Sometimes it’s hard to carve out range time when you have a lot going on. Shooting is a perishable skill meaning that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. But, there are ways to stay fresh even if you can’t get to the range.
Dry firing is a great practice tool that you can use at home to keep your skills fresh. Dry firing is working on your shooting, pulling the trigger on an UNLOADED firearm. Dry firing safely should not be taken lightly and there are some precautions you should take before you embark on this type of practice session. First of all, read your manual to make sure that dry firing will not damage your firearm. When you are ready to begin dry firing, do not even have ammunition in the same room with you. Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat, has some terrific additional information about Dry Fire Safety. Please take a look at her article with crucial information before starting to dry fire.
I have found it helpful to look at some drills from handgun training websites. For example, Pistol-Training.com has over 40 drills on their website available to download. Close your eyes and do some visualization of those drills and how YOU would look actually shooting them at the range. You can even incorporate them into your dry firing practice.
Another useful resource for visualizations is YouTube videos. Stick to reputable organizations or instructors and you will be able to find useful information. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has a channel that includes videos from competitive shooters like Doug Koenig or instructors from the Sig Sauer Academy.
Journaling can be challenging to do if you’re just staring at a blank piece of paper and wondering what you need to write down. Fortunately, shooting journals with “prompts” or questions to get you started are becoming a thing. If you are a member of A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League, you have access to a journal for download that is full of information, thoughts, and prompts, as well as live fire drills and dry fire drills. The journal is formatted beautifully and contains an entire year of activities. If you’re not a member of A Girl and A Gun, the journal alone is worth the price of membership.
Annette Evans, Beauty Behind the Blast, has also created a shooting journal. Annette’s version, which can be purchased and downloaded as a pdf, covers five years with daily “prompts” to get you going. You can purchase by the month, the quarter or the entire journal. The January portion of the journal is available as a freebie right now so you can get a taste of what the entire journal is like.
There are some fabulous books available to keep your mental game alive and keep your mindset right. Books such as The Cornered Cat by Kathy Jackson, or Shoot: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob are two books to get you started. I always pick up information from reading these types of books that I may not have thought about before.
So even if you can’t get to the range, these are some things you can do in the comfort of your own home to keep your shooting skills fresh. But do try to make time for some Trigger Therapy!