I hope you had a wonderful, peaceful and joyous holiday. Now that you’ve digested all of those wonderful holiday treats, you’re probably ready to make some resolutions for the new year and I, for one, would like to see every gun owner make a resolution to train more frequently.
Now I’ve heard the complaint that it is expensive to practice your shooting skills frequently, but before you pick out your first class seat on the complaint train, let’s put “expensive” into perspective.
Back a few years I used to golf every Saturday morning with the same three guys. We’d travel to different courses in our region because we’d always heard that some course “over there” was better then where we played “over here,” actually we just enjoyed playing different courses. We didn’t play highbrow courses, we sought mostly nice municipal and private courses that were open to the public. The point is, we usually paid around $35 each for a round of golf, which didn’t include the lost balls or the round of beers at the 19th hole. We all considered thirty-five bucks a reasonable price to pay for a half-day of fun in the sun. More importantly, our wives were all willing to pay that much just to get our butts out of the house for a while.
Today I can run down to my local sporting goods store or gun shop and pick up a box of 50 rounds of pistol ammo for about $12, and I do not live in an inexpensive region. So for right around what I used to pay for a single round of golf I can buy 150 rounds of pistol ammunition… without any coupons or discounts. Of course that doesn’t include the cost of my rod & gun club membership but that’s a sunk cost, meaning if I joined the club I’m paying for it whether I train once a year or three times a week.
So for about the same cost as a weekly round of golf I can get in at least two hours of training, even more if I’m pacing myself correctly. The reality is that most of us get bored after an hour on the range, so in the future I’ll share some drills to help keep your range time interesting while building important skills.
But what if your limiting factor is time instead of money? Or what if it’s difficult for you to get to the range, or what if you belong to one of those clubs with a range that’s so busy the only slot available is next week are at 2:30 am on Wednesday? Find another club. Really. Not all training though, has to involve throwing real lead downrange, there are some serious training alternatives you can use right at home.
If you want to improve your skills, laser pistols are great for training when you can’t get to the range. There are a number of options you could cash those holiday gift cards on at one of your favorite online retailers for a reasonable price. Avoid the temptation to go cheap. As with all things in the gun world, you get what you pay for. A well built laser trainer will give you years of service and you can even set up your own laser range with targets that respond to ‘hits’ and ‘misses.’ There are laser trainers that replicate the size and weight of most carry weapons fairly well.
You can get the same effect with a ‘laser bullet’ inserted into the barrel of your carry weapon. These are like tiny laser pointers that fit into the barrel of your pistol like a cartridge would. When you pull the trigger, the firing pin presses on a little switch and ‘fires’ the laser so you can see it ‘hit’ your target.
Want to practice your holster work? Most ranges won’t allow it. So spend a few dollars on a blue gun replica of your carry weapon and you can practice your draw and re-holster to your heart’s content without even the remote possibility of an accidental discharge.
So for 2018 resolve to train more, you really can afford it.