Can’t Afford Training.

I get this a lot… Guy wants to train, but can’t afford it.
I understand this.  Ammo is expensive.  Training courses are expensive.  Training Videos are expensive.   (That’s like 2 boxes of ammo!)  And YouTube sucks for serious stuff.
So what’s a guy to do?

There is not secret magic tricks or spells to learning how to run your gun.  Basically it comes down to One Thing.  Keeping your gun running.  That means you need to master two skills.  Reloading and Stoppage Drills.  And most of this is Reloading.  Speed Reloads and Tactical Reloads.   I’ll do a video on this maybe this weekend.
A Speed Reload is when your gun runs empty and you have to reload fast.  Hence the name.  This is your #1 thing to practice.  If you practice nothing else, your Speed Reload is the one to work on.  The next is your Tactical Reload.  This is when your gun is not yet completely empty (something you don’t really want anyway) and you switch mags to a fresh full mag.  You still have a few rounds left in the mag in the gun so you want to hold on to it.  So you pull the partial mag out, and insert the full one, while holding on to the partial so you can use those rounds later.  The Malfunction Drills are important too… but it’s harder to practice those without firing some rounds.
The idea is to keep your gun “Up”.  If you can do that, you are solid.
You can practice your speed reloads while at home… in your apartment… in your office maybe.  While watching a movie or TV.  Clear your gun, empty a couple mags, and practice swapping mags.  It’s important to practice while standing, using your gear you would normally use.  So if you carry your spare mags in a pocket, that’s how you practice.  But I don’t recommend your pockets for spare mags – even though all of us do it at times.

If you get your reloads down, your well on your way.

Next time, we’ll talk about Dry Firing.  This is all about Trigger Control. That’s another critical skill that can be mastered without using ammo.

29 thoughts on “Can’t Afford Training.”

  1. Dry fire practice for maybe 5 minutes at a time, couple days a week, for a month, got me my Appleseed Rifleman’s badge. You have to practice and like you said, dry fire is free.
    Be safe while you do it, and look at it like exercise which it is.

    1. The Pro’s all tell me that they do Dry Fire every day. That’s a lot of trigger pulling. But that’s what it takes. Make every pull count, your not just Jerking it off. But make every pull, deliberate like you where shooting a Bullseye.

  2. Pistol shooting is such a different animal than rifle shooting and I say to anyone who is taking the responsibility to carry a firearm that they should take at least 1 class. Save up, ask for a discount, ask spouse for a class for Christmas/birthday/anniversary. It’s vitally important to know what you are doing and most people just can’t learn that on their own, from a video or worse from a shooting buddy. I’ve taught just recently up in VA (I incidently have a class this Saturday) and I was told that most of the students were really good shooters…boy was that a stretch. Horrible technique all around and some of the older guys were offended when I corrected them. Not one of them could put 5 rounds in 2″ @ 21 feet and they said it was impossible to do. By the end of the class most people improved with only a few small, simple changes.

    Technique is everything and the beauty is that usually it only takes 1 class to get on the right track. More classes help perfect those techniques and learn new ones so even those other classes are worth your time & money. Most pistol shooters struggle enough to shoot a decent group in a stress-free environment…imagine how poorly they will perform when in a life or death situation not really knowing what to do. I for one wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that person. Suck it up and take a class & maintain an open mind.

    1. I agree. Training is Critical. But not everyone can afford it. To a lot of guys, it’s a Goal for them to get to a class.
      I know what it’s like to be stone cold broke. I can understand not being able to drop a couple hundred on a class and another couple hundred on ammo.

      But yes, make it a serious goal to get to training. Because Reload drills and Dry Fire alone will not get you there. Everyone needs training. Even the Big Dogs will cycle through a training class now and then. They have to. Because shooting is a perishable skill. It’s like a gallon of milk. You can’t get the skill and then sit back and say, “I can do that”. You have to keep on it.

  3. Another thing I’d add is that the training has to be done in context: Not everybody need to be a super ninja high speed low drag warrior sheepdog.

    How many time have you been to a class where a guy (or a gal) shows up with a full sized pistol but in later conversation you discover he works in a office and pocket (or purse) carries a j-frame revolver or a little 380? Which should he be training with? In a way I blame the instructors for that. They want to teach what they know and love so the courses favor high capacity auto-loading pistols whether or not that’s appropriate in the context of what the student needs.

    1. Which should he be training with? – - IMO, a compact to mid size pistol (commander 1911 / g23 / p239). J-frame / pocket .380s should only be BUGs and practiced with only if they are carried as BUGs. Again, that’s my opinion, for covering my own @ss and loved ones with me.

      1. BTW – I understand your point and I agree completely that if all they are going to carry is a j-frame/pocket .380, then they should train on it primarily. If they practiced with it often, then they might also change their mind on carrying it as a primary.

        I have a j-frame and a pocket .380. I decided to shelf them because I started getting lazy. I’d only carry them instead for ease or comfort. I carry a nice clip folder in my pocked instead of a BUG. God willing I won’t need any of it ever.

  4. The dumbest thing i have ever heard someone say is “im going into the woods to train myself,”. You need an instructor to teach you before you practice on your own.

