DFTT training


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DFTT Training overview

The DFTT (Dry Firing Training Test) consists of 19 Orders.  Each order has a number of steps you must learn and be able to carry out from memory.  

Below are 19 videos, sections of the DFTT marking sheet, and additional notes.

There is no substitute to being able to physically handle the Marlin XT, and some of these steps won’t make complete sense until you do.

This resource allows you to get a good overview before receiving DFTT training in person, and it also allows you to use these resources for revision.

This training resource is not a substitute for being trained in person by qualified staff while you are handling a real Marlin XT.


This page assumes you have received adequate training in areas listed below. These will give you the correct understanding of firearms safety, terminology, and general concepts needed for you to fully understand the material on this page.

CAUTION: With firearms, “close enough” is NOT good enough.  You must never guess, assume, or just copy someone else. You must know and you must understand. You must know and understand well enough so you can explain it clearly to someone else.

Until you can do that, you are not considered proficient and you are not considered safe.

Your prior training must have included

  • The Seven Rules of Firearm Safety (FAS 1.1)
  • XT Marlin: Safe handling (FAS 1.2)
  • XT Marlin: Safety features (FAS 1.3)
  • XT Marlin: Technical features (FAS 1.4)

This page accompanies FAS 1.5 DFTT training.


To pass your DFTT, you need to perform a number of actions accurately, in a reasonable time, and with confidence.

This page breaks these actions down with a video for each of the 19 Orders, the steps to perform for each order, and some comments which may assist you in understanding or remembering.

The list that follows is the marking sheet that is used to record your performance and to discover if you are competent.  If so, you pass your DFTT.

A printable copy of the above form is available by clicking this link.  [pdf – opens in a new window]

Please note that this document may become out of date. Always check it against the most up-to-date DFTT marking document.

1. Carry out safety precautions

The Range Controlling Officer (RCO) or your trainer will point out where to point your rifle so you know that is the safe direction. 

The video shows the shooter in a kneeling position. You may be asked to carry out Safety Precautions while at a different position.

There is a little release clip at the bottom of the stock just to the rear of the magazine.  Push it up with one finger while being prepared to catch the magazine with the remainder of your hand.

Put the magazine down.

Don’t just look at the three points (body, bolt face, chamber), make it obvious and use your finger to confirm what you can see.  Look AND feel.

NOTE: While doing this, make sure the rifle continues to point in a safe direction.

2. Hand over the rifle

Before handing a rifle to someone else, even though you KNOW and are 100% confident that it is safe, you still MUST carry out these steps.

The person you are giving the rifle to must be able to see you carry out these steps clearly and with confidence.

Say “NO MAGAZINE FITTED, CHAMBER IS CLEAR” after you have completed your three point check.  This is so the other person can see you perform the check, and hear what you think the result of the check is.

Then SHOW the other person that the chamber, breech, and body are clear before handing over the rifle.

The other person should confirm they agree with you by saying CLEAR and then accepting the rifle from you.

3. Strip the rifle

Before this step can be completed, the rifle must be in the following state:

Magazine is fitted and bolt is open.

You will pick up the rifle.

The next part of “Strip the rifle” is all of the steps in “1. Cary out safety precautions”. (above).

So first you make the rifle safe, and then you will strip it.

On the Marlin XT, stripping is a term for removing the magazine and the bolt. (on other rifles other steps may need to be carried out).

The bolt can not be removed unless you hold the trigger while you pull the bolt backwards.

Use your left hand to remove the bolt, your right to hold the rifle while squeezing the trigger.

Take care not to drop the bolt or the rifle.

ALWAYS remember to return your hand to the small of the butt.

4. Assemble the rifle & carry out functions test

IMPORTANT:  If any of these steps fail, you are to stop and immediately bring it to the attention of the RCO or trainer.

The bolt and the rifle have serial numbers. They must be the same. If a bolt from another rifle is used, this may result in the rifle not working properly.

Locate the serial number on the bolt, then match it with the serial number on the Marlin XT.

If you can see the numbers are the same, say: NUMBERS CORRESPOND.

What the “W” cut is will not make sense until you hold the bolt. The bolt is made of parts and these parts can twist  or rotate out of alignment. In this step, you will ensure that the “W” cut is still aligned with the rear half of the bolt. Get the instructor to show you what this means so you can recognise a properly aligned bolt.

The bolt will not go back into the rifle unless you have the trigger pressed.  Use your right hand to hold the rifle and press the trigger while using your left to slide the bolt fully forward. 

