Training Around Time and Money Constraints

Most shooters are hindered by time and money budgets. As responsible gun owners, we understand the importance of being as proficient as possible with our firearms but most of us don’t have the opportunity to put 20,000 rounds a year down range. Luckily there are ways to continue to improve our shooting skills within these time and money constraints.

One of the most important items on any gun owner’s agenda should be training. Even though more is always better, all it takes to stay ahead of the curve is one good training class a year. I take General Defensive Handgun from Insights Training Center every spring. It allows me to focus on my concealed carry skills, review the basics of technique and spend a few hours and a few hundred rounds with good instructors providing good feedback. A $350 class that requires 600 rounds of ammunition is a bit of an investment, but taking the class just once a year is well worth the price.


A student executes a reload during General Defensive Handgun with Insights Training Center

Since most shooters can’t afford to take classes all the time, the other important thing for us to do is make sure we are getting the most out of our practice sessions. Filling your practice session with drills that have been designed by professional trainers, understanding what those drills are supposed to work on and tracking your progress over time all go a long way toward improvement in both shooting skill and technique.

While a good class will leave you with drills and ways to continue to improve, there are a lot of other resources available. One of my favorite resources for drills is Pistol-Training.com, while many of the drills there are designed for more advanced shooters, slowing down the par time makes most manageable for beginner to intermediate shooters. The site also has some drills, such as Dot Torture, that can be made as simple or difficult as the shooter’s skill requires.

Pistol-Training.com's Dot Torture target
The Pistol-Training.com Dot Torture target

Dry fire is another great way to improve shooting skill over time and requires minimal investment. 10 minutes a day can make all the difference and there’s no reason to spend money on much more than a target. While I am a fan of some of the tools available, such as the S.I.R.T. pistol – Shot Indiciating Resetting Trigger, a training tool that functions and feels similar to a Glock 17 or 22 and uses a laser indicator to show trigger break and reset – these tools are not necessary. Any modern, quality striker-fire gun should easily handle dry fire without damage.

SIRT Pistol
Tools such as this S.I.R.T. Pistol are nice to have, but not necessary for good dry fire practice

Good dry fire drills can be found in many places. Pistol-Training.com, still my go-to place for drills, has a month long dry fire routine that focuses on skills across the board. There are other great dry fire routines available as well, such as Ben Stoeger’s 15 minute dry fire program or Steve Anderson’s Refinement and Repetition book which served as my introduction to dry fire. It only takes a few minutes a day for dry fire to make a dramatic improvement in your shooting.

Shooting well and being as familiar and as proficient with your firearm as possible is the responsibility of any gun owner. Significant improvement is always possible even with the time and money constraints most of us face; all it takes is the proper training, the proper practice and a little dedication.

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