Some time ago, I wrote about it being “Too Hot To Shoot.” Dry fire was the suggestion then, and it still works to maintain skills when it is too cold. But there are other things we can do as well.
The range at my club is on a hill, with a road that is not plowed in winter, so getting there is sometimes impossible. I’ve decided not to use the indoor range there much, due to questions about lead contamination.
Unfortunately, it will be very cold and snowy here until the end of March or mid April, at least five months, so dry fire alone is just not going to cut the mustard. I didn’t do much else last winter, and my skills deteriorated far more than I was prepared to accept.
So, what are some of the other things we can do to remain proficient and ready to defend ourselves? While I shoot mostly handguns, I’ve included ideas based on rifle stuff too, mostly because the information and some of the gear are interchangeable.
Airsoft guns are one popular and increasingly available option. They are not cheap, if you want something that will actually help you maintain firearms proficiency, but they are not as expensive as actual firearms, and the ammo isn’t a problem. Amazon.com has 32,345 entries for “airsoft guns” all by itself, and the Ixquick search engine returned 2,369,033 results for “airsoft guns.” There is something available for every person, in almost any price range.
Take a look at the “Rifleman Savant” and his adventures with an even newer version of the airsoft platform. It shoots an actual pellet, and is very accurate. Kevin is having a ball with it anyway. And he’s certainly not alone in thinking that the airsoft guns are important for far more than training to use regular guns. He’s going hunting, as well as just plain having fun with them.
Advantages of any airsoft gun include being able to shoot in your own back yard, or even your basement, without causing damage or terrifying the neighbors. Probably… May need to acquaint the neighbors with your gun and assure them it wasn’t just shipped from Iraq. These things often truly look like conventional or even seriously futuristic firearms, so be careful.
The laws covering airsoft and other non conventional guns are different all over the country, so please find out before you buy or shoot them outdoors. And, of course, the four rules of safe gun handling must always be your guide in any case.
Regular ammunition is still expensive, though the worst seems to be over at least for now. The prospect of printing guns, even ammunition is already here, but it is still financially out of reach for most of us. Airsoft ammo is very cheap, and it could be “manufactured” very easily with current 3D printing technology. In any case, you’d want to make sure the ammo you needed for it was available.
My only real experience with airsoft, so far, is the trainer pistol I bought several years ago, mostly for the red dot sight. I use it to practice “point and shoot,” and don’t use the plastic BBs that it came with. The BB doesn’t hit hard enough to mark a target, so there is no verification of shot placement. Kevin assures me that this is not true of all airsoft guns, and that many of them are seriously accurate.
Most airsoft guns are very light, and have no recoil, so wouldn’t do much to train the muscles used for ordinary shooting in any case. No airsoft will likely ever simulate firearm recoil, but I’ve been assured that some of the newer ones do have more substantial weight to them. It’s just a matter of matching your needs with the tools available. We each have different needs and priorities, of course, but this airsoft deal is sounding more and more like something to look at seriously.
Am I ready to buy more, and more serious airsoft guns? I’m still thinking about it. What about you?