Shooting is a perishable skill, but it can get a bit spendy with the equipment and consumables that are involved in shooting practice. Granted, you should never feel bad about spending money in the pursuit of the skills that can save your life, but does that mean that those not well-heeled should be priced out? Or, for that matter, that you should willingly line various pockets other than your own?
Of course not! A penny saved and all that.
Here are a few hacks that can get your shooting practice done on the cheap side.
Get A .22 Conversion For Cheaper Shooting
Granted, 9mm ball isn’t exactly expensive, and neither, for that matter, are .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .38 Special or .357 Magnum compared to some other handgun rounds such as .44 Special, .45 Colt (or worse, .45 Auto Rim) and so on. Know what’s really cheap, though? .22 LR.
Thus, one of the best ways to do a whole lot of shooting and have it be beneficial is to get a .22 conversion kit for your pistol. Yes, you’ll have to spend to get it, but the running costs are rock-bottom. The best part is that since you’re shooting your carry gun, the trigger and all other aspects remain the same.
Granted, there is something to be said for a .22 conversion not having the same recoil. You’ll still want to do some shooting with your actual carry caliber, just like how you should do a little bit with carry ammo to keep your eye in. That said, you can do a whole lot of practicing and for much less regarding ammunition costs, which will pay for the conversion kit over time.
Improvised Targets From Dollar Stores
Forget the targets from the local gun store or sporting goods shop. You can get more than combat accurate with some improvised targets from the local “dollar store” type of establishment. Two to look for are 6-inch paper plates and 3″x5″ index cards. If you can get tight groups on either of these, you aren’t going to have anything to worry about.
Think about it this way: what you want to shoot at in a defensive encounter is the chest cavity or the head, for obvious reasons. The heart and surrounding arteries and vessels don’t occupy a space much bigger than 6 inches, and the human head is about that size. If you can get relatively tight groups in quick succession on a 6-inch paper plate, that’s definitely combat accurate.
On a 3″x5″ index card even better.
More Dry Firing
One of the best forms of shooting practice doesn’t involve any actual shooting and is easily ignored, namely dry firing. Start looking up experts on the use of firearms, whether combat use or hunters from this or any era. What a whole lot of them will recommend wholeheartedly is ample dry firing.
Jeff Cooper would dry fire while watching television. Bill Jordan advocated liberal dry fire practice. Rob Leatham is a staunch advocate of dry firing for trigger control, as are many others. Karamojo Bell would pick targets in the distance and dry fire his rifle while marching on safari. Bell, for those unfamiliar, shot more than 1000 elephants, almost all via an oblique rear-quarter shot to the brain with a 7x57mm Mauser. He was known to also wingshoot cormorants with a .318 Westley Richards.
Dry firing works sight acquisition and trigger control, which are hugely important for accurate shooting no matter what you’re shooting at. Range targets, hostile humans or game, dry firing is going to as much good as actual range work will. You can even incorporate into defensive shooting drills for added benefit.
How much does a snap cap go for these days? Given the enormous benefits of regular dry firing, a snap cap has to be one of the best investments as far as training tools go.
How about you, though? Do you have any hacks to save cash on shooting practice?