I have not seen a run on ammunition like the one at the time of this writing in my lifetime. Those of us who have been in this game remember 2013, the last notable ammo shortage. Even that paled in comparison to what we are currently seeing. Ammo in the main calibers is simply scarce and when you find it you will pay very inflated prices for it. Therefore, most of us will be doing far less shooting than usual.
However, the reduction in live-fire training should not put a damper on your overall progress in self-defense training, but you may need to change your priorities. There is plenty of productive firearms training that can still be done in dry fire, and the ammo shortage is a perfect reason to expand your self-defense training into other fields that you might focus less on but may prove just as important in an emergency.
Keep Training Through Dry Fire
While your live-fire may be limited, there is no reason to abandon enhancing your shooting skills. Top competition shooters, who are the most accomplished mechanical shooters in the word, often press the trigger in dry fire at a ten-to-one ration compared to live fire. Many of the top shooters in the world actually do the majority of their gun training with a dry gun. There are certain things that you must shoot live ammo to train, particularly the ability to control recoil and overcome the flinch response. However, the mechanics of shooting can generally be practiced dry.
In fact, what is arguably the most vital shooting skills for self-defense can be extensively practiced without firing a round of ammo. The draw stroke to a first round hit can be greatly enhanced through dry fire alone. While the recoil control for rapid follow-up shots is best practiced with live ammunition, the skillset involved in a rapid draw stroke to a first round accurate hit can be thoroughly practiced dry.
Focus on every detail of your draw, from clearing the garment, to acquiring a good grip, a smooth presentation, and a consistent trigger press. Focus on building a good grip on the presentation. One advantage of dry fire is that it allows you to notice things that are almost impossible to notice when the gun bucks and recoils in your hand. Pay attention to the movement of the sights when pressing the trigger. You should strive to eliminate any movement in the sights when firing the gun, and dry fire will help you do this. Fix issues with your grip or trigger press based on what the sights tell you when dry firing.
All of the mechanics of gun handling can be practiced with no ammunition. Malfunction clearances, reloads, and various draw strokes can be trained. Practice clearing malfunctions with the use of snap caps, both immediate and remedial steps to clear any of the malfunction types. Dry fire is also a great way to practice things that may be more dangerous to do in live fire, such as drawing your gun with your support hand, or reloading, or clearing malfunctions with only a single hand. A good dry fire routine, conducted several times a week, might substantially up your abilities by the next time you make it to the range.
Use the Mantis X10 Live & Dry Fire Training System to analyze your hoster draw. The Mantis X10 will break down how long it takes for you to get a grip on the gun, pull the gun out of the holster, get it horizontal, then get it on target, and finally when the shot breaks. Grab a Mantis X10 today!
Focus on Other Skills
If you are a shooting enthusiast you likely shoot on a fairly regular basis. A good outlet for you during this ammo drought, however, is to dedicate more time to the other skills of self-defense. Not all defensive problems are gun problems.
How is your open hand defensive skillset?
Many will say “I carry a gun so I don’t need to fight with my hands.” This is a viewpoint that abandons reality. Many fights that turn into gunfights start as physical altercations. You may need to fight with your hands just to get the opportunity to deploy your gun. Are you trained in this skillset? Now would be a great time to get better at it.
Likewise, how are your skills with other weapons?
I am a shooter first and foremost, so I get it; there is the gun, then everything else. The sad reality is, however, that we may spend time in environments or places where we can’t carry a firearm. We may also need other tools when a firearm is not the appropriate answer. Do you know how to use OC Spray, or impact tools, as a less-lethal solution to aggressive, but non-deadly, assaults? Now is a great time to take some training and do some practice with such less-lethal tools.
Another tool that may deserve some training is your edged weapon. You probably carry a knife all the time, but mainly for cutting tasks ranging from opening boxes to the possible need to cut someone free of a seatbelt or other emergency. However, since we carry a knife anyway, it is an ever-present secondary weapon on the body that may need to be pressed into defensive use if all else fails. Having some basic knife skills in a defensive capacity is a good thing and might be worthy of your time during the ammo shortage.
A wonderful skillset to develop, or further refine, during this time is medical knowledge.
Can you treat traumatic injury and severe hemorrhage? Do you carry a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, chest seals, and a pressure dressing? Do you know how to use these tools to stop arterial bleeding to keep someone alive long enough to make it to an emergency room? These tools and skills are actually more likely to be needed than your gun. Having a functional emergency medical skillset is a priority among those who believe in preparedness. During the ammo shortage, consider taking such training and occasionally practicing the application of a tourniquet and other life-saving medical devices.
Get Fit, or Fitter
Physical fitness is an essential component of life in general, and fighting in particular. The current ammo shortage, combined with the ongoing lockdown due to Covid 19, may prove the perfect time to get in shape, or better shape. No matter what your current health situation is, you can likely improve it through some exercise. Strive to make strength and aerobic exercise part of your routine, getting in a good workout at least several days a week. Many people I see on the range would be far better served by spending their shooting time in the gym. Fitness fosters everything you do, and if you find yourself in a fight, be it a fist-fight or gun fight, the fitter you are, the better.
Read More: 5 Best Workouts For Concealed Carriers
So, these are my suggestions for maximizing your training during this time of reduced ammunition availability. You can certainly keep practicing in the craft of self-defense, and you might even find that you come out of it a more capable self-defender.