As guns and ammo sales continue to hit record highs the ongoing ammo shortage has become a major frustration for many shooters. Here are tips on how to keep in practice even with a reduced ammo budget.
Shoot less – Dry fire more - The good thing about dry fire practice, that is practice with an unloaded gun, is that it builds skill through repetition, even though no ammo is used. This makes it ideal for the current ammo drought. For best results focus on the fundamentals, such as grip, sight picture, and trigger press, and work on performing them perfectly. In addition to dry firing at home you can also incorporate dry-fire into your range time. One good way to improve slow fire accuracy is to alternate dry-fire and live-fire. For example, dry-fire ten deliberate shots immediately before loading up and firing five live rounds at the target. (As always, make sure to follow all safety precautions when dry firing.)
Use a laser-training target - In a way this is “advanced dry-fire practice.” By using a laser-training target you have all the advantages of dry fire practice while gaining the benefit of immediate feedback. Options include laser bore inserts, like those made by LaserLyte, and complete laser training pistols, including those by LaserLyte and the SIRT Training Pistol by Next Level Training. Even a simple laser already installed on a pistol can help. If the dot moves off target when the trigger breaks, you know you’re pulling the pistol off target during the trigger press.
Try Airsoft - While not a real firearm, a good quality Airsoft pistol can be a great training aid. There are Airsoft replicas of most quality handguns and many will actually fit in the same holsters. Because Airsoft pistols can be shot indoors you can practice without a trip to the range. Of course, Airsoft guns do have limitations in that they don’t replicate the recoil or report of a real firearm.
Shoot more .22 LR - Ordinarily I’d rank this higher on the list but unfortunately .22 LR ammo is also in short supply these days. Still, if you can get your hands on some rimfire fodder, or have a stash built up, you can practice with a .22 LR as an understudy to your centerfire guns. This can be especially effective if you mix in .22 LR with your centerfire practice to effectively stretch your centerfire ammo supply.
Reload your own ammo - Again, this suggestion would be ranked higher if reloading supplies and components weren’t hard to find right now. But, if you have reloading gear you rarely use, or somehow luck into gear and components, reloading your own ammo saves money and puts you more in control of your own ammo supply. If nothing else, once the current scarcity ends, you may want to put reloading equipment and supplies on the top of your list so you are better prepared for the next ammo shortage.