View Full Version : more practice ideas

August 20, 2008, 01:38 PM
My previous post about making your practice time effective received a pretty good response, so I thought I would throw a few more ideas out there.

If you have access to an outdoor shooting range or other facility that allows the use of targets other than the typical paper and cardboard commonly found, you have a great opportunity. Overcoming the boredom of punching holes in paper can make practice more fun and more effective.

A really simple, fun target is the plane old empty water bottle. Throw it out at the base of the berm and start blasting. Try to keep the bottle moving as much as possible,; don't let it rest!! For this kind of shooting, be sure that you have a high berm, preferably a three sided berm, and NEVER let your muzzle rise above a safe level. If you do this at a local club ranger or other supervised range, GET PERMISSION FIRST and clean up your trash when done!!!

Now for ideas that are a little more complex...MOVING TARGETS!!! It is quite simple to construct target stands made to accommodate cardboard targets like the ones used for IDPA or USPSA matches. It's also quite easy to get these targets to move in a variety of ways. Think of levers and pendulums...I have constructed a lot of swinging, falling and pop-up targets from scrap lumber and PVC, and with a strategically placed pivot point, these targets can be made to swing very easily.

An easy way to have a target move sideways is to build a "truck" that will carry a target frame from light weight steel tubing and some replacement utility dolly or two wheeler wheels. The best kind of wheels are the pneumatic ones, intended for rougher terrain. Once you have a truck built, make a spike that can be driven into the ground, with either an eyelet or a pulley for a rope to pass through. Use this spike to change the direction of force so that a person standing behind the firing line can pull the rope "up-range" and cause the truck to move across the range. Cheap but effective target movement!!

To make things even harder, mount a swinging target on your truck and combine two or more types of movement. The varieties are only limited by your imagination and mechanical abilities. A variety of inexpensive target stands can make for complex practice drills that force you to think rather than just banging away at paper. Get together with some friends and see what you can come up with, or even pool your money and start slowly collecting some of the stuff available on the market.

For those of you with deep pockets, check out some of the commercially available products out there. Some great stuff can be had from Action Targets, Nevco and a variety of other manufacturers.

And finally..Get competitive!! Find a local club that has a type of competition that you are interested in and go check it out. It doesn't matter if it is IDAP, USPSA, Cowboy action, or even Handgun Silhouette. All shooting sports will give you the opportunity to improve basic skills with a handgun, or even with a rifle or shotgun. I refuse to get into the argument of this one is better than that one because it's more realistic, ect. All forms of competition are just a game, and ARE NOT tactical training. But, they can all help us improve our abilities. I have played all of the ones I just listed with the exception of Cowboy Action shooting, and they are all fun ways to work on basic and even some advanced skills.

I would have included some pictures with this post, but I am currently laid up recovering from an injury (motorcycle, not gun LOL) and can't get out to the shed to drag any of my home made stuff out. If you are interested in how you can make this stuff yourself, but don't have a clue where to start, drop me a line and I can try to draw up some sketches.


August 21, 2008, 10:31 AM
Now for ideas that are a little more complex...MOVING TARGETS!!!

I had the pleasure of visiting a new range in Savannah, GA a couple of months ago. They had rail-mounted targets that had the capability of turning sideways or even fully around. This is GREAT for shoot/don't shoot.

Mount a "BG" target on one side. Mount a "woman with baby" target on the other. Set the target on edge. Ready yourself with your gun holstered. When your helper decides, have them turn the target to either side. Draw when you see the target begin to move. You have only a split second to decide if the exposed figure is a threat or not.

August 26, 2008, 12:00 PM
My fav for checking myself for trigger control in a revolver is to load two, skip one, load one, spin the cylinder and see if I flinch. Roulette..

In an auto, have a friend load a few "duds' for you to clear. Just load a new sized case with a spent primer, no powder. I label them with a sharpie.