A Guest Post by Lowell Strauss, contributor.
From the novice to seasoned sharpshooter, we’d all like to #ShootBetter. Shooting is a perishable skill and without regular practice we all get a little rusty. The good news is that if we squeeze in a little training time each week it’ll pay big dividends.
We must shoot more to shoot better. The problem is, live fire training with a centerfire rifle is expensive and getting to the range multiple times each week isn’t always possible. How do we get better without costing too much time or money? Let’s explore the options.
Dry Fire Training
Trigger time improves shooting skills but that doesn’t always mean sending rounds down range. Dry firing is one solution.
Dry fire to practice:
- trigger squeeze
- visualization (mental game)
The best part is you can use your competition or hunting rifle for the drills. Dry Fire practice is an excellent way to master the shooting fundamentals and can be done in the comfort of your home, with minimal space. Find a safe area to aim—one where no one will walk in ‘down range’ and make sure there are no live rounds anywhere in your training area!
Some people like to use snap-caps when dry firing. Check with the owner’s manual for your rifle to see the manufacturer's recommendations about dry firing—for some rimfire rifles, dry firing is a no-no. I typically dry fire on an empty chamber for centerfire rifles. A small printed target is useful if you have enough space and your riflescope can focus to short distances.
Live Fire Training
Dry firing is a great start but there’s no substitute for sending rounds down range for making you a better shooter. Training with a rimfire rifle is the best way to practice live fire and not go broke doing so. The lowly .22 LR is both inexpensive and accurate. Its light, slow bullet will challenge any shooter on a windy day.
Shooting the .22 LR has many benefits:
- Less noise
- Low recoil (no flinching)
- Train at most ranges (indoor or outdoor)
- Saves your centerfire rifle barrel for competition
- Option* to use a rifle with similar configuration (stock, chassis, trigger, bipod, overall weight, etc.) as competition rifle then seamlessly transition to your long range rifle.
Live fire shooting with a rimfire rifle means more rounds down range at a fraction of the cost of centerfire. What’s not to love?!
Electronic Training System
Take your training sessions to the next level by adding an electronic training system. Several companies make digital training aids—most attach to the forend of the rifle and record a firearm’s motion before, during, and after each shot.
It’s like having a shooting coach by your side taking detailed notes about each shot. Understanding what’s happening is important to learn. To shoot better we must understand rifle hold, breathing, trigger control, and follow through for every shot. Training to correct specific problems results in tighter groups and higher scores!
Some units cost as little as a couple of boxes of match grade ammo. As a bonus, they work for both live fire and dry fire training on most shooting platforms.
Shooting better means training more. Beginners adding 30-60 minutes per week will see huge gains in performance. Advanced shooters will see similar results with more training—each day.
Follow these tips and you’ll #ShootBetter too!
How do you train? How often? Let us know in the comments below.