The current ammo shortage is going to be with us for a while and it has created a dilemma for everyone who shoots - how do you learn how to shoot or improve your handgun skills when you don't have much ammunition to spare and finding more on the shelves is close to impossible?
It's certainly more challenging to manage your ammo stash while still practicing and training, but with a little planning, it can definitely be done. Here are some drills and tips to help you improve your skills during the current ammo drought.
Low Round Count Drills
One of the best ways to improve your skills is by shooting well-designed drills that test your skills in several areas at once. Right now, it's important to find drills that cover the fundamentals in as few rounds as possible and the following drills strike a good balance between covering the fundamentals and minimizing round counts:
The Dot Torture Drill
The Dot Torture is a classic drill that's deceptively simple. It may look too easy, but once you shoot it, you'll see how challenging really is. It's a very well-rounded drill that covers many of the fundamentals, including dominant and support-hand practice, while requiring only one box (50 rounds) of ammo to complete. The Dot Torture Drill is printed on a regular sheet of paper, so you can find it online and print it out when you're ready to head to the range.
Our Fall Fundamentals Drill is based on the Dot Torture drill, but it uses less ammo. You can even use this drill for dry fire practice if you really want to conserve!
Dummy Round Drills
Do you flinch when you shoot? It's a common issue with many shooters and one of the best ways to work through a flinch is with dummy round drills. You can use any drill you like, just replace some of the ammo in your magazine/cylinder with dummy rounds, snap caps, or spent cases.
When the dummy round chambers and you pull the trigger, your trigger press will highlight any flinching or jerking and will allow you to practice trigger control and sight alignment. Using dummy rounds also helps you practice clearing malfunctions, because you'll need to eject the dummy round to chamber the next round.
We often encourage dry fire practice, and that's because it really is one of the best and most convenient ways to maintain or improve your shooting skills (and it definitely conserves ammo). Becoming a better shooter is all about repetition and those steps can be broken down into micro-actions that you can repeat many times during each dry fire practice session.
Dry fire is most beneficial when you practice regularly, so strive for at least a couple of 10-15 minute sessions per week. You can pick your favorite drills and "shoot" them, or work on individual items like reloading a magazine or your draw. If you're new to dry fire or not sure how to put together your sessions, a good book about Dry Fire can help you put a plan together.
If you do decide to dry fire, make sure you follow all safety precautions, including triple checking your gun and magazines to be extra sure there is no ammo in the gun and placing all your ammo in a different room. You can never overdo it when it comes to safety!
Make a Range Plan
If you do decide to shoot up some of your ammo at the range, make sure you have a solid plan before you go. It's really easy to hang a target and start shooting, then next thing you know, you've gone through an entire box of ammo. While that's not normally a big deal, every round is precious right now!
Your plan doesn't have to be figured out down to the very last round of ammo (although you can certainly do that). It's best to decide what skills you want to work on and what drills you are going to use before you start shooting so your practice session will be more efficient and every shot will count toward improving your skills.
These are just a few of the most popular ways to improve your skills during an ammo crisis like the one we're in the middle of now. If you know of another tip for improving your skills while conserving ammo or have a question about anything in this article, please get in touch with us!