As budgets keep getting tighter and we become more and more careful of how we spend money, the person preparing for tougher times soon realizes that the ammo needed to achieve and maintain a level of proficiency that will allow him to have greater odds of surviving violent encounters with criminals is considerable.
People that practice shooting sports can easily go through five to ten thousand rounds per months. Oh yes, that’s a lot, but how much should you be shooting to keep an adequate amount of skill when it comes to defensive shooting?
You should take at least one, preferably two shooting classes per year. During the classes you’ll usually go over 500-800 rounds per day. Beginners, intermediate and advance Defensive Pistol. Carbine and shotgun. I’m not particularly fond of shotguns but they have a place. If you never took a Defensive shooting pistol class, you really should get started as soon as possible because you simply don’t understand your own level of ignorance until you get started with some basic training. Apart from one or two classes per year, where you’ll learn new skills or go over again those you’ve learned, you need to do weekly firearms training as well. For weekly rehearsal of what you’ve learned in classes you can get by with 50 rounds. Dry firing is free and more useful than a lot of people give it credit for. You’ll slowly go over what you’ve learned with the gun empty, dry firing, then you do it again at normal speed, also dry firing, and then you do it with live ammo. This makes the most of your 50 rounds per week. If in a tight budget, its preferable to just shoot 25 rounds per week and do more dry fire, but do get some training every week. This may sound a bit boring, but believe me when I tell you this will do much more for your defensive skills than just going to the range, shooting 50 rounds at a target and going back home. I’ve done both, and not all shooting is equal. In the first case you are training, in the second one you’re just making noise, punching holes through paper. Big difference.
Its not easy to find one, but the range you’ll be shooting at must allow defensive shooting. Most clubs don’t even allow you to shoot drawing from a holster. Clubs where people do action shooting of some sort are usually more open minded. Once you start attending classes, you’ll meet like minded people that are interested in self defense and live near by. These are the guys you’ll get together once a week an train with. Get thier phone numbers, call them if they are slacking. They'll do the same thing for you when you're feeling lazy. Self defense shooting isn’t like riding a bicycle. The week that goes by without practice is the week you start loosing your edge, just don’t let two weeks go by without practicing.
So it starts adding up. Lets say you don’t do any plinking or fun shooting, just basic defensive training so as to have a better than the poorly average chance of winning a gun fight. You need an average of 1500 rounds for the classes you’ll take each year. Add to that a minimum of 50 rounds per week. That’s another 2400 rounds per year, so its roughly 4000 rounds per year to have ok defensive shooting skills.
Now, people that carry 40 S&W, 45 ACP or 357 SIG can easily start crying after doing the math. Ammo isn’t getting any cheaper.
The solution for those that fire 357 SIG is getting a 40 S&W barrel.One of these makes it possible to train with 40S&W and keep the 357 SIG for defense. Same barrel, same magazine, same everything and the same reliability, the only difference between 40 S&W and 357 SIG pistol is the barrel, everything else is the exact same. You could even carry this for defense as well.
There are even 9mm barrels for 40S&W and 357 SIG pistols. This makes shooting even cheaper but in some cases you get more failures so it is not recommended for defensive purposes, only training, and they do require 9mm Glock mags.
New Storm Lake Barrels Barrel 9mm 4.49" Stainless Conversion Barrel Converts 40sw To 9mm Glock 22
Shooting comm block rifle ammo used to be cheap, but not any more. These days lots of firearms instructors have wisely adapted their training classes to the current economic situation, accepting any 22LR carbine. Walther makes a nice bullpup 22. There's 22LR adapters for the AR such as this one or you can get ARs and AK that are chambered for 22LR as well, out of the box. The conversion kit costs less than 200 bucks, so it pays for itslef after few shooting sessions.
This is an interesting alternative because it allows you to keep training with your same weapon system for cheap, even the magazines are of similar shape as the big bore ones. This isn’t generally the case with 22 LR conversion kits for pistols. These are good as well if you get one that works reliably in your firearm.
One solution I found was the KPOS FAB Defense carbine conversion kit for the Glock. This isn’t just carbine training at pistol caliber costs, its also a very nice, compact subrifle for defensive use as well. Keep in mind though, these require the 200 USD tax stamp for short barrel rifles in the US, so check your laws before installing your Glock in this kit.
As the economy gets worse there’s going to be more realistic need for self defense. More poverty, more crime and more desperate people out there, that’s been at least the lesson we’ve learned here, but at the same time it gets more expensive to get the training needed. Good defensive skills may be invaluable one of these days. Its up to us to figure out how to keep training with the resources available.