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Low-Cost Training: Doing More Than Dry Fire At Home

By: Malcolm Dickie

As many of us experience, it isn’t easy to get time to go to full training events. Whether with a small or large group conflicting schedules, family time, work events, and household chores can all get in the way of taking a weekend away with the boys. This does not mean you have to let your training fall to the wayside. Any competition shooter will tell you that more time is spent on dry fire than on the range and the same can be said about the rest of your training. The first thing you need to do is identify your shortcomings or identify a list of what you need to practice.

  • Primary Weapon Deliberate Reloads

  • Range Estimation

  • Range Cards

  • Radio Reporting

Now that you have identified what needs effort find how you can work on those at home. Deliberate Reloads can be done during dry fire, range estimation can be done from the bedroom or front window, range cards can be practiced on a video game or terrain sketches with photos online, and radio reporting can be practiced with a pen and paper during your day.

Spend even 15 minutes twice a week on each skill and you will be shocked at how much that does to improve your skills. The next time a school bus drops the neighborhood kids off, write down a salute report. Stuck in traffic? Start a terrain sketch of the view outside your passenger window. Did you get stuck parking in the back of the Home Depot parking lot? Use a handheld optic or use just your eyes, can you identify a face or hands? After you estimate the distance ensure you pace out your way to the door. Practice re-indexing magazines while you’re cooking. The problem is not a lack of devoted time, the problem is understanding how to manage the time you have to improve where you can. Maybe your recoil management isn’t going to get better but there are 1000 other things that surround your shooting training that make you an effective team member or protector of your family.

In closing think of what you can get done not what you can’t. There is always time to train if you frame your thinking around what you can do to be more lethal and effective.

Here is a free practice military sketch for DA form 5788-R

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