Formal pistol training can get expensive, but a few well-chosen classes and a dedication to both live-fire and dry-fire practice can help shooters at every level improve skills without a huge expense. Here are three ways to improve your shooting that won’t require a second mortgage.
Get Free Training Advice
The mark of a true professional is willingness to share their methodology. But, before you start trolling YouTube and watching lots of derps do it wrong, start reading. Many of the world’s top instructors and champion shooters are also published authors, but buying all those books could get pricey. This is where it pays to find books at your local library. You will find certain reference books you’ll want to purchase for your own library, but reading them first for free will help you figure out which books best suit your goals. Also, some of the best educational material—especially on mindset and gear—is out there for free in blog form. Just make sure you find the best shooting blogs from reputable sources, like the ones we feature in our blogroll.
Print Your Own Targets
A simple “pistol training drills” search online turns up more printable targets than you’ll ever need. Most are free to download and print, so your only expense is printer ink. If you can’t find exactly the target you need for a specific drill, there’s no law that says you can’t make up your own. Use a large piece of cardboard with a small square of masking tape (aim small, miss small). What’s important is to remember that those splatter targets and self-healing spinners might be fun, but they really aren’t necessary for building skills. Set a goal for your target (all hits on a 1-inch square) and then increase distance to increase difficulty.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Shooters
You’ve probably heard by now that in five years, you’ll be most like the people you surround yourself with today. Develop friendships with shooters who are more advanced than you are and who are willing to share some pointers. If you’re wanting to participate in a specific sport, join social media groups dedicated to those sports and start asking questions. Find nearby matches and go watch, but don’t stop there; competitive shooters are like missionaries for their sports. Tell them you’re interested in learning more, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re welcomed into the fold. Plus, it’s always more fun to go shooting with a group of friends than to go it alone.
Learning a new skill on a budget requires some resourcefulness, but it can be done. Maximize your return on investment by starting with some professional training. Remember: if your range time is reinforcing bad habits, all that ammo is going to waste. Make every round count, and train first for more effective practice later.