There is no denying, the last few weeks have been a little odd around the world. Normal daily practices like going out to dinner or hitting the range on a free day, have completely stopped. The number one complaint with shooters in my area is the lack of open ranges. Here in Michigan, most of the public ranges and indoor ranges have been shut down for public safety, so it really is difficult to find an accessible place to shoot if you don’t have private land.
I feel extremely lucky to be able to shoot on private land, but I know for the vast majority of people this isn’t the case. Since most of us can’t go out and enjoy our favorite shooting sports, I decided to come up with a list of ways to practice shooting from home as an alternative. Let’s take a look at a few different ways to better yourself without leaving your house.
1. Dry Firing
By far the easiest way to practice at home is to dry fire with an EMPTY GUN. I think it’s excessive to put empty guns in all caps, but you would be shocked at how many negligent discharges occur from dry firing. When done properly, dry firing is probably the best way to keep your draw and gun presentation sharp. I’ve written several articles on various drills you can do with dry firing, but there’s usually a couple of steps to dry firing.
Typically, I will start each session with 3-5 minutes of staging the trigger. Practicing the trigger stage makes it easier to understand where the trigger will break every time. After you become comfortable with the trigger break, it’s not a bad idea to start drawing from your holster to develop that natural feeling when having to draw your gun quickly. It’s extremely important to practice things before you’re forced to do it in real life. The worst case scenario for someone is to be drawing out of their holster for the first time during a self defense situation.
The Next Step
After you spend 10-15 minutes drawing and presenting your gun from the holster, it’s always a good idea to practice magazine changes if you carry a spare magazine. If you carry just the gun and ammo inside the gun, then don’t worry about it. If you carry a spare magazine, it’s vital to get some reps in during your free time. There’s really nothing extra needed with dry firing, which makes it one of the easiest ways to practice. The biggest point to remember when dry firing is to either make sure the gun is completely unloaded or use snap caps in the gun. Snap caps are a great addition if you want to practice slide lock reloads and mag changes with a dummy round you can use without worrying it will detonate.
Using Airsoft As An Alternative To Dry Fire
Now don’t get me wrong, even typing this I rolled my eyes and wanted to kick my own ass for even saying it, but some people swear by using an airsoft version of their daily carry. Companies like SIG Sauer and Umarex USA make scale correct CO2 versions of various firearms for people to practice with. If you get extremely bored and dry firing just isn’t for you, there’s always an airsoft option available. This is a great way to be more interactive with sight picture and trigger control. I still prefer using the actual unloaded carry gun but this is also a good alternative if someone isn’t comfortable using their own carry gun.
Mantis X Laser Trainers
The new Mantis X Laser trainer really is the best of both worlds. It’s a device that goes on to the Picatinny rail and the laser will record where you hit and project your shots onto a cell phone that connects via Bluetooth. Using a system where you can have an interactive experience while using your carry gun is the best of both worlds.
It lets the user shoot their own triggers and sights while having an immediate response where their shot would be. The Mantis X is a great way to train when it’s next to impossible to go out and shoot at public ranges. The only downside is its fairly expensive at $99 retail but if you’re stuck inside and want something to train with, its a great tool to use as a substitute for range time.
There are several other ways to practice at home when the range isn’t an option. The best three to me are dry firing, the Mantis X Lasers, and for others, it’s airsoft (If you’re into that lifestyle). I prefer keeping it simple and dry firing at a picture or corner for consistency. It’s never a bad way to be more interactive if you haven’t been to the range but this isn’t going to last forever, so in time range time will be possible again. Let me know what you guys do for training at home in the comments below. If you have any question feel free to send me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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