucket nearby to point the gun at and pull the trigger to make absolutely sure that the weapon is not loaded.

The BIG danger comes when finished practicing, and loading live ammo into the gun! There is a mindless reflex to pull the trigger to decock a double-action semiauto pistol after chambering a round, which was just reinforced by the practice session! This is why many shooters say that single-action autos are safer, and that revolvers are safest. CHANGE MINDSET when changing to live ammo after practice, and do not be inattentive!

Also: do not handle live ammo before morning coffee! Don't ask me how I know this!............................elsullo
 

Phillyfan

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the only thing I will add is :
never have live ammo in the same room you are practising in. Clear your weapon. go into the room and then load your snap caps. Oh yeah teach your g/f to shoot or trade for a better model.

Yep, that's my rule when I clean my guns. Empty the mags, clear the chambers in the bedroom, then off to the garage for cleaning. Never any live ammo within 50 feet of the gun. Just paranoid that way I guess. A professor of mine always used to say "Better to build a fence at the top of the cliff then to park an ambulance at the bottom."
 
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