For a lot of us, our worlds have been turned upside down with everything going on. Our bills keep moving forward while the world seems to have come to a stop…including paychecks for a lot of us. Budgeting has become more important than ever!
So, how do you keep up with practicing with your gun when you can’t afford to go to the range or the cost of ammo is just too high right now (if you can even find it)!
Here are a few tips on how to practice on a budget.
Dry Fire is the best option while on a tight budget. This is where you practice all the controls of your gun and shooting skills without the use of ammunition in a safe, controlled space. This type of practice really helps you focus on your fundamental shooting skills. The best part is – dry fire is FREE. Now that is budget-friendly!
There are very important procedures you need to follow when dry firing which you can find in my article Dry Fire Practice for The Woman Shooter. Make sure you read this article if you are not familiar with dry fire before you attempt to try it.
Looking for dummy rounds to aid in dry fire? Check these out!
Practice With Your Gun Safe
If you are in a self-defense situation you do not choose the time, place, or variables around you. For this reason, we need to be able to be well prepared for anything that may happen. Imagining different scenarios and practicing the base movements that may be involved is a great way to prepare.
What do I mean by base movements? These are body movements you perform that are the same throughout different scenarios. Of course, we can’t prepare for every possible variation of an event, however, there are some body movements that will be common in different scenarios. Let’s look at a few.
Do you keep your gun in a safe at night?
You have to practice getting the gun out of your safety device quickly with a good firing grip. There are different ways an invasion can occur, however, each one will require removing your gun from the safe you have.
You want this to be a thoughtless motion. Your body should know the steps with ease. When you add adrenaline to the equation, your muscle memory will take over.
Practice swiping your fingerprint, inputting your code, or whatever locking mechanism your safe has – unlock it and draw your gun. Be sure you are practicing the movement that results in a good firing grip. You want this to be one fluid motion to where you do not have to regrip your gun. When you practice, make sure your gun is unloaded.
Remember to envision different scenarios so you think about the different ways you may approach your safe. Your hands may be sweaty, you may have an injured hand if you are fleeing to get your gun, etc.
Another great budget-friendly way to practice is practicing the different position variations that can happen during a self-defense scenario.
Different Body Positions
You need to practice your grip and sighting while in different positions.
- What if you had to kneel down behind a cabinet. You would need to be able to shoot accurately while kneeling and peer around it.
- What if you were lying in bed? You need to be able to shoot accurately in this position.
- What if you slipped on something and fall and you now find yourself on your back? You will need to be able to lift your torso and shoot accurately like this.
- For those of us who cannot do a true sit-up, you can get around this by lifting your neck and as much as your shoulders as possible to get into a firing position.
You can practice all of these positions while doing dry fire practice. Just get the feel of what it would be like to hold your gun and use your sights in these different positions. Practice racking your slide, reloading, sighting, etc.
You must also be able to shoot with both your dominant and non-dominant hand. Yes, a two-handed grip is best, but what if you hurt your dominant hand? What if you are holding your child or keeping someone back? You will need to be able to shoot accurately with your other hand.
Along the same line, you must be able to use the controls of your gun with both hands independently. Say you need to reload your magazine but do not have much use of your dominant hand…. You get the idea.
Getting comfortable with both hands can be done with dry fire. Then once you go to the range again, you can start practicing shooting with both hands.
Is it Dark?
Another scenario to think about is lighting. Let’s face it, a lot of these self-defense scenarios that arise happen at night. You need to be prepared: what will you do, what equipment do you have or will you need? When adding darkness to a situation everything gets more tricky.
Think about reloading, or perhaps fixing a misfeed. If it is dark, you will have to heavily depend on your muscle memory and what you can feel. Can you reload without looking? This can simulate doing it in the dark.
If you have a flashlight on your firearm, practice checking empty rooms at night using the light controls over and over. If you are walking through your house during an invasion you will need to be checking rooms as you go to ensure the invader does not get behind you.
What will you do if you don’t have a flashlight on your gun? Practice using one along with your gun. Here is a great article on self-defense flashlights.
Find the Silver Lining
This year has caused some unexpected roadblocks when it comes to a lot of things. However, let’s try to make the best of it and work with what we have and with the budget you have! There are still ways we can practice at home with our firearms, of course, following all firearm safety rules and dry fire practice procedures. By practicing what we discussed you will give your self a good start in building your muscle memory which you can then follow up with when going to the range is feasible again. Take advantage of your time at home in every aspect!
Practicing different scenarios allows you to prepare for different variations that may occur in a self-defense event. This will be a much different feeling than aiming at a target in a controlled manner on the range.
There is no such thing as too much practice. In an event you need to protect yourself, your adrenaline will be racing and your mind will be somewhat clouded. This is why we practice. We want our movements to be second nature so we don’t have to think much about them.