Then “Lock the action”, which means you push the bolt down by the handle.

ONLY THEN release the trigger, return hand to small of the butt.

The safety catch should NOT be able to be set to Safe.  Check this, then return your hand/finger to the small of the butt.

Open the action (bolt) fully to the rear and return it fully to the front and push back down (close the bolt / lock the action)

Move your hand to the small of the butt.

The safety catch should now work. Check this. Set it to Safe.

Press the trigger to attempt to fire – this should not be possible.

Apply (set) the safety catch to Fire.

Take care on the next step:  Attempt to squeeze the trigger without touching the trigger release.

The rifle should NOT fire.

Open the bolt and pull it fully to the rear.  

Place the rifle down with the bolt facing up.

5. Adopt the …… position

There are different ways of lying, sitting, or kneeling while shooting the Marlin XT.  The RCO will tell you what position to adopt.

When you are asked to take on the prone position, that means lying down, facing the safe direction (or target), as shown in the video.

How to properly lie, sit, or kneel is not covered here and will be the subject of further training.

6. Load

Insert the magazine into the rifle GENTLY. 

It’s not like the movies where they slam it in. You will notice a little click as you slide it into place.

When doing DFTTs there are no bullets in the magazine, so it can be a little less obvious to see which way around it should go.

Not all magazines are the same, but the one you are likely to work with will have a rounded edge and a square edge.  The round edge faces towards the target when inserting the magazine.

Remember to ALWAYS return your hand to the small of the butt.

7. Action

You now have a fully loaded rifle, you are ready to fire, but we apply the safety catch while waiting for the RCO to give us further orders.

Always return your hand to the small of the butt.  To repeat: Not doing this when you are expected to at any stage of the DFTT is an INSTANT FAIL, no matter how well you do with everything else. 

8. Fire 5 rounds at your Left aiming mark followed by 5 rounds at your Right aiming mark

As this is a DFTT, you will only pretend to be shooting.  It may however help to understand what will happen on the range:

The RCO will tell you what you are going to be shooting at.  Under normal conditions you will have two magazines, each loaded with five bullets.  You will shoot 5 bullets at one target, switch magazines, then shoot five bullets at the next target.

The RCO will make it clear what you are aiming at.

1/ you need to ensure you are aiming at YOUR target board/sheet. They should be numbered. You, as a shooter, will be numbered.  Let’s say, four.  Therefore, shooter four will line up on target four. (Simple? Yes simple, yet you would be surprised how often shooters aim at the wrong target!)

2/ you need to ensure you are aiming at the correct target on the board for each sequence of five shots.

At this point you have not yet lifted the rifle to your shoulder.

You are waiting to be allowed to start.  The Order that allows you to start is Instant.

9. Instant

On the command Instant, you are bring the rifle to your shoulder, while pointing the rifle at the first target.

Switch the safety catch to Fire

IMPORTANT:  Return the hand to the small of the butt and make sure you don’t get anywhere near the trigger.

The rifle is now loaded and ready to fire.  You are looking at the right target, and you are ready to fire.   

You are waiting for the Order to start.  (“At your target in front, FIRE“)

10. At your target in front, fire

At the order : At your target in front, FIRE, you can start shooting.

On the range: Take your time.  There is no rush.
Also, try to count your five shots so you know when to change magazines.

For the purposes of the DFTT, two problems are going to be simulated:

  1. Misfire (your magazine is empty)
  2. Misfire (the rifle is obstructed)

In both cases, you have to go through a set sequence, and the DFTT tests both of these, one after the other.

11. Rifle fails to fire

Everyone on a range wears ear defenders (ear protection).  As a result, you have so shout loudly when you speak.  But to make sure there is also a visual queue, you are required to raise your leg.

The RCO may hear someone yell “STOPPAGE!!!”, but won’t know who said it until they can see your leg raised.

The RCO will inspect your rifle, and in the DFTT sequence, the first simulated stoppage is that you miscounted your shots (or the magazine had fewer than 5 bullets in it!)

When you inspect the chamber, breech, and magazine, once again make it obvious by not just using your eyes, but also using a finger to check.

12. You have an empty magazine

The rifle didn’t fire because there are no more bullets in your magazine.  

After the previous DFTT step, the bolt is currently open and you performed the 3 point check to discover you are out of bullets.

You still have another magazine with 5 bullets to fire onto the next target, so at this point it makes sense to swap the empty magazine for a full one.  (full = five bullets, even though the magazine may have a capacity for more).

On the range, if you have counted properly, you do not have to cause a stoppage on purpose. If you know you have fired the first five shots and you have an empty magazine, you can change magazines without getting the RCO involved.

13. Rifle fails to fire

To repeat: Everyone on a range wears ear defenders (ear protection).  As a result, you have so shout loudly when you speak.  But to make sure there is also a visual queue, you are required to raise your leg.

The RCO may hear “STOPPAGE!!!”, but won’t know who said it until they can see your leg raised.

The RCO will inspect your rifle, and in the DFTT sequence, the second simulated stoppage is that there is an obstruction in the rifle stopping it from operating properly.

The RCO may clear the obstruction, or you may do so, depending on the real situation.  

14. You have an obstruction

The second simulated problem is where your rifle doesn’t fire, and you still have one or more bullets left.  You called STOPPAGE and the RCO has declared that you have an obstruction. 

On the Range, your RCO will assist or direct with the removal of the obstruction. 

As part of the DFTT, you remove the magazine, pretend to clear the obstruction, put the magazine back into the rifle, close the bolt, and continue firing on the target when you are ready.

15. Stop

STOP is a Range command. If you hear it, everyone must stop shooting immediately.

The reasons for a STOP being called can be many. but generally this is when safety could be compromised and everyone needs to stop firing and make the rifles safe.

So when you hear STOP, attempt to switch the safety to Safe (you may be at a stage in your shooting where this can’t be done – that’s ok.  But you must attempt to switch to Safe)

Put the rifle down immediately, bolt facing up.

Move your hands WELL AWAY from the rifle so it can be clearly seen by the RCO, and keep them still.

Wait for further instructions from the RCO.

If the problem is solved and the RCO is happy to continue, you will hear “Take up the rifle and carry on

Note: This may be difficult to do during your DFTT test, but on the Range, if you remember the exact state you rifle is in, and where you were in the shooting sequence when STOP is called, you will know from which point to continue. So if you can, take a mental note.

16. Take up the rifle and carry on

When the RCO is happy everything is safe and shooting can begin again, the command “Take up the rifle and carry on” is given.

If you remembered the exact point at which you put the rifle down, you can continue. If you have forgotten, you may have a situation where you have a misfire because you hadn’t cycled the bolt to bring the next bullet into the chamber. 

As part of the DFTT test, pick the rifle up, set the Safety catch to Fire, and continue your routine.

17. Unload

To unload the rifle, remove the magazine, open the action/bolt fully to the rear and do your three point check to ensure no bullet is left behind – do this check visually and with your finger, as before.

And return the master hand to the small of the butt.

Your rifle is now open, with nothing in the chamber.  Generally the Unload order comes after you have shot all your bullets and you have been waiting for the unload order.

On the range, when you have fired all your bullets, you can lower your rifle. Keep holding it, with the hand on the small of the butt, and wait for the Unload command.

18. For inspection – parallel arms

The RCO now wants to visually confirm that your magazine has been removed, and there are no bullets in the chamber.  You will need to present the rifle and the magazines to show that they are empty.

Check the video for the way to do it – or have it shown to you during training. 

You wait until the RCO has come to you and checked.  If the RCO is happy, they will call you by number (the lane you are in / target you are aligned to), and call CLEAR

19. Clear

The RCO confirms your rifle is empty and calls CLEAR.  

You repeat that loudly so the RCO knows that you know you have been given the CLEAR.

Put the magazines down.

Insert the Chamber Safety Device (the red “flag” with the long prong/stick) as shown in the video. 

Put the rifle down, bolt up.

Hands clear.

On the range: Do not get up until the RCO orders it.

Sincere thanks go to TACCU and HCCU for producing this video.
Its use is only possible with their prior permission. 
Use is limited to 29 Squadron ATC for internal training purposes.

At the time of filming CPL Evans (now SGT) was the “RCO”, and Staff SGT Mackie (now CSM/WO2) was the demonstrator.  Thank you both very much!

An important thing to note in the steps shown under almost each video, is that some steps have an asterisk ( * ) in front of it.

Any item with an asterisk in front of it is an INSTANT FAIL of your DFTT test if that specific step is missed out or not performed to standard.

The reason is that these steps are considered to be essential to the safety of the rifle, you, the people around you, and environment that you are in.  Safety is everything.