Practice at Home

You can easily practice with your firearm in the safety and comfort of your own home so that, when you get onto the range, you feel more confident and comfortable with your gun. You will be surprised just how much can be made second nature by doing this.

IMPORTANT:  Find a SAFE place to do this. A closed room facing a solid brick wall or an outdoor area facing a high bank. Make sure there are no people around you.


When to do this:

  • If someone hands you a gun you must do this even if they have just done so, don’t assume they have done it properly.
  • If you hand the gun to someone else even just to look at
  • if you plan to clean or work on your gun


  1. Show-clear

    Face the gun in a safe direction, finger off the trigger.

  2. Important! Remove the magazine FIRST – if you do not the gun will simply load itself again. This is the MOST common cause of an AD (Accidental discharge)
  3. Pull the slide back to eject the live round – always assume there is one
  4. Hold the slide back and inspect down the magazine well to be sure it is empty
  5. Inspect the chamber – you will clearly see the back of the bullet if there is one.
  6. If the chamber and mag well are clear, slowly lower the slide
  7. Pull the slide back a second time to be sure it empty
  8. If you wish to pass the gun to someone or else or place on a table you must lock the slide back – While the slide is pulled all the way back, lift the slide lock button on the left front side of the gun to lock it back.
  9. If you do not want the slide locked back you must either dry fire while pointed in a safe direction, manually lower the hammer if you have one or press the decocker if you have one.


This may seem like an easy exercise but this is another common cause of AD’s. There are several ways of doing this so pick what feels most comfortable and safe for you. DO NOT attempt the one handed decock you see on TV it’s not a good idea.

Decock-1METHOD 1

  1. MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED as per Exercise 1
  2. Grip the hammer firmly between your non shooting hand thumb and forefinger and pull the trigger.
  3. Slowly lower the hammer and release the trigger.
  4. Cock the hammer – Repeat repeat repeat

Caution – this method is a little awkward and the hammer can easily slip so be careful!


Decock-2METHOD 2

  1. MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED as per Exercise 1
  2. While keeping the gun facing downrange and your feet in one place, turn your shoulders 45 degrees to the right
  3. Brace the side of your non shooting hand on the top of the gun and grip the hammer between your thumb and forefinger
  4. Pull the trigger.
  5. Slowly lower the hammer and release the trigger.
  6. Cock the hammer – Repeat repeat repeat

Caution – if you turn the gun instead of your shoulders you can loose your safe direction. Also be sure not to put your left elbow in front of the barrel


Decok-3METHOD 3

  1. MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED as per Exercise 1
  2. Place your non shooting hand thumb on top of the hammer and pull the trigger
  3. Allow the hammer to lower gently onto your thumb and roll it out as it goes down
  4. Release the trigger.
  5. Cock the hammer – Repeat repeat repeat

Caution – This method hurts your thumb


  1. To start with use snap caps (plastic dummy bullets) or use a WELL MARKED blank round. Just 1 will do.
  2. Face the gun in a safe direction, finger off the trigger.
  3. Insert the magazine with your snap cap and push it home firmly with the butt of your hand until it clicks in.
  4. Pull the slide all the way back and let go so that it drops down rapidly. Slowly lowering the slide on a round can cause a jam.
  5. If you have an external hammer, you will need to lower it as per Exercise 2
  6. Repeat


It’s important that you get these right from the beginning, so practice them at home until it feels natural:




Your stance must be more or less symmetrical, legs about a foot and half apart and knees slightly bent. Your weight is slightly on the balls of your feet. Lean slightly forward but not too much. DO NOT lean back.

Do not force your shoulders forward, you should see a healthy gap between your elbows. Do not drop one elbow, they should be roughly symmetrical. Your elbows should be very slightly bent and not locked.

hgcombatg_100206dGRIPYour grip is as per the image -both your thumbs should point forwards. 80% of your grip strength comes from your non shooting hand. The tighter your grip the betterRemember to practice good trigger discipline as per the image in Exercise 1. If you are not about to pull the trigger your finger is off it.
Center_hold_sight_pictureSIGHT PICTURELining up the sights is easy in theory but also easy to forget! There are 3 elements to line up: the back sights, the front sight and the target. If either of these is out you will miss. The human eye can only focus on one of them at a time and that is NOT the target but the front sight. Most shooters close one eye to prevent the ghosted images that appear when both eyes are open.


  1. Put a target up about 3 meters away
  2. Load the Gun with a snap cap as per Exercise 3
  3. Place it in your holster. If you are practicing a concealed carry draw you must holster the way you plan to carry. Ie. shirt down or bag closed.
  4. Draw, aim at the target making sure that your stance, grip and sight picture are correct. Use a mirror or camera.
  5. Pull the trigger slowly and steadily while aiming at the target making sure not to allow the sights to move, if they do then grip harder.
  6. Re-holster and repeat repeat repeat increasing your speed as you go. Remember, it’s pointless shooting fast if you miss!
  7. Put up multiple targets to learn tracking.




  1. Press the mag release to allow the old mag to drop out and simultaneously grab the new mag with your non shooting hand.
  2. Remember to keep your finger off the trigger while changing mags.
  3. Turn the gun so you can see into the mag opening and bring it up towards your face.
  4. Use your forefinger to guide the new magazine into place and ram it firmly home with the butt of your hand.
  5. Practice this until you achieve comfortable and smooth mag changes



  1. MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED as per Exercise 1
  2. Load a magazine with 1 snap cap
  3. Load the gun as per Exercise 3
  4. Unload as per Exercise 1 and re-holster
  5. Repeat repeat repeat until you can do this in your sleep
  6. When you are doing this confidently and easily you can graduate to a live round. Remember your safe direction and trigger discipline. Do this until you are no longer nervous handling a live gun.



EXERCISE 8: LIVE FIRE – Draw and Fire

  1. Do this exercise at your local gun range
  2. Load a magazine with 2 rounds at a time
  3. Load the gun as per Exercise 3
  4. Draw and fire two shots into a target
  5. Unload as per Exercise 1 and re-holster
  6. Add up to 3 targets and repeat the exercise, loading and unloading every time for practice



EXERCISE 9: LIVE FIRE – Draw, load and Fire

Repeat the exercise above but with an unloaded gun ie you have to insert the magazine, rack the slide and THEN shoot


EXERCISE 10: LIVE FIRE – Mag changes

Put up 2 or 3 targets, shoot 2 rounds at each target with compulsory magazine changes as per Exercise 6