Monday, November 8, 2010

Firearms training During the Economic Crisis

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.

Ammo Costs

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.
New Glock Barrel 40 S&W 4.49" Glock 22 SP04452 High Quality Modern Design Beautiful Popular 
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
New Storm Lake Barrels Barrel 9mm 4.49" Stainless Conversion Barrel Converts 40sw To 9mm Glock 22

Long Arms

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.
 CMMG Conv Kit 22LR Stainless 1-Mag AR Rifles 26Rd CMMG22LRCONVSST 
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. 

MAKO FAB DEFENCE KPOS Glock Pistol to Rifle Stock Conversion Kit K.P.O.S. 

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.



Goldsaver said...

You also have the option of purchasing a .22lr Glock conversion kit. Advantage Arms makes a really nice one for several Glock models. They run about $350USD but pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Unknown said...

How do prices for reloaded ammo (or if you reload yourself) compare to the prices for buying factory ammo where you are?

I can reload my own .38, .40, and .44 ammo for about half the price of buying new ammo. I can make the bullet out of lead for my revolvers and not have to worry about weapon malfunction for a little less than one third the price of buying factory ammo.

After the economy in Argentina collapsed, is it more or less economical to buy new factory ammo? I have trouble trusting ammo that isn't factory and that I didn't personally load.

FerFAL said...

Hi Nolan, here reloading equipment is monitored, reloading presses must have a serial number engraved and they are very expensive to import.
You can shoot for half a price here as well if you reload, but you have to shoot a lot to compensate because of the startup price.


Anonymous said...

You left out one form of practice that is even cheaper - Airguns!

Yes, you are limited to a single shot (except for some CO2 powered BB guns that are repeaters), but you can practice in your living room or garage. You can buy a cheap target pistol and practice accuracy, or a cheap BB gun "rifle" and practice quick-kill style. A lifetime supply of ammunition will fit in a coffee can, store forever, and costs less than 22 rimfire, shot for shot.

The Webley Tempest even jumps a bit during firing, so you are forced to practice a firm grip to get maximum accuracy.

It isn't a substitute for shooting with loud, full-power ammunition, but as a supplement, it has a lot going for it.

An accurate pellet gun can really challenge your ability - start by shooting 1 inch discs (Necco Wafers, anyone?) then aspirin tablets (or whatever is cheap). You know you have elite skill when you start killing the flies hovering around something stinky in your back yard.

There is also less legal regulation for airguns, at least in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Ok, somebody do the math for me. How much would this cost per year? Its seems like several thousand dollars. Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy/rent at a safer location?

dc.sunsets said...

Regarding the .22 conversion kits for AR-type rifles do yourself a favor; don't get one, don't use one.

.22LR barrels have a slow 1-in-16" twist and 22LR bullets are unjacketed lead, which works just fine.

5.56mm NATO barrels are usually 1-in-7" or 1-in-9" these days and will strip the external lead off a .22LR bullet, essentially leading up the barrel. Subsequently firing 5.56mm jacketed bullets in the barrel without complete removal of all the lead deposits is aking for some serious problems, not to mention degrading accuracy badly.

If you want a 22LR AR15 get one that's dedicated to 22LR like this one: http://www.ar-15.us/Article_Detail.php?g=content1259303157

John Peterson said...

I have been looking around for shooting classes in the DFW area. I joined a shooting club I found on meetup.com, and will attend one of their range events soon. I looked around at some of the weekend shooting classes and they seem to be around $500 and with the ammo would probably cost somewhere close to $750 for me.

We're on a tight budget so that just isn't going to work for me. I do try to go to the range once a month or so and have noticed a drastic improvement in my aim. With my first shot from my Ruger .380 LCP I missed my target and hit the one next to it. The next few shots were not so good either. On my last trip to the range I hit three bulls eyes out of six shots in the clip.

Anyway, since I got my Utah CFP recently (you can get a Utah out of state license and carry in Texas) I read through the The Texas Gun Owner's Guide. While on gunlaws.com I noticed a DVD set called "Armed Response" I'm hoping to get that soon and develop my tactical skills on my own until I can afford a class.

I wish I had a 9 mm so I could shoot cheaper ammo, but all I have is my 380. On the upside it is nice shooting with the weapon I carry and love being able to carry my 380 (in Recluse case) with me wherever I go by just slipping in my pocket.

I'm hoping by the time I have more funds I'll have the basic defensive skills in place and that will help me out with one of the defensive shooting classes. Anyway, I put this post up here to help other folks that might be on a tight budget as well. If you have any info on "Armed Response" or can recommend another DVD set I'm all ears.


CapnRick said...

Well... don't laugh... but I have put in a few thousand hours practicing pulling my revolver and firing at targets at ranges of up to 5 meters with wax bullets.

I hope none of you are practicing drawing your weapon with live ammo in it. I know people who shook up the neighbors in the apartment below and had to go to the ER with a singed hole in their leg and an exit hole to match the .44 caliber hole in the floor.

Those of you with automatics have quite a few BB/pellet guns to choose from to practice safely drawing and accurately firing your weapon at speed and under pressure. Those whose EDC weapon is a revolver can just buy plastic cartridges for their weapon and gouge out some wax with the open end and buy a hand-primer to insert a magnum primer into each one. Keeping the barrel clean is not difficult, unless the barrel has been ported... but, even with ports, it can be done with a bit more effort.

Those of you that are fortunate enough to live in an area with a paintball Hogan's Alley type combat course can rent weapons to use there fairly inexpensively. I also recommend you find a safe area to practice walking/running/moving to evade being shot while shooting at a target. This can be done with live ammo unless you want to practice drawing your weapon in the same session.

What ever you do, practice, practice, practice and remenber... SAFETY FIRST.

Suerte -CapnRick

Pitt said...

This is a subject that is near and dear to the heart of every serious defensive gunman (or woman) in the world. There are several good options. Here are some of mine that are in the works.

My main defensive rifle is a Saiga AK in .223. GSG makes a .22 AK clone that would make a good understudy for training, but I am planning to go with the Sig 522 as a training weapon, just because it feels well built.

I am looking hard at a Sig Mosquito Sport (threaded barrel) as a training pistol. While its ergos is different than the Glocks or the Ruger SR9 that serves as my EDC gun, it is much better for combatives practice than the Ruger MKIII or the Browning Buckmard (for my kind of training). I may opt for the ISSF .22 Glock clone too. I haven't decided yet.

I shoot IDPA and other tactical gun matches to keep my skills sharp and almost never go to a square range anymore.

John Peterson said...

Thanks for the info on IDPA. I found a group near me and that looks like the next step after I get more consistent on the range, and get a bit more ammo.