How to Multiply Your Trigger Time without Spending a Fortune
To master the skill of shooting could cost you $200,000.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Let’s say (very conservatively) that you fire one box of 50 rounds per hour of shooting. If you’re shooting a 50 round box of .45 ACP that costs $19.99, that means you’d blast through $199,900 of ammo to master the skill.
Since that’s a lot of money, shooters have come up with many ways to extend training time without spending a house payment at the sporting goods store every month.
Before we get into the training tips, a friendly reminder that the only training worth doing is safe training:
Always follow firearm safety rules when training. Always treat weapons as if they are loaded. Always point weapons in a safe direction. Keep weapons unloaded until ready to shoot, and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
With safety in mind, here are a few ways you can multiply trigger time without taking out a second mortgage:
Dry firing is the practice of “firing” your weapon with an empty chamber. It’s free and effective. Dry firing can be done at home, so long as you’ve selected an area with no ammunition present.
You can also dry fire at the range. For instance, you can draw and “shoot” dry five times, then load up and fire one live round. Do that for a full box of 50 and you’ll get 300 trigger pulls for the same cost as 50.
Snap caps or dummy rounds can improve dry fire exercises by including loading manipulations into dry firing. A pack of five snap caps is about $12, and they’ll give you a lot more trigger pulls than $12 worth of ammo will. Snap caps are also an excellent way to dry fire with an older weapons that might otherwise be damaged by dry firing.
Snap caps can also be added into magazines at the range to integrate failure drills into practice.
Next Level Training produces a training pistol called the SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger). The SIRT’s weight and trigger mimic pull of some of the world’s most popular pistols. They even make an AR-15 bolt carrier group that resets the trigger during dry firing.
These trainers run from $200 - $400. Unlike dry firing or snap caps, the training pistol resets the trigger, allowing the user to practice management of the trigger reset. A live reset also prevents a potential training scar from forming. (If you dry fire a lot, you might get into the habit of racking the slide after each trigger squeeze.)
One last bonus for home training: the training pistol can’t actually fire, so there’s one less way to blow a hole in your television if you dry fire while watching the news!
Switch to a smaller caliber
It’s not unusual to find a box of .45 ACP for $19.99 when the same brand and size box of 9mm Luger costs $13.99. In other words, 9mm Luger costs about 30% less than .45 ACP. Obviously, there are other tradeoffs to consider, but you will get more “bang for your buck” from a smaller caliber.
Buy in bulk
As with most goods, if you can purchase all at once, you can score a discount. Moving from a box of 50 to a box of 500 can drop your per round cost by 10%. If you know you’re going to do a lot of shooting, put your bulk buying power to the task.
Last, but certainly not least, one of the main benefits of reloading is saving money. If you have the time and inclination, you can save some coin, especially when firing larger rifle rounds. Like many hobbies, reloading does require some expensive equipment, so it’s only likely to save you money with decent volume.
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How do you get more trigger time? Let us know in the comments.
Suggested tags: shooting, training, life hacks, saving money, duty gear, ammo