  5. Ogre, I have a Sig 1911. I was told that repeated dry firing can damage it. I always thought that was bad advice. but what’s the truth?

  6. You can also separate the cost of training in time by buying the ammo in the near term (it aint getting any cheaper folks) and keeping a spare change fund for tuition. Then when an opportunity hits later…say a buddy is going so you can split travel and lodging costs, you dont have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of ammo right then when you are trying to scrape together tuition and chow money.

    Where there is a will their is a way.

    All this talk of dry practice is important too. There are some facets of shooting that are best worked on with an instructor watching and you need the feedback of hundreds of rounds of ammo in a few days. Dont lose training value because you suck at skills you could have practiced at home! I have lived the shame.

  7. What about drawing, presentation, and getting on-target prior to all this reloading? Not arguing, mind you, but if you can’t get your weapon out and use it to empty it (or get rendered inop prior to being able to unholster it), doesn’t that make speed reload a moot point? I’m speaking from the perspective of a guy who carries, who prays he never HAS to unholster, but wants to be all he can be with his self-defense. Or am I jumping the gun (sorry) here and you’re referring to a protracted engagement…something else I hope and pray I NEVER have to deal with. From what I read, see, and practice, draw-target-fire will not be the end of an engagement. Two shots, minimum, per attacker makes stoppage drills a VERY high priority, but the speed reload, to me, seems to be in third place after actually being able to get the weapon out. Again, I’m questioning your experience and training, but I’m curious why the speed reload takes precedence.
    -Plat (who needs lots more training)

    1. Can’t edit. Sorry, meant to type:

      “Again, I’m NOT questioning your experience…”

      Apologies if your BP shot up 30 points reading my original typing.

      Gee, one little word (the “not” I left out) REALLY made that read like I’m a grade A ass.

          1. Ok, but then I fail to grasp. You must be referring to a protracted engagement, or at least more assailants than my 8+1 can handle.
            Again, I’m not trying to argue, but to understand. The greatest majority of common “man on the street” incidents should not require a rapid reload. One or two assailants -vs- me. I’m with you, 100% on malf drills, but unless it’s a real “gun battle”, wouldn’t you have a more leisurely window to reload after downing your one or two assailants? Reload while doing a visual sweep.
            My train of thought keeps getting derailed at, “if I don’t deploy the weapon fast enough, all else is moot.” And, again, my mind is stuck on the one or two, maybe three, assailants.
            I’m a big fan of “worst-case scenario” thinking (motorcycle blowout) and planning, which is what (to me, the white-belt) speed-reloads appear to be for.

            Granted, this doesn’t take competition shooting into account.

            And, yes, I need to motor out and take some professional training. ;)

  8. I love getting training and I know you get what you pay for but the problem nowadays is that a lot of THE trainers cost so much money. CCW class only cost $90 bucks that included finger prints and background checks. Then I started with a what a local guy calls “after ccw class” that is a basic pistol class that since WY doesn’t require permits or actual firing training to get one. I stayed with the local guy who I know is not as good as the Orges, Picus, gun site, shoot rite, etc etc but pretty good for a local guy who charged $50 for his Pistol 1, $100 for pistol 2 and pistol 3. My next classes I want to take next in no perticular order Mag 40, combat focus shooting, force on force, etc. the difference is I can save up to take a couple hundred dollar classes every six months to a year but $800-$1500 classes then factor in these classes are rarely on the weekends any more or use up a day or two of vacation time just doesn’t really work for me especially considering my family is more than a days travel so I use my work vacation for visiting family. Ugh…

    1. I charge 200 bucks a head for most of my classes, being one day classes. That might seem like a lot, but at the end of the day, for the Instructor, it’s not a whole hell of a lot. Last class I taught just covered the cost of the Target Stands and such. I just broke even.
      You don’t get rich Training. You do it because you love it. Same with being a Student. You pay for the Class and the Time and the cost of the Ammo… it’s expensive. But we do it because we love it and we feel the importance of it.

      1. The last class I saw advertised around here would have been more expensive than me driving out there and taking your class, George.

        Granted, I’m a bit thick-headed (see above posts :P ) and may cause “Instructor Frustration Syndrome”.

      2. That is a good price George didn’t know you charged that price. I’ll have to look into your classes more often. Do you only teach carbine classes?

        1. Handguns and tactical shotguns as well. I’m also one of the few trainers in the US that also teaches Tactical Lever actions.

  9. Now that I finally have room, I seriously intend to train on a lot of the basic body mechanics. I’m probably that weird kid that got into guns through airsoft (yes, we all laugh here. I can hand you a few of my carbines and their training equivalents and you’d have to pull the bolt to tell which is which), so I’ve been able to get shot at while I do my reloads, transitions, malf clearances, etc, and still learn from getting shot back at, and in a lot of cases, hit. Running a gun really teaches you how you need to work things. Last weekend, while shooting with a Marine buddy, he asked why I faced my mags a a certain way. I explained the ergos as they work for me, and he suggested a few other ways to run my setup, and said he’d look into why I ran stuff the way I ran it the next time he went out. There’s a lot of good information to be had just by interacting with someone, and if your job is to keep that gun up and in the fight, train, learn, and keep your ears and eyes open.